“If you want to boost your sex drive, come to this road!” These are the words of Thuso Fofa, a 32-year-old herbalist from Dibete. A stretch of 22km from Dibete village along the A1 Road has become the largest market for sex herbs in Botswana and the sellers say the business is booming.
More sellers are now lining up the road to meet the growing demand for the product. A view through the window of a passing vehicle shows the main product in bottles full of red liquid in makeshift stands on the left side of the road when heading up north. But what is inside these bottles?
The Monitor team took the ‘22km Sex Drive’ market and toured the various stands along the roadside and compiled a list of herbs according to their sellers. Fofa and his mate, Gofaone Odirile both from Mmatahite cattle post took time to assist in the compilation. The men gave us the colourful names of their herbs that come from various plant species together with their benefits.
They point out that some species are local while others come from as far as Tswapong area. This is the rich indigenous knowledge they say they got from their old folks. Fofa and another seller, Mmoloki Dingalo – also known as Rasta – reveal that their fathers were traditional medicine men. They say they learnt from them but unlike their old timers they do not throw them bones.
Almost half of the herbs are for reproductive health especially for boosting both men and women’s libido. Most of these herbs are mixed together into a concentrated concoction for more effectiveness and potency. A two-litre bottle generally goes for P70.00 while a raw mixture of herbs is P120.00. The herbs can also be pounded and sold as powder.
The following are the 24 main herbs that can be found at the market together with their uses:
1. Palamela – for boosting libido and dealing with erectile dysfunction (motsosa)
2. Mosisa wa Legong – for boosting libido, penis enlargement and erectile dysfunction
3. Mosiga-a-poo - for erectile dysfunction, boost libido and quality of sperm in men (motsosa)
4. Mmata kgomo – for treating various STIs
5. Marotobane or Mosisa wa Segwere - for cleansing blood vessels around reproductive parts and boosting libido
6. Letswai la Khudu - for penis enlargement, boost libido and erectile dysfunction
7. Mathomaganyane/Makgorometsa – for boosting libido, fertilisation and pregnancy
8. Mootapolo – for penis enlargement
9. Leleme le monate – for men to win love favours over women
10. Moroto wa Tshwene – A charm used to keep your intimate partner for life
11. Rradipolwana - for cleansing blood vessels (makgonatsotlhe)
12. Mogatolola – for vaginal discharge, and pubic rash
13. Motsitsana – painkiller
14. Monepenepe – antibiotics
15. Tube – an immune booster
16. Thako la popelo - cleanse the womb
17. Tshipi se Magale
18. Monna ga Apara - for good luck during court cases
19. Tshika di Thata - anal itching and pains
20. Monokana – for feet ache and is added into the Widow herbs
21. Mojaphufu – for treating obesity
22. Mojakubu- to stop dizziness
23. Mojakabomo - used to boost a business
24. Sekaname - for fever, cleans the body
Do these herbs really work?
Fofa says the best proof as to whether their herbs really work can be articulated by the “father of four-kings” in Tonota.
Fofa says: “Monna ne ke nna le mthaka yole wa bana ba ba four ba Tonota gone ha. Rene re ba siela Mathomaganyane ene le mogatse. (I used to stay with the father of Tonota quadruplets. Him and the girlfriend used to drink these herbs)”.
Another vote of confidence to their herbs, they say is demonstrated by their many repeat customers who also bring along new ones. Dingalo explains they have customers with big wallets with large sums of money buying their products, so it can only mean that it works for them.
The Legend of Jele Jele
Recently a video circulated on social media of a young boy selling this product that have adult instructions. In the video the little boy tells the men who were seeking to buy the medicine that the concoction in the bottle is for cleansing kidneys and it cures erectile dysfunction.
He said: Molemo o ke o cleanang diphilo, letheka, gape ona le motsosa mo teng ha tante e wele. He demonstrated with a jerking hand up. When the astonished clients questioned him on what he knows about “tante e wele” he told them that he only got instructions from his old man. During his sales pitch - selling penis enlargement and erectile dysfunction cures - the boy appeared very confident, energetic and animated. One could tell that he has natural traits of great salesman.
It turns out that the boy in the video is well known young fella throughout the 22km market.
He goes by the name of Jele Jele. Every seller knows him. Fofa and Odirile talk highly of the young boy. Dingalo says the boy is troublesome. They say if he could be shown where they dig the herbs he is capable of digging them all out and becoming the supplier of the sellers.
We later gathered from one of his old stands that Jele Jele has left the business and is now employed at Maipaahela, deep in the bush.