12 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Women Bank On Potions for Elusive Love

Self-styled love doctors are making a killing as desperate women try to secure their marriages in the face of high divorce rates.

A recent investigation by Standardcommunity, revealed that many women were resorting to the use of love potions (mupfuhwira) to preserve their marriages or other love relationships.

The love potions which have been used since time immemorial are said to have the power to make someone fall in love, stay in love and also fan the flames of a waning relationship. However the practice has always received its fair share of criticism from society, particularly men.

A traditional healer from Budiriro 5B Johannes Makokotela said most of his clients were women who wanted to "sort" out their husbands.

"Most of these women are not getting enough material support from their husbands and so the potions that I give them will ensure that the husbands will be more generous with their pockets," he said.

The healer however said there were some women who had all the material wealth but were unhappy in their marriages as their spouses were rarely home.

"There are those well-to-do women with fabulous cars and lead flashy lives, but they lead unhappy lives with husbands who stray more often than not," he said.

The traditional healer said there was nothing wrong in contributing to the building up of families.

On "small houses" he said: "I do not give love potions to women who want to steal other people's husbands."

His fee for happily-ever-after is pegged at US$40. But the potion should be renewed after a year or so.

"When you start noticing your husband going back to his errant ways, it is time to renew the potion. It will have expired," he said.

Another traditional healer from Epworth, Faustina Gore said she has been in the business for more than a decade.

"I inherited this gift from my mother who was of Malawian origin. My potions, though expensive, (US$70) guarantee all the happiness in a relationship. I have never failed my clients who shower me with gifts," she said.

Unlike Makokotela, Gore is not bothered by the issue of small houses seeking potions from her.

"This is strictly business and so I aim to please my clients despite their background or motive," she said, adding that some potions are smeared on the body while others are used when preparing food for the husband.

However not all cases end well as things can go horribly wrong. A young woman from the leafy suburb of Glen Lorne got her marching orders when her husband found her sitting on a pot.

"The love doctor told me to sit on a hot pot of stew. The idea was that my bodily fluids from down under would mix with the stew, which I would serve my husband," she said.

Luck ran out on her as the said husband came home early and found his beautiful wife squatting on the pot.

Speaking to women in an upmarket hair salon, it was evident that many were not fazed by the idea of using love potions on wayward spouses.

"In this era of HIV and Aids and a collapsed economy, it is better to have a restraint on your husband because there are women out there who are just waiting to snatch him away if you snooze," said a young woman in her 20s, who was having a manicure.

In 2007 Harare was abuzz with news that a traditional healer Sekuru Sugar from Somerby Farm near Snake Park had all the potions to stop men from straying. Women from all over the country flocked to get their hands on the love doctor's potions.

Sekuru Sugar used to attend to 150 clients a day. Although his whereabouts could not be ascertained, it is believed he is still operating in Norton and women are still consulting him on matters of the heart.

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