Here in Africa we live close to the Dark Side, very close.
This fact was brought home to me again by this headline in one of our local news papers: "Local man beats Tokoloshe".
Tokoloshe a figure from Bantu folklore described as a small, hairy, imp like, evil creature that can be called up by a Sangoma, (witch doctor), to inflict harm on others. Below is an artists impression of what a tokoloshe might look like.
To the Western mind this sort of story just seems a load of hogwash, in Africa where most people are steeped in superstition and witchcraft, it's very real.
To get back to the news paper story:
Local man, *Mandla Mvelase, was walking home after finishing work very late last Tuesday night, when he was allegedly confronted by a Tokoloshe. Mandla says that seconds before he saw the Tokoloshe he felt a cold shiver run down his spine. He was walking along lower Canna Avenue near the Forderville Hall at approximately 23:15 when he felt the Tokoloshe 'jump' at him. Mandla says it was an extremely strong 'being' that was trying to push him down the bank. He described it as being short with baby-like features, and laughed eerily. Although terrified he remembered what people told him about not showing fear, so he started lashing out at the Tokoloshe with his backpack. Mandla says that he kicked it and swore at it as it scurried away into the darkness. Visibly petrified, Mandla said that this is the first time he had experienced something like this.
Speaking to other members of the community, we found that many people believe that Tokoloshes do exist.
From KZNews 08 November 2011, page 2.
Headline on the front page of The Natal Witness: Nicolette: Raped by a Tokoloshse. (10/11/2011)
The photo above shows Nocolette Lotter in court, who together with her brother Hardus, and her boyfriend Mathew Naidoo, are appearing in court on charges of murdering her parents in 2008. Nicolette claims to have been repeatedly raped by a Tokoloshe. Both siblings are claiming demon possession as part of their defence. http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global[_id]=71581
Motive for the murder, money.
I Googled the term Tokoloshe and found that this sort of thing has been reported in many news papers in South Africa.
Above: Front page headline in one of the biggest circulation news papers in South Africa.
News paper poster, 1987.
The belief is that your bed needs to stand on brick to increase it's hight above floor level, so that a Tokoloshe can walk under your bed without bumping it's head. If it should bump it's head on your bed you're in big trouble.
This insidious belief in witchcraft and the occult has the effect of making Africans very fatalistic, not much you can do to change your fate, what will be, will be. This leads to people not taking responsibility for their own actions, you blame someone else, neighbours, Tokoloshes, or just plain bad luck.
* The name Mandla means strength or power.