Keetmanshoop — After a long bout with stomach and leg ailments Jacobus Cloete, a resident of Kopieslaagte township in Keetmanshoop, claims he is glad to have found a cure.
He is also happy that the remedy is readily available from nearby bushes. Cloete, a 75-year-old pensioner, who digs for the secret root in the bushes on the outskirts of the town, says he was partially healed from a nagging stomach ache after he took a concoction that he made from the roots of this tree, but would not be persuaded to reveal his secret to this reporter.
He says the herbal concoction has been passed down for at least three generations, and is found on the harsh and flat expanse of the Karas Region with its sparse vegetation. "In the old days we had to live off the land," he quips, with a sparkle in the eyes etched on a face the colour of yellow parchment.
The old man was spotted by chance by this reporter while he was digging painstakingly for the 'secret root', which he put away in a plastic bag. "Yes, I feel better after taking this herbal remedy known as Kaffer Pond," he says. "I chop the root into small pieces that are later mashed and mixed with water to create the liquid concoction," he said.
"The root helps to replenish the body," he says, adding that it also cures Duiwels Siekte, loosely translated as Devil's Sickness. Devil's sickness is associated with witchcraft.
Cloete says he spent many years in pain because of his condition. The pain in his stomach had been causing him sleepless nights. But Cloete claims after taking the herbal concoction, he now feels "healed". Even his appetite has returned to normal, he says.
Cloete offers treatment to hundreds of people everyday for a variety of ailments. "They even come from as far as the north for my treatment," he boasted.
"I was advised by a doctor that my condition has improved and he said go and continue drinking whatever you have been drinking. A person can take it three times a day - in the morning, afternoon and evening," says Cloete.