Logic strikes a chord that drowns out the unsound

I had promised myself I would not write on the subject of stupid superstition for some time after broaching it numerous times in recent issues.

I had promised myself I would not write on the subject of stupid superstition for some time after broaching it numerous times in recent issues.

The barrage of criticism I have endured since forces me to break my promise to myself.

Hell, people are drowning in mind-boggling belief in absolute piffle. A common thread in their criticism of my non-belief in mystical powers is their assertion that whites have messed up my values - or words to that effect.

One went as far as charging that I was insulting blackness and inyangas, a charge to which I plead innocence. My maternal grandfather, after whom I am named, was an inyanga, and I would be damned if I am going to insult what he stood for.

The value of African herbs is unquestionable, and I hope my grandpa confined himself to that rather than claiming he was a magician - slaughter a black chicken in Sebokeng and your enemy drops dead in KwaMashu.

Years back, when I thought it was hip to hang out with the wrong, dangerous crowd, I befriended a shebeen king who got into trouble over a stolen car. When the heat got too hot, he asked me to help him out of the mess. His "plan" was that I tell the cops the car was mine, and the minute they took their focus off him, he would go to his inyanga uncle in Randfontein.

"This is no case. My uncle will finish this thing same time!"

I laughed him off and lost a good friend. He finally left town and wasn't seen for years until he returned when the cops had apparently forgotten about him.

Enter another good friend of mine. This one grew up immersed in voodoo belief. He was a drummer in a band I played for as a youngster. You could mess with any instrument during the breaks, but his drums were out of bounds.

"These drums have been worked!" he would say proudly.

Years later, when the band had long split up and we had gone our separate ways, I met my mate in Mabopane and we reminisced about our young days. I teased him about his "worked"drums, and he flashed an embarrassed smile: "I believed sh*t."

He went on to relate how a charlatan "healer" had put paid to his belief in magic.

He had gout. He drank heavily and ate badly - lots of red meat and food heavy in acid.

One day, he said, his family persuaded him to see a motho when his big toe and ankle swelled up each time he binged.

"I knew I caused my attacks, and I had no problem when I behaved," he said.

Well, you guessed right. The motho told him he had stepped on a "speed trap" - muti - on his doorstep, planted by someone in his family who wanted him dead.

Obviously, the motho offered to clean up the doorstep at a generous fee. He went for a "second opinion" and got almost similar advice.

"I lived with only my mother. Why would she want me dead? If he had told me to stop drinking and eat properly, he would have retained my respect."

From that day, a believer was turned into a sceptic like me.

I rest my case - hopefully forever.