I’m the Catman
Today I met a man who chops or chews the heads off cats and drinks their
blood (here they don’t think cats have 9 lives but hearts, so they strong
like horse), to bring luck to a range of people, including two ministers
and four other MPs.
He’s quite unusual for Tanzania, where some researchers (whose statistics
would be banned under the government’s stats act) claim that 80% of the
population believes in witchcraft, seemingly over governance.
I spent an hour with Dr Manyauyau, who claimed that he could read my mind
but couldn’t as he wasn’t attacked by the spirits at that point (like any
good murderer, he brushes off questions about his fatal feline fetish by
claiming he is not himself when he does it). He beheads about three or four
cats a month, and it’s basically a community service as people here think
they’re the incarnation of witches, but says that if someone brought him 50
cats, he could drink the blood of all of them. So there.
He offered to summon some witches for me using an incense stick (witches
food apparently) and a bowl of egg, flour, lemon and more mystery
sprinklings (black magic basically involves smoke and a pancake) and rested
it on a sheet covering something rectangular that turned out to be a
Dr M excused himself and when I didn’t scream at the tinny rumbling coming
from the bowl, he said the witches were “far, at the sea” and explained
that they must be resting as it’s Ramadan.
He claimed that he was also not practicing during this time but ego got thebetter of him or he doesn’t do major events. The videos he showed finds him
charging around villages with magic MCs with whistles and baked bean can
maracas and him stripped to his underpants digging up people’s floors and
finding mysterious vials that mysteriously resemble the ones on his coffee
table of assorted magic paraphernalia. His “office” is packed with random
objects to do magic, but he claimed that the plastic dinosaur was not one
I then met the head of Tanzania’s anti-narcotics unit, who makes dealers
shiver in their boots, who like a few interviewees in this country, seemed
to only want to make me suffer and not answer any questions.
He did however try to convert me to Christianity, and when I said that
someone had already tried to convert me to witchcraft today, he introduced
me to Mrs John, (her husband John was sleeping/stalking something outside)
his black cats that along with his bible, are his only body guards.
The most revealing thing about today is our driver taking Dr Manyauyau’s
number, the non believing fixer running from the room when he was summoning
the witches, and also fearing Mrs John (the black cats are the definite
witches) when coming to find me.
Funny day, but also a bit sad that ministers are buying people like Dr
Manyauyau houses instead of winning favour by providing people the services
they deserve, and the fight against heroin trafficking is feline-heavy.