By LUSUGA KIRONDE, 18th March 2011 @ 16:00, Total Comments: 2, Hits: 5607
IS there the biblical “only stranger in Jerusalem” in this country, who has not heard of Loliondo? For this is where everybody but every body from near and far, is travelling to, to get the magic one-cupful of a potion consisting of water boiled with the bark of the ‘mugariga’ tree, which cures the most stubborn of the ailments that affect mankind.
The media has tried its best to tell us all that is going on in the area. The Sunday Custodian (March 23) for example carried 8 articles on the subject. The Sunday Good Citizen (13 March) carried 4 articles; and so on. This submission is based on these two papers.
In brief, there is a retired pastor in Semunge village in Loliondo, Ngorongoro District, who has become famous for administering a prepared liquid from a cup, as a result of which, many people claim to have been cured of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, HIV/AIDS and what have you. Who is this person?
The papers have differed on his name. The Sunday Good Citizen has at least three versions: Ambikilile Mwasapile, Ambilikile Mwasapile, and Ambukile Mwasapile. Not to be outdone, the Sunday Custodian has four versions: Ambilikile Mwasapile, Ambilikile Mwasapila, Ambilikile Masapila, and Ambalikile Masapila.
My own gut feeling is that the old pastor (the papers differ on how old he is – his age ranging from 70 to 76) is called Ambilikile Mwasapila. Can an authority on Nyakyusa names please come up with the correct version? There were also differences on the name of the plant from which the retired pastor is deriving his magic cure.
An octogenarian (81) BP sufferer is reported to have said: “I am okay after drinking ‘muragira’”. (Sunday Custodian, p.5). So it is “muragira”. But read on: “Seventy six year old Mwasapila administers a herbal concoction from an indigenous tree called ‘mugagira’, which has divine powers to treat diseases that include asthma, diabetes, ‘blood pressure’, cancer and HIV/Aids”.
Is it “muragira” or “mugagira”? Could Mr Ebbo, the well-known Maasai artist please help? What is the correct version? My feeling is that both “muragira” and “mugagira” are not Maasai words. They sound like they come from the country of the “mura” in Mara Region. Now is it the tree that has divine powers? Had that been the case, there would have been no need for the thousands and thousands of people to flock to Semunge.
The divine powers seem, to be in the hands of the pastor, who must administer the potion himself, if the patient is to get cured. And by the way, blood pressure is not a disease (I hope doctors agree). It is a condition within the blood circulatory system. Normal blood pressure is given as 120 for the high and 80 for the low bit (120/80) (there are medical terms for these two sides of blood pressure: high and low).
High or low blood pressure are conditions of the pressure in the blood circulatory system being over or below the 120/80 and these are the problem, not the blood pressure itself. Indeed, if doctors detect no blood pressure in a patient, they get worried indeed. In Kiswahili however, we reckon “pressure” is a disease.
Is the pastor’s potion curing anything? Yes, according to the Sunday Custodian: “Prominent leaders ‘testfy’” (p.1). In an article titled “This is a golden chance” an MP is quoted as saying: “I can tell you that the treatment is real, it works and I feel fine”. The MP, however declined to specify the ‘heath’ problems, that necessitated her to travel to Loliondo” (p. 3).
Actually you “testify” (not “testfy”), and in order to sound convincing you can reveal the “health” (not “heath”) problems that made it necessary for you to travel to Loliondo. It is said that people are travelling to the area “by cars and helicopters”.
No. They travel “by car”, “by helicopter” even if these are many (you go somewhere on foot though you have two feet) The Custodian tells us a bit more about the healing pastor: “he never even remotely wished or hoped to become ‘either a preacher nor’ a traditional healer”.
Surely we all must know that it is: “either …. or”, or “neither …. nor”. It cannot be “either …. nor” or vice versa. In this case, the healer-pastor never wished to become “either a preacher or a healer”. But today, according to the Sunday Custodian (p.3) he is being hailed as a “messier”. There is no noun “messier” in English.
Chances are, the writer had “messiah” in mind. A messiah is someone who people believe will solve their problems. Meet you next week! You are right! In Loliondo of course. Where else?
Total Comments on the above stories (2)
Do scientists have any proof that this tree and the pastor are healing people or is he just making money out of the people.
The coverage of the Mzee from Loliondo has been messy at best. Now with your analysis of the way his name and the magic tree's identity was butchered, it is getting 'messier' by the day.
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