Ntombi tip-toes out of the house and rushes to the sangoma’s residence, three houses away, then stands at the gate, unsure whether to shout or just walk in. Luckily the sangoma appears while Ntombi is contemplating what to do.
“Sawubona, ntombazane (Hello young girl)!”
“Hello, Makhosi. How are you?” Ntombi makes her way towards the woman.
“I’m well. How can I help you today?” The sangoma motions her to enter her consultation hut so Ntombi crawls in, and the sangoma follows.
“Things are going exactly as you said they would, Makhosi!” Ntombi buzzes with excitement. “Today Sqiniseko arrived at my house. He asked me to look after his baby because the mother of his child has left him. Now I don’t know…”
“Lalela-ke ntombazane (Pay attention, my girl). Be sure to not let him go. I’ll give you another muthi to hold on to him. This one you will apply down there,” the sangoma says and points to Ntombi’s private parts. “Plus I’ll give you another potion to bath with, in cold water. If you use the muthi correctly Sqiniseko will see an angel when you approach him. He will want to be with you forever.”
“Great news, Makhosi! How much will the muthi cost?”
The sangoma is silent for a while. “Because you are unemployed, you will pay me after it has worked. For everything I do for you, it will be one thousand rand,” says the sangoma.
Ntombi is visibly taken aback.
“Don’t worry about it,” says the sangoma. “With this muthi your man will give you everything you want. He’ll give you the money to pay me.”
Ntombi is very relieved.
The sangoma wraps the muthi in newspaper, hands it to her and warns: “When you get out of the hut, don’t look back.”
“Makhosi!” Ntombi says respectfully and crawls out of the hut.
She rushes home, worried the baby might have woken while she was gone, but she finds Sthembiso sound asleep. She realises she is developing genuine affection for the him; it’s as if he were her own. She believes she will forever love Sthembiso because he has brought her and Sqiniseko back together.
She baths with the sangoma’s muthi while Sthembiso naps in the afternoon. As she is putting on lip gloss in front of the mirror, she hears Sqiniseko’s car pull up at the gate. She emerges with Sthembiso and his baby bag.
Sqiniseko sprints out of the car towards Ntombi and Sthembiso. He suddenly stops. Sqiniseko seems confused, happy and smitten all at once. Ntombi exudes beauty he has never seen before. He sees qualities and roles he never thought Ntombi possessed – like being the mother of his children, like being his wife. What was I thinking, choosing Nobuhle over Ntombi, Sqiniseko wonders to himself.
Ntombi notices the confusion in his eyes and her dimples are even more pronounced than usual as she beams a smile. Sqiniseko melts as they hug; he is like putty in her hands. He kisses her. He tries to speak but words don’t come out. When they finally do his voice is hoarse.
“Ntombi, please be the mother of my children. Please, my love, I’ll give you the world,” he says.
Tell us what you believe: Can a sangoma’s muthi work in this way? Is asking for this type of muthi immoral?