The Traditional Mystics Going Online

Marabout1 on Skype

Excerpt from this article:

West Africa’s marabouts, or spiritual guides, have advised their followers for centuries. And far from being at odds with the modern world, they are adapting and thriving in the 21st Century, says Jane Labous.

…All the best marabouts are on Skype these days, and Cherif is no exception. Via Skype from our current home in Dorset on the south coast of the UK, my husband and I call Cherif every week for updates on our fertility treatment. The morning post brings envelopes plastered with pink and green Senegalese stamps containing gris-gris and miniscule notes elegantly encrypted with Arabic prayers. My husband spends hours boiling them in water with ginger and honey according to the handwritten instructions.

My mother-in-law is, as you would expect, on the case. She rings with news of a fertility marabout advertising on Senegal TV, and we call the hotline from the UK. A crackling voice at the other end informs us in French that the minimum fee would be two million CFA – more than £2,000 ($2,950). Now that marabouts are marketing themselves, it seems prices are rising.