I went to a witch doctor and they turned my skin purple

I don’t usually like tours as I find that when there are too many people it is crowded, fractured, bustling and annoyingly you don’t get many great photo opportunities as there are people walking in front of your lens or banging into your arm.  Still, when I saw one entitled Traditional African Culture Walk and that it was only R50 (£4) I signed up straight away

Jacqui and I messing around in the mirrored (dirty) building

The walk was around the muti (traditional medicine), craft and craft shops in the CBD.  It’s a really strange place to be as you are standing underneath amazing skyscrapers, whilst in front of run-down mis-match shops, some old and then some new.  Classic Joburg

The different kinds of buildings around Diagonal St

Bones, beads, knives and hairy shoes for sale

The walk was an eye opener.  We went into a shop called The Museum of Man and Science – not a museum at all, but full of bones, skins, hairs (hopefully all animal!), drums, wood and other such craziness for sale.  There was even a full size baboon that had been skinned and had it’s head intact.  It smelt kind of musty in there, and my friend said that she saw a man cutting a snake up in the back of the room!

Colourful cloths for sale

Sangoma cloths for sale

We walked into the most amazing shop that sold cloths – beautiful, bright colours and then the red, black and white of the Sangoma’s – referred to often as witch doctors.  The Sangoma cloths are all illustrated with animals, and I REALLY want one!  I love the elephant so much, but I saw a really cool peacock cloth that I might just have to pick up next time I am in town!

We went into one of the traditional medicine pharmacies and were greeted with row upon row of beautiful coloured jars.  The ladies there told us that the powder was called Imikhando and you bathe in it for good luck.  I’ve had a recent run of bad luck and decided that anything was worth a try, so I purchased a jar for R10.  She told me to use the whole jar, and assured me that the powder will not stain my skin

I chucked it in my bag and then I forgot about it, but a few days later I was about to embark on the long road to finding employment when I remembered the powder.  I had a hare-brained idea that I would bathe in the powder and then apply for jobs because I have a screw loose and I ran the bath.  I chucked the powder in and waited until it was cold enough to climb in.  I’m not a bath person and as soon as I was in the water I wanted to get out again

I looked at my foot poking out of the water and realised it was bright purple.  I checked my arms and hands and they too were bright purple, and not the kind of colour that looks like it is going to wash straight off when I get out of the bath!  I stood up and laughed out loud – I looked like the The Purple People Eater!!.  I would have taken pictures but I was hopping about butt naked, purple, staining everything that I touched

I pulled the plug out and as the water ran out I realised that the bath tub was bright purple.  Doesn’t stain, my ass!

The foot prints really made me smile...in between hopping around madly

I showered, scrubbing myself to get the stain off, and then headed into the kitchen to grab the bleach for the purple bath tub.  I scrubbed that thing for over an hour.  Good luck, my ass!!  The purple was stubborn, and all that was running through my head whilst I was scrubbing and burning the skin off my fingers is “oh no, Agnes is going to kill me!”.  Agnes is our cleaner.  Those thoughts were followed by “oh no, my landlord is going to kill me” and then finally “oh no, Rob is going to laugh in my face”

The one good thing about all the bleaching is that my finger nails were no longer purple, although the same could not be said about the bath.  Agnes had to re-bleach it when she came the following day, although I had managed to get most of it out

You know what the worst thing is?  I didn’t have time to apply for any jobs that day after all the cleaning!


16 thoughts on “I went to a witch doctor and they turned my skin purple

  1. Martina thank you for the laugh, I’ve had a really crappy day and I needed that. Hope you managed to sort the bath out. My sister and I once spilt orange glass paint on the cream carpets in our rental house. We were so scared my mom would skin us alive.

  2. Wow, that sounds like an interesting way to wrap up a tour (even if its a few days alter) Would have loved to see your purple skin though! Guess you learned a lesson lol

  3. Haha that’s so funny! And as far as I’m concerned pretty relatable too as I honestly think I would almost be capable of doing something like that myself ;-). The bath is one thing…but fortunately you managed to get it off your skin!

  4. My question is: What did you tell the cleaner? I would have agonized over that one. Great story, true Martina-style, well done. My mantra about being a writer: the crappier the situation, the better the story!

    • Thanks Sine. I tried to comment on your latest blog post 10 times this morning before I gave up. No matter what I wrote on that stupid verification bot it would not recognise it as correct. I tried the audio and won’t be able to sleep tonight – it sounds like The Exorcist!!! Just wanted to say great post and hurry up and unveil your new site!! I can’t wait to see it!

  5. I read Heather’s account of the same(?) trip – and saw those tubs of brightly coloured muti powders and thought to myself – that looks like powder paint. It reminded me of art classes at school!
    I’m glad you (and the bath) managed to return to normal colour after your “purple event”!! Hilarious post 🙂

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