Voodoo Village: South Africa

Muti is the traditional medicinal practice in Southern Africa, but are some cures worse than the sickness?

Original comic art by R. Cook, for Dark Matter News

Voodoo Village: South Africa

Would you eat an eyeball if it meant ‘success in life’? 

In South Africa, those with a big wallet and a desire to strengthen their “personality” (i.e. to succeed in business, politics, etc.) can commission a traditional healer to concoct a very special brew for them. These healers, known as Inyanga, are practitioners of the South African traditional medicine known as “Muti.” Derived from the Zulu word for “tree,” Muti got it start when people began using tree bark to create ‘home cures’ for various ailments.  Some compare the practice to Voodoo because of its ‘spiritual’ side.

A stronger result requires a stronger medicine, according to local lore. For those really looking for a ‘personality boost,; “Muti-murders” are carried out. A victim is brought to a rural area and slowly mutilated, their excised body parts (mostly soft tissue) used piece-by-piece in the creation of a powerful ‘medicine.’ Their screams are encouraged, as legend states that the louder the victim screams, the ‘stronger the medicine they produce will be.’

Brewed with herbs and other native plants, the ‘medicine’ is either consumed as a kind of soup, or turned into a paste which is rubbed into cuts on the user’s body. This is definitely not “Johnson and Johnson.”

Could you consume a ‘people-based’ folk-medicine? What are your thoughts? Want to see more comics? Let us know! Comment below, Share on Facebook, and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk!

Ryan Cook


I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently live and work in Florida.

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