How fortunes have changed for Loliondo’s Babu

What you need to know:

  • Last year, Mr Masapila pulled hundreds of thousands of people into the Loliondo area by dispensing a herbal concoction purported to cure HIV/Aids, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma and hypertension and any other ailment
  • April 2011 was a special period in Loliondo. Airtel and Vodacom rushed in to erect masts to tap into the huge market of an estimated 20,000 people who poured every week to seek Masapila’s alleged miracle cure
  • Mr Masapila’s vehicles are additional assets that have improved the villagers’ lives as they have been deployed during “emergencies” during the day or night
  • In terms of income – and he asked us not to place much value on it – the man is said to be collecting a paltry TSh25,000 (KSh1,300) from an average of 50 patients who stop by every week. He still dispenses the cup of the concoction at TSh500 (KSh27), which is shared with his aides and some saved for his planned centre
  • At the height of his fame, Mr Masapila was said to have been pocketing a minimum of TSh5 million (KSh267,000) every day worked

At Samunge village in rural northern Tanzania, one would not fail to notice young Maasai men flaunting mobile phones fastened to their beaded waist bands.


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