There was a funeral ceremony in the neighbourhood. Guests came from Lagos and other big cities. One of the guests, a randy fellow, saw a woman and approached her for a relationship. While the party was underway, the two sneaked into a room for a quickie. Done, the man got ready to dress up. Then he gave a shrill cry and landed on the floor with a thud. Thankfully enough, the woman had traditional sense enough to know that something was wrong, and she buried her shame. She shouted for help. Neighbours rushed in and pinned down the Lagos boy. Hefty young men were called in to hold him, and a relation of ours, who knew that an antidote of magun existed in the family ‘pharmacy’, rushed in to ask for the potion. That saved the life of the fun seeker. And what happened to the woman thereafter? She did not wait for the day to break before she left town. The last time we had a discussion around her, nobody knew her whereabouts till date. But she saved a life before disappearing. So, is Magun real?
There is this joke about the efficacy of Magun, the Yoruba answer to insults of adultery and fornication. A white man was said to have engaged his Nigerian friends in an argument about whether magun exists and if it does, its efficacy or otherwise. The Nigerians, obviously Yoruba, tried in vain to convince the white man to no avail. Then they decided to be practical about it. The guys arranged a lady and laced her with magun and then pimped her on the white man. Now, the type of magun the lady was laced with is the type that will become active whenever the victim eats the forbidden food item used in preparing the substance. On a particular day, the Nigerians gave a cob of maize to their Oyinbo friend and after eating it, they brought up the topic of magun again. The Oyinbo man responded by telling his friends: “I don’t believe in magun, but I feel like tumbling”. And he somersaulted. Again, they asked him if he believed in magun and when he responded in the negative, he tumbled again. The Nigerians held the White man and gave him a potion to drink. It was then the White man calmed down and the tumbling stopped. May I therefore ask you readers: Do you believe in magun?
Sade Oguntola is the Health Editor of the Nigerian Tribune. On Saturday, January 7, 2023, she did a comprehensive report on Magun. She titled her piece: “Sex romp: Is it magun or a case of heart attack?”. Interesting piece. Oguntola’s material is her reaction to the Monday, January 2, 2023, incident in Ikere Ekiti. That day, as reported by virtually all the dailies, a ‘native doctor’, Fadayomi Kehinde, popularly known as Ejiogbe, died in a hotel in Ikere-Ekiti during a sex romp with the wife of a pastor. Interesting times, we are! Reports claimed that Ejiogbe died of the Yoruba metaphysics known as Magun. Magun literally means Don’t Climb. An Aje-butter (Butter boy) once asked elders that if Magun means don’t climb, will it still work if it is the woman who does the climbing. The reply he got was that he did not know Oogun (medicine) that was why he called it efo (vegetable). Modern languages have interpreted or translated Magun to mean Thunderbolt. I love the interpretation. Thunderbolt kills instantly. So does Magun. Now, Oguntola, as a “Health” writer, tries, in her piece named above, to determine if indeed Ejiogbe died of Magun, or he just suffered normal health hazards during the sex romp with his lover. The question we may want to ask again is: does Magun exist? I will answer that presently. But before I do that, I like to look at some interesting things about Ejiogbe and his lover cum wife of another man.
The African Traditional Religion (ATR) is a very rich mission. There are dos and don’ts in the religion. One of the cautions embedded in ATR is prophylactic sex. A diviner or herbalist is not expected to have indiscriminate sex. The victim of the Ikere-Ekiti sex romp is referred to as a “native doctor”. The Yoruba equivalent of that is “Onisegun”. Oniseguns are esoteric people. For you to be able to understand the ways of roots and herbs, you must literally talking, belong. That is, you must be an initiate otherwise, nothing will work. The Yoruba worldview makes a distinction among Babalawo (diviner), Onisegun (herbalist) and Adahunse (sorcerer). However, most herbalists are confused as Babalawo. While it is true that most Babalawos can pass for Oniseguns, or Adahunses, not every herbalist or sorcerer can be a diviner (Babalawo). Fadayomi, the sex romp victim of Ekiti has an appellation, Ejiogbe. That is purely a traditional name. Ejiogbe, in ATR, is the father of all divinations. Hence the saying: “Ejiogbe, Baba Ifa. One is therefore tempted to believe that the late Ejiogbe must be versed in Ifa divination for him to have earned the appellation. If that should be the case, common sense would have told him that it is forbidden for a Babalawo to have sexual intercourse with another man’s wife. It is an eewo (abomination). Same way the masquerade does not beat a Babalawo (Eegun o gbudo na Babalawo), so also are the initiates forbidden from sleeping with the wife of another man. Morality rules the esoteric! So, what went wrong? Ejiogbe’s sex partner is said to be the wife of a pastor. How come that chicken eats another chicken’s entrails?
Information about the incident is that Ejiogbe died of Magun. A source claimed that the deceased laced the pastor’s wife with the magun substance so that the husband would have contracted it and died. I questioned that line of argument. My doubt is: when Ejiogbe did not hear about the demise of the pastor, why did he go into the hotel with the woman? Someone I had the discussion with said Ejiogbe could have trusted in the efficacy of his magun antidote. I was speechless. My interlocutor referred me to an incident that happened years back in a neighbouring town. It was early morning when we heard the alarm. A woman had died suddenly. We later got to know that while the woman’s husband suspected that she was promiscuous, he decided to lace her with magun. Expectedly, the illicit lover came around early in the morning for a sex romp. But he was a strong man. He smelled the magun in the woman and decided to “push” it up. Unfortunately, after the rounds, he forgot to “push down” the magun. The woman got suffocated by the magun and she died.
That brings us back to the question: does Magun exist? I answer with a capital YES! When the news of the Ikere-Ekiti sex mishap broke, my mind raced back to my early childhood experiences with magun victims. Some were saved and some ended their lives before help could come their way. A friend told me about a man who died of Magun. The victim was said to have rushed out of his house shouting the name of his friend. While running towards his friend’s house he kept on saying: “I don’t know who I offended”. At the doorstep of his friend’s house, the victim collapsed, foamed in the mouth, and died. Questions were asked. It was discovered that the victim’s wife had visited him from where she lived. When confronted, the woman confirmed that her husband jumped off the bed after having conjugal benevolence with her and started running. It was later discovered that the wife in question had two concubines in the village. One of the concubines was the one, who laced the woman with Magun in order to eliminate the other illicit lover. Unfortunately, it was the husband who contracted the substance. How wise are our elders when they intone: “Iyawo to ba nda ale, bi o ba pa ara e, yio pa oko – if a promiscuous wife does not kill herself, she will kill her husband.
At a time, magun victims became commonplace in my area. A particular case was what jolted the entire community to act. There was a particular young boy, whose parents were strangers in our place. The young man was dating another equally young girl. The mother of the girl disapproved of the relationship. She went to the home of the young man to warn his parents. The old woman was specific. “Tell your son to desist from dating my daughter. If he refuses, he will see maggots inside salt” (o ma kan idin ninu iyo). Three days later, the young man died after a sexual intercourse with the young lady. The news of the boy’s death shattered the community. The owners of the land met, and a curse was placed on whoever would use magun on spinsters in the town. Those who doubt the existence of magun should go to the hinterlands to go and hear stories. Africans have a way of instilling discipline in roughnecks. One of such is magun. But the danger in magun is that it can be abused, like the case of the young boy mentioned above. There are lots of misconceptions about the metaphysics.
One of such misconceptions is to think that magun can only be contracted through sex. No! Magun’s efficacy goes beyond sexual intercourse. There is a traditional name I know. It is called “Ofinaboorun”. The simple interpretation is, he who laces (crosses) the road like soldier ants. The name was given after a communal war, during which, without firing a single gunshot, a man killed 36 enemy soldiers. All he did was to lace the soldier ants on the path the enemies took with magun. All those who crossed the soldier ants died metres away from the soldier ants. That ended the internecine war of that era between the two communities. And magun has varieties; if you like, siblings.
One and the mildest of the varieties is called tesho. In those days, whenever parents of young girls wanted to prevent unwanted pregnancies, they laced their daughters with the substance. What tesho simply does is that whenever the so laced lady wants to have sextual intercourse, the phallus of the man involved becomes weak. Next to tesho is “Alemaro” (permanent turgidity), which causes the male partner to have permanent erection after a sexual intercourse with a woman afflicted with the substance. Next of the varieties is “Atogbe”, which brings instant impotence to the male who contracted the substance from a woman laced with it. The last is magun itself, which in most cases, brings instant death or programmed death depending on the type the woman is laced with. Incidentally, while Yoruba cosmology states that there are two hundred and one types of magun, there is only one antidote for them all.
Years back, a renowned diviner had a knotty issue and he brought it to my late father, Baba Falade (actually,an uncle but our culture does not factor uncleship into our family relationship). Baba Falade was able to resolve the issue, himself being one of the Babalawo Orunmila of his era. In appreciation of how Baba helped him, the diviner told our father that he observed that he (Baba) had many male children and so would want to assist the children with magun antidote rings. Baba Falade would not have any of that. And he told the visiting diviner so. To ensure that nothing of the sort happened, Baba. had to see off the visiting diviner far from his homestead. Out of curiosity, in one of our discussions, I asked baba why he would not allow his friend to give the antidote ring to, at least, my older cousins. His answer rings a bell till date: “Once a child knows the antidote to a poison, he becomes hungry for the poison. Whereas, the day the antidote will fail, the child will not know”.
So, when Oguntola spoke to cardiologists who projected that the Ikere-Ekiti sex romp victim could have died as a result of “sex-related cardiac attack or stroke”, which, for instance, Dr. Adebowale Adewunmi of LUTH said occurs when “the heart was only looking for an excuse to fail”, I laughed. I don’t doubt stroke and heart attacks. But there is circumstantial evidence that will tell a victim of magun from that of “cardiac arrest”. In any case, how will magun become effective if it does not cause a seizure of the heart? Thankfully enough, Oguntola, in her piece, provided an answer thus: “The 2017 study published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology found that among these cases (sex-related deaths), less than one percent of cardiac arrests occurred during or within one hour of sexual intercourse”.
What then kills men, suddenly, during sex? I think this is a poser for researchers in African traditions to explore. The issue about magun is that not every woman laced with the substance is essentially promiscuous. We have instances of wickedness too, where innocent women are laced with magun by some debased minds to shame the female victims or to get rid of an ‘enemy”. We are in the end time. We may have to look at some of the encumbrances placed on our ways by modern science. May we get to a stage again, where every man who has the urge and the capacity, will take in more women as wives!