Time when the muti trade peaks

I will let you into my dirty toilet secret: every time I use the urinal I spit.

I will let you into my dirty toilet secret: every time I use the urinal I spit.

Don't ask me why. It is a habit I picked up when I was a kid, and it has stuck with me.

All the boys in the neighbourhood did it. If you did not (spit), we believed, some bad luck would strike you soon.

So many years later I can't shake off the superstition, but I am not even trying. Besides, I doubt if my medical aid would consider some condition named post-urinary spit inducement syndrome (Pusis).

Around the time I picked up the habit there was a fellow in my neighbourhood, a few years older than me but still a boy, who seemed to be an encyclopaedia of all things superstitious - and everything else. I don't know why they did not call him Google.

He usually brought to (primary) school a whole lot of muti potions, good luck charms, green Vaseline-like stuff and a whole lot of other things he claimed did everything from making pubic hair grow fast to helping you pass the exams and become a hit with the girls.

He told us countless stories that we lapped up with glee - including a tale of how he had personally seen a juju man make a woman vomit a fully grown tortoise. Sejeso.

I could be wrong, but I think he was the bugger who taught me to spit after doing a number one. I last saw this fellow when he was in his first year at secondary school, but I would be surprised if he did not end up in some nut joint.

You might wonder why I am going on about superstition again. But someone raised the issue of the so-called lost generation the other day, and I remembered Bub.

We were discussing the fatal stabbing of a colleague by an unknown assailant. The police had arrested a suspect but later released him for lack of evidence.

Big mistake, Bub said.

What the police should have done was photograph the eyes of the deceased when they got to the scene of the crime.

The photographs would be sent to Pretoria for processing. The pictures coming out would show the last images the deceased saw and, voila, the police would be able to see the killer.

Damn it! The guy mouthing this claptrap was in secondary school.

Many like him are still around. As matrics prepare for their final exams it is peak business for juju men.

Many who did not burn the midnight oil will be submitting themselves to sorcerers who will make them prance around fires, stark naked, at 3am.

Many will be drinking fiery hot concoctions that scald the tongue and make eyes pop and the stomach turn.

Others will pitch up for the exams with bloody scars from incisions.

In some extreme cases - and this happens - pupils will break into the exams room in the dead of night to plant God-knows-what.

We are not only lost, we are sick. I am too - I still spit.