Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
HE is probably well known for his loud hailer and marketing phrase “Umuthi wamazinyo la! Mushonga wemazino pano” in the streets of Bulawayo, but what many do not know is that Mr Rabson Zikhali is a former Witswatersrand University medical student who had to drop out due to personal reasons.
His herbal-based toothache remedy concoction is probably the most used in the city with some claiming it is more effective than prescribed meds from dentists and cheaper too.
Mr Zikhali originally from Nkayi said he started his herbal concoction business in 2013 and has never looked back as oral problems are as common as headaches in Bulawayo.
According to Zikhali, the small packet of toothache concoction which costs USD$1 or equivalent has helped him build a home for his family and provide for all their needs.
“I acquired my knowledge in South Africa, came back to operate in my home country and registered a company by the name New Era Chemicals in 2013. This herbal company deals mainly with solving almost all dental and other health problems using crude natural remedies, both indigenous and exotic,” says the father of four who lives in Lobengula suburb.
“I tried studying medicine in 2008 at Wits, but ended up resorting to herbs for reasons which I cannot disclose in public. I have since decided to make a living by selling herbs and it is as easy as going around saying, ‘Umuthi wamazinyo la! Teeth remedy here, Mushonga wemazino pano!’.”
Mr Zikhali says he normally targeted crowds and it was easy for him to find customers where there were gatherings.
“So far I have managed to pay school fees, build a beautiful home for my family in the rural areas and I’m working towards acquiring land to plant my herbs,” he adds.
“My word of encouragement concerning oral health is let us all refrain from eating or drinking very hot nor very cold food and drinks to avoid expansion and contraction of teeth which is the major cause of dental problems.”
He adds that his gift in the knowledge of herbs is not spiritual as he gathered that from his days when he wanted to be a doctor.
“I realised that it was possible to treat many of the diseases without using the chemicals found in most of our medicines that is why I decided to venture into the business and help people using natural resources. It pained to see people remove teeth all the time when I knew there was a remedy to stop toothaches without them going through the pains of tooth extraction,” he says.
Mr Zikhali, like every Zimbabwean, has not been spared from the effects of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions as he can no longer reach his clients as before.
He says before lockdown, he would sell about 100 packets of the concoction daily but since March, the number had reduced to only 20 packets.
“I have lost out due to the lockdown but I am grateful because as a mobile herbalist I can reach out to some of my clients who still come into town. Many seek for my services via WhatsApp and I try and meet up so that I deliver the needed remedy,” said Mr Zikhali.
“Business may be slow these days but I still manage to help people deal with toothaches and that is a major success for me. I even have an office in town where people can reach me but I am ever available for consultations as I also have herbs to help people with heart conditions and other non-communicable diseases.” — @thamamoe