Superstition is still part of the lives of many today...
The Daily Nation newspaper (in Kenya, article by Amina Kibirige) ran an amusing story this week of looters flocking to return stolen property to a timber merchant in Mombasa (there was even a photograph to go with it!). The owner of the business had given a seven day ultimatum for the thieves to return thousands of shillings worth of wood planks and said that if the goods were not returned he would; ‘invoke a special Islamic prayer’ known as halbadiri in Kiswahili: ‘It is one of the most feared curses at the Coast as it is believed that it brings calamities to those it is directed at.’
The article quoted a man who named himself John Josh and was in the process of returning 20 planks of wood: ‘Despite the fact that I was turning myself into a laughing stock, I returned the planks that I had stolen for fear of what might befall me. ‘What drove us to this point is a rumour that one man dropped dead as he carried away a stolen TV set from an electronic shop – why wait for such a fate to befall me yet there is a dealine I can beat?’ he said. Some hired handcarts to return the loot. A worker at the hardware said that word had spread fast: ‘They started coming in from Sunday at 11pm and have not stopped till now.’
(I am quoting this story via Africa Expat Wife.)