Yes. They do. I used to think that it was all just stories. You'd see a guy dating a girl and doing whatever the girl asked, and the adults would always be like, “That girl fed that boy something. It's definitely a love potion. ”When I got older, I'd say it too, but as a joke.
That is until I reached University and watched it work. First hand. A girl I knew, let's call her Thando, was dating a guy. We'll call him John. Thando and John had been dating for just over a year. Thando was madly in love. John seemed… Well, let's just say John didn't seem as deeply invested in the relationship as Thando was. John had met Thando's mom. The mom even called him her son in law. Now, in African families, kids keep dating a secret from their parents, but if a relationship has reached the point where you meet each other's parents, then it means it's serious. You don't just introduce everyone you date to your parents. It's just not done.
Now, on their one year anniversary, Thando planned this trip to the zoo. She'd starved herself for over a month so that she could afford it. She planned a picnic, bought him a gift (a very expensive watch) and the zoo of course. This was all bought by her monthly allowance. When they got back, Thando seemed happy. We were roommates, so I saw almost everything. A few minutes after getting back, Thando excuses herself from the room. I ask John how the date was. He says it was horrible. Complains about animals being kept in cages (which I understand, but dude!), the date being boring, all that stuff.
Thando walks in all smiles and everything. John goes back to smiling.
A few days later, Thando goes to visit John. She finds underwear that's not hers in John's room. John gives a half hearted apology. Thando leaves. She tells me all about it. I advise her to leave him. She refuses, because John told her and her mom that he'd marry her. So John must deliver. She forgives him.
A few days later, John calls. We're both in our shared room. Thando starts crying over the phone, saying “No,” repeatedly. Her last words before she hangs up, “You're not going anywhere, John. If you think you're gonna end things with me after all the promises you've made, think again. I give you a week, and then you'll be begging at my feet for me to take you back.”
I comfort her as she cries. Then she asks me, “Do you know of any Mai Mai(Sangoma. I don't know what it's called in English, but Google it. It's someone who uses herbs and other spirits to heal people or curse them).I tell he no. She calls her best friend. Best friend also says no. We ask her why she needs one. Her response, “ He said he'd be my husband. I've been in too many relationships, and he promised me that our would be my last, but he broke up with me. I can't just let him go.”
Now, I have my doubts about all this ‘muti’ stuff, but I know it works. I advise her to let him go, cause he's a douche anyway. She refuses. John is an excelling engineering student, so she knows their future is bright. I tell her to leave it. She refuses.The following day, she goes to see the Sangoma woman. The woman gives her some herbs to bath with. Some gum that been ‘fixed’. Milk. And some paper. She has to eat the gum when she talks to John. Shake this milk around her mouth, spit it out, then say John's name. 3 times. Burn this paper and say his name. And steambath with these herbs.
She has to do this for a week. I'm a bit reluctant of course, because she has to do this in our room. I'm scared it'll affect me too, so I get course salt and sprinkle it on my side of the room. Course salt is supposed to chase away evil spirits.When she broke up with John, it was a bitter ending. They weren't on speaking terms. John had said he couldn't stand her. The last time I'd seen John, he'd said to me while Thando wasn't in the room, “If you ever see me here again, you must know something’s wrong. I'm done with your roommate.”
I hadn't taken him seriously until they broke up. On her second day of using the muti, she says to me, “OK. I haven't tried this gum. I don't even know if this will work, but John wasn't taking my calls. I'll eat this gum and call him. I wanna see something.”
We sit down. She gets the gum, and nervously calls him. He answers! After days of ignoring her, he answers. They talk. She's smiling. They talk for long. She hangs up and starts screaming in excitement.
John was, apparently, very nice to her and was even flirting. She packs some gum on her way to campus, in case she sees him. She does, a few hours later. She sees him approach, and takes out some fresh gum. John goes to her and hugs her. Says he misses her. She says she misses him too. They part ways. Day 4, I get back from school to find John in our room.
I'm shocked because John told me he's never setting foot there again. Roomie winks at me. I'm still shocked. She excuses herself from the room. I wanna see for myself what his reason for being here is. I didn't think the muti would actually work. I say to him, “Remember what you said to me when I last saw you? Why are you here?” His response is, “I also don't really know why I'm here. A few days after Thando and I broke up, I found myself missing her so much. I never thought I would, because I was so sure I was done with her. I even had a new girlfriend, but I just couldn't be with her anymore. I guess I love your roomie too much cause there's something drawing me to her.”
She comes back and they're like newlyweds still on the honeymoon phase. At the end of the week, they're back together. They're back to being official.
About 5 months later, the ‘love potion’ starts wearing off. He's starting to be rude to her, threatening to break up with her. Apparently, when it wears off, the victim starts despising you. They hate you. It's extreme love when it's still working, and extreme hate when it wears off.
She goes back to the same woman. It's more expensive this time. She borrows money from friends and gets him back on track before things get too extreme. This was 2 years ago.
They're still together now. She even gave birth 2 months ago, so now she has a proper trap for him.
Fact is, I didn't really believe this stuff until I saw it happen with my own eyes.