Sometime back, a Tanzanian medicine man captured the attention of the world when he proclaimed that he could cure diverse diseases and ailments using a unique plant that later became the famous loliondo herb.
Thousands of people with different afflictions from all walks of life flocked to Tanzania to seek succor and the healing powers that the medicine man claimed to have, thanks to the loliondo herb.
The medicine man could have made a pretty sum of money from his magical healing powers but whether those who partook of the medicinal potions healed or not is only a matter of conjecture.
However, in the recent years, there has been a general consensus that traditional healers should be incorporated alongside those offering conventional medicines.
The “herbal” craze is in fact now gripping every part of the country and the world at large where many people are turning to traditional healers and medicine men to treat ailments and afflictions which conventional medicine has failed to heal.
Taita-Taveta is among the few counties in the country endowed with hundreds of unique plants not found elsewhere in the world and which some researchers claim could offer the panacea to many ailments and diseases including the HIV/Aids scourge.
Different parts of these plants such as bark, roots and leaves are known to cure some of the chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma as well as mitigating the effects of the HIV virus in the body.
Forests such as Ngangao and Mbololo are among those believed to habour hundreds upon hundreds of plants and trees with immense healing powers.
However, it’s rare to meet a Taita healer so versed with the healing powers of the local herbs and trees such as Dr Francis Mng’ongo Mwamburi especially at this moment in time when Taita culture has virtually been eclipsed by western values and lifestyles.
Mwamburi who hails from Mole village in Rong’e ,comes from a family of traditional healers, having inherited the kills and expertise from his father Mwamburi Ziri.
Rong’e is the adopted home of the legendary Taita healer and medicine man Mwakishaluwa, the seer believed to have unleashed the two infamous Man Eaters of Tsavo upon the railway builders at the turn of the twentieth century. Mwakishaluwa had allegedly predicted that an “iron snake” would cross Taita land and had to be halted because the local elders had not been consulted.
Mwakishaluwa is said to have had mystical powers to talk to wild animals and give them instructions including unleashing them on his enemies with disastrous consequences.
The healer’s original home, according to local lore, was in Mwanda, in the now Wundanyi sub-county.
“I have the big three in my custody, lion, leopard and elephant,” says Mwamburi lifting a large calabash with strange paraphernalia where “the dangerous three” are holed up. However, he does not elaborate what he does with “the big three”!
No to sorcery
However he is quick to point out that his main work is healing people afflicted by various ailments and not settling scores with perceived aggressors and casting spells on them as Mwakishaluwa used to do.
“Even the other day a woman from Bura came to me seeking magical powers to cast a spell on her lover so that the man could go insane and them inherit his property. I turned her away because I do not cast evil spells on people,” he says emphatically.
Mwamburi who has traversed virtually all the corners of this country and beyond treating people with different diseases and conditions, says Taita herbs make some of the most potent medicinal potions.
“Even some medicine men from Tanzania come to me seeking enlightment on how to harvest and make use of the local healing herbs,” he says proudly.
Talking to i-MPACT NEWS at his Singila home at Mwatate sub-county Mwamburi says he does not seek cheap publicity in newspapers and radio or planting signboards by the roadsides to invite people to visit him for healing.
“Most of those wagangas who do that are only out to lure people with various medical problems with a view to making a kill yet some cannot offer the services and expertise they claim to have,” says Mwamburi, adding that he has a wide clientele and that his work “speaks for itself”.
Among the aliments and diseases the claims to cure include HIV/AIDS but is quick to add: “HIV may not have a direct cure but I have a wide range of herbal concoctions that can gradually slow down and even reverse the effects of HIV so that the patient can live a normal healthy life”.
Other diseases that the claims he can cure include cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, TB, as well as exorcising demons and curing those with demonic seizures. In total, he says he can cure more than 50 diseases and conditions.
The herbalist-cum-healer says that it’s unfortunate that most Taitas have abandoned their culture including use of traditional cures to heal diseases and infections.
“As our culture dies so does our knowledge of traditional medicines .Our forests have many powerful healing herbs that should be preserved and jealously guarded for posterity but it’s sad that this knowledge and expertise is gradually getting lost yet outsiders keep on visiting our forests and harvesting our medicinal plants,” laments Mwamburi.
However, he says he does not want to see this knowledge he inherited from his ancestors getting lost, pointing out that so far he has mentored three of his sons on the relevant skills who are now showing excellent mastery of the same .
Mwamburi’s contacts are 0723530808, 0728388365, 0701877534
Captions to photos:
Francis Mwamburi with one of his wives Eunice Chao, while the other photos shows the tools of trade and the range of medicines