It is generally believed that business moguls like Bill Gates have succeed because of innovation and hard work.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
However, within many parts of Africa, business success is instead associated with the use of juju, stealing and little regard for hard work.
The recent mysterious explosion in Chitungwiza, triggered fear in the community after five people died in the blast.
It is believed in some quarters that the explosion was a result of juju that had gone wrong, following reports that the house at Number 4 Ndororo Street, Zengeza 2, sheltered a 24-year-old sangoma, who also died in the blast.
Police said among the dead were four adults, including the traditional healer identified as Speakmore Mandere, a businessman who had come to consult the healer, Clever Kamudzeya, and an unidentified seven-month-old baby.
Reports said the businessman owned a fleet of kombis. Mandere’s aide Tawanda Maruma told journalists that he was outside the house stirring some stuff in a claypot which Mandere used for casting out bad spirits, when disaster struck.
Other reports from the neighbourhood said a white kombi was seen at the sangoma’s place fetching water two days before the day of the explosion.
Whatever the case may be, the incident represents a society which still believes in juju as a solution to a fruitful business venture.
Can Zimbabwean business persons prosper because of charms? Are charms really powerful to an extent of exploding and killing people? Can one really make money out of juju?
Probably these are logical questions that are being applied to a matter that has more to do with belief than scientific proof.
Harare traditional healer Sekuru Musabayana Mavhinga said juju exists and many businesses sprouting in the country are a result of the charms.
“This is not a new story, remember during the ’90s when people called mabhinya (murderers) used to chop off people’s heads for business rituals?
“Charms can be used in any business to lure customers or bring luck, but most of the charms have conditions which result in dangerous endings.”
“There comes the problem after the businessman realises the goblins are troublesome,” he said.
Tales about use of charms in businesses are particularly common among small-scale and informal business such as groceries and market trading.
In business circles, stories are rife that some people use blood and domesticated wild animals such as snakes, lizards and hyenas to help improve their business performance.
The tales say some evil people go to the extent of sacrificing the lives of their wives, children, relatives, friends, siblings and even their parents, to improve their businesses.
“Juju does really exist. Sometimes you tend to wonder when you see a person who was operating a very scanty business suddenly becoming too rich. That is magic.
“Many vendors here visit the n’angas, with some going as far as Malawi to get strong and best charms,” said a Mupedzanhamo market vendor who refused to be named.
Harare sociologist Darlington Nyabiko, however, said there is no evidence that juju works in business.
“People have the right to believe in juju, but they have no right to harm others in its name.”
There is no evidence that juju works in business. Most accusations of such nature are grounded on envy, jealous, crookedness and trickery.
“Whichever way, the fundamental belief is that juju is seen as a practice that people use to harm others more than to help people.
“Secondly, people use it only for self-interest. For instance if one wants to acquire wealth through supernatural powers, he or she will have to sacrifice something or another person to enable the ‘medicine’ to work.
“Some people argue that if African magic really existed, why didn’t we use it to fight slavery and colonialism in the past? So it’s nothing but one’s belief,” he said.
An accomplished businessman Mercy Gomba, proprietor of MG companies, said although she heard since she was a child that some entrepreneurs used charms to become successful, she did not believe in the tales.
“Although enterprises and beliefs are as different and unique as the entrepreneurs who create them, most entrepreneurs appear to work through a process that we can observe and describe,” Gomba said.
She said entrepreneurs often discover this process through trial and error, but advices aspiring entrepreneurs to shorten their learning curve by benefiting from the experiences of others.
Apostle Lloyd Tokwe of God’s Covenant Ministries confirmed the existence of juju, but said it was the work of the devil.
“Juju is there and these are supernatural powers from the devil himself.
“Only the word of God can deliver people from powers of darkness,” he said.
Some wicked men used to sacrifice the souls of their wives and children just to make money. Some used to sacrifice their friends, siblings and even their parents just to make money. These people were killed mostly spiritually and their blood converted into money.
Some people use juju just for protection and sometimes for fame.
Another form of juju is witchcraft which is believed to be the lowest rank in terms of powers.
You could kill your enemies with juju or you could make their lives miserable through it. With juju, you do not attack the person physically hence the law cannot punish you. Although juju may sound strange to some people, it is part of African culture and traditions.
In other words, Africans cannot just throw away juju.