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Of the moporota tree and the myth of manhood enhancement

MAUN: Amongst the natural wonders found in the Okavango Delta and the Chobe is the humorously named 'sausage tree' locally known as Moporota.
By Boniface Keakabetse
Correspondent
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Of the moporota tree and the myth of manhood enhancement








Just mention the name Moporota and you are likely to attract curious attention. Moporota is a tree shrouded in age-old myth that it has powers to enhance humans and wild animals' sexuality. Chances are many would have not seen this tree but will have definitely heard about this myth.

The tree comes from a family of trees scientifically known as the genus kigelia Africana. It is the only species from this tree family found in Africa. The tree is found in tropical Africa from Senegal, Eritrea, Chad and the Southern African countries. It has an average height growth of about 20 meters. Moporota commonly grows near water bodies which explain its concentration in the Okavango and Chobe. The tree derives its name the 'sausage tree' from the multiple sausage-like fruits that it bears.

According to the local lore, men who want to increase the sizes of their manhood can use the Moporota fruits to make their manhood grow as big as the sausage fruit or even better off to whatever size they want. Shockingly the sausage tree fruits can grow up to 100cms long and 10kg in weight! According to an elderly man, Maratla Mahale, the belief about the Moporota powers is as old as time itself. The 90-year-old elder said the belief is not a myth as many would believe but was a practice that existed and potentially still does. He said the practice was carried out by traditional doctors who had various methods for performing it. Some traditional doctors used the sausage fruit while others used a branch from the tree for manhood increment. According to Mahale, traditional doctors doctored branches or the sausage fruits of the tree such that when the parts of the tree grow the manhood of the person involved will also simultaneously grow.

He said when this manhood had reached the preferred size the person had to return to the traditional doctor who will then cut the branch or fruit the muti was performed on from the tree to stop the manhood growing out of control. He said this may explain why there are amusing stories told of people who found themselves in trouble of an ever growing manhood because they forgot the directions to the tree used for their

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charms or the traditional doctor who performed the charm died or disappeared from the village.

Mahale opines that since Batswana are traditionally conservative to open discussion of issues on sexuality, the practice might have been a closely guarded secret available only on request to the specialist traditional doctors.However, he said he is uncertain whether the practice still exists saying a lot of traditional medicinal knowledge has been lost with the bygone generations.According to an excerpt in a book titled 'Among the animals of Africa', authored by Bernard Grizmeck, the fruits from the sausage tree are a delicacy for a number of wild animals in Africa, particularly elephants. He says that the sausage fruits are not only a fodder for jumbos but have also been found to cause heightened libido and virility amongst the jumbos. Perhaps this explains the ever booming elephant population in southern Africa! However, it appears that the legend on Moporota's powers of fertility exists throughout the SADC region even in neighboring countries such as Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The Zambian traditional farmers apparently tried the practice on agriculture. Local lore in Zambia says because of the shape of its fruits farmers made charms out of the sausages fruits and spread on maize fields believing that the cobs will also grow big like the sausage fruits.In some African societies the tree is reportedly worshipped as a holy tree where important spiritual functions are hosted. In the old Ndebele customs if a family member dies far away from home, a sausage fruit is buried in place of the body for the bereaved family to find closure for their loss.

In the Okavango Delta some of the traditional Mekoro used by polling companies to glide tourists over the scenic Okavango waters are in fact carved from the Moporota tree. Elsewhere in Africa, sayings are that the sausages are handy against rheumatism, snake bites, evil spirits, syphilis and in alcohol making. Interestingly, the tree has been exported to Asia and Europe where it is planted as exotic decorating plants in gardens.

For those who say the African wilderness is all about the animals or the Big five what about this tree of big fame? Moporota is undoubtedly at the centre of African myths, legendary and science.

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