The killing of Eritrean born American rapper Nipsey Hussle on Monday, 1st April, 2019 has reignited the debate on the mysterious ways in which black men who proclaim to find the cure for malignant diseases, notably AIDS and cancer lose their lives.
The 33-year-old rapper who was in the process of filming a documentary about the infamous 1985 trial of Honduran herbalist Dr Sebi was shot six times outside his Marathon Clothing store in the Crenshaw neighbourhood of Los Angeles. In light of his plan to shed light on Dr. Sebi’s trial through the documentary, conspiracy theories have since surfaced about the possible reason behind the Nipsey’s killing, with a number of them claiming that the government assassinated him to thwart his plan.
Alfredo Darrington Bowman, better known as Dr. Sebi, was a Honduran world-renowned herbalist and healer who garnered attention after posting an ad in a New York newspaper where he claimed that he could cure AIDS. Born in November 1933, Bowman never had formal education, but was trained by his parents and “anchored in the African herbal way.”
As the director of the Usha Herbal Research Institute, Dr. Sebi claimed to have successfully cured his patients of HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Diabetes, Sickle Cell, Blindness among others. According to him, he cured all the diseases with herbs and a unique vegan diet based on various pseudoscience claims. Dr. Sebi described his African Bio-Mineral Balance as a dietary program that is consistent with the African genetic structure. The dietary program consists of natural herbal compounds, fresh fruits, vegetables and juices. He believed that mucus was the cause of every disease and that when you eliminate the mucus you eliminate the disease.
In February 1987, Dr. Sebi was arrested and put before court after advertising in the newspapers, including the New York Post, that he had cured thirteen of his patients of AIDS and that he was willing to cure anyone who supposedly had AIDS. He was charged by the Brooklyn Supreme Court for selling drugs without approval by the Food and Drugs Board (FDA), practising medicine without a license and fraudulently claiming to solve AIDS and other diseases.
In the court case against what some people say were against some of the toughest prosecutors in the land at the time, Dr. Sebi was asked to bring 1 of every patient he had cured from each of the 9 maladies he cures as well as medical records showing records that the patients had the disease and another showing the patients had been cured of the disease and confirmed by a second doctor. Dr. Sebi took 77 cured patients and their diagnostic sheets from licensed doctors to the court, instead of the 9 patients he was asked to bring, to prove his case.
He was subsequently found not guilty of the charges levelled against him and discharged. At the time, he was one among a handful of people to have won a case against the United States Supreme Court in about the last 2800 cases.
On August 6, 2016, Dr. Sebi died in police custody after having complications while battling pneumonia while in Honduras. He was 82.
Nana Kofi Drobo II
Nana Kofi Drobo II was a herbalist, head of the Drobo Memorial Herbal Center and chief priest of the Kwaku Firi Shrine at Nwoase, near Wenchi, in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. He achieved international fame in 1992 when he is alleged to have found the cure for the dreadful Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
On May 28, 1992, Nana Drobo II and his secretary Paa Koi Mensah arrived in Tokyo, Japan upon the invitation of Tokyo Broadcasting System, Dramatic Vision and Dental and Medical University of Tokyo for the purpose of testing the efficacy of his AIDS drug. Recounting the story of their ordeal in Japan at the Manhyia Palace on July 4, 1992, Nana Kofi Drobo II and Paa Koi Mensah said attempted poisoning, robbery and a miraculous escape summed up their Tokyo trip.
A story published in the Wednesday, August 26, 1992 edition of The Pioneer Newspaper on the account that Nana Kofi Drobo II narrated to the Ashantehene, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II states:
Nana Kofi Drobo II said on their arrival a reception was held for them. However as soon as he touched his bottle of soft drink, it fell and broke into pieces. His secretary who drunk his developed a swollen face and red eyes three days later.
He said on the second day of their visit his drug was taken for an invitro-test which according to the Japanese, would take 5 days instead of the normal 12 days due to their advanced technology. After 5 days, the researchers led by Prof. Yamamato came to report that the drug had not only eliminated the virus but had also destroyed the containers in the testing machine. In view of this they would reduce it from 9% to 3% for another test.
According to Nana Drobo II it was from this juncture their battle for survival begun. Prof Yamamato wanted to know his academic background since to his thinking a mere herbalist was not capable of inventing such a potent drug against the dreaded AIDS when world renowned researchers and medical practitioners had failed in their attempts to find the cure for it. Prof Yamamato also pleaded with him to make him (Yamamato) the inventor of the potent drug while Nana Drobo II becomes co-inventor to avoid the disgrace which would befall the world medical field if it became known that an ordinary herbalist had invented the cure for AIDS.
When Nana politely refused the request, Yamamato asked to be vaccinated with Nana Kofi Drobo’s anti-AIDS vaccine since he may in the course of his duties contract the disease. Again, Nana Drobo rejected the request. Nana said he later discovered that the telephone in their room had been disconnected and very powerful and sensory machines had been secretly installed in their rooms to monitor their activities.
At a point in time when he feigned sick, one of their hosts, Mr. Schimada, brought an American doctor, who diagnosed that Nana was suffering from heart attack and declared that his blood pressure is so bad that anything can happen at any time. When Nana refused to be injected, he prescribed ‘Brandine’, a poisonous drug for him and promised to come back at the appropriate time to give him an injection. The doctor (name Dr. Askinof) left with the message, “you look like a King, but I will soon reduce you”. Prof. Yamamato confessed to him later that three prominent Ghanaians had asked them (Japanese), to eliminate him so that he would not enjoy the fame that will surely accompany his invention and that he will faithfully accompany their request. A few days after the disclosure, Nana Drobo and his secretary’s properties including one million yen and a gold ring were stolen from their room. Suspiciously, characters also started trailing them wherever they went.
Due to the tribulations they were going through, they poured all their drugs into a water closet and flushed them to prevent the Japanese from illegally acquiring the AIDS Drug. Nana Kofi Drobo II concluded by saying the Japanese used all sorts of devilish tricks to eliminate him and his secretary and take possession of the AIDS drugs but failed.
Professor Nana Kofi Ayisi, former Head of the Vitrology Unit of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), in April 2004 held that the late Nana Kofi Drobo's claim that he discovered anti-HIV/AIDS plants was based on scientific principles.
Professor Ayisi insisted that if turned out that Nana Drobo selected his plants for treating HIV/AIDS patients based on the fact that the plants had been found to inhibit cancer cells (just like Dr. Sebi also earlier suggested) then Nana Drobo may have been one of the first people to have tested an anticancer agent for its possible anti-AIDS efficacy.
Nana Kofi Drobo II died at 47 from gunshot wounds on August 25, 1992 at a village near Offinso-Ashanti.
The Ghanaian Times of 3 October 1992 reported that five people including his secretary, driver, personal aide, and a linguist of the Kwaku Firi Shrine, where Nana Drobo was chief priest, were charged with his murder and conspiracy to murder. It is understood that three of the five were convicted.
The AIDS Cure
Conspiracy theorist believe that the western pharmaceutical companies are strongly against the finding of a cure for AIDS, especially from black herbalist, as it would mean a loss in millions of revenue to the companies who produce anti-retroviral drugs used for the treatment of AIDS worldwide. It has also been stated that even if a cure for the epidemic is available, these same western pharmaceutical giants would like to patent it to reap all the economic benefits that will come along with it.
With 91% of the world’s HIV-positive children living in Africa, 71% of the HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2011 being people living in Africa, and 69% of the 34 million HIV-positive people worldwide living in sub-Saharan Africa, it should be common-sense, rational and reasonable to promote the use of traditional healers and herbalist, African herbal materials, when proven, as well as African made, tested and confirmed Antiretroviral drug treatments to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This will go a long way to prevent the 5 out of 10 million HIV-positive patients who cannot receive treatment due to an insufficient supply of antiretroviral drugs and health care providers.
In any case, simple economics suggests that upgrading the knowledge of traditional healers and herbalist would be less expensive than expanding the formal public health care system and would likely be more sustainable over the long year.
It is this claim made by loyalists to Dr. Sebi and Nana Kofi Drobo II that international drug companies are trying to protect their profits because theirs were the only cure and preventative medicine for AIDS whereas all the others by the multi-national companies were symptom suppressants.
Similar work with medicinal plants is showing promising results in South Africa. A South African indigenous medicine helps relieve the symptoms of AIDS. The plant, Sutherlandia Frutescens, grows wild in the Western Cape and the hills of Zululand. Anne Hutchings, an ethnobotanist and lecturer at the University of Zululand has been using Sutherlandia, together with a range of other indigenous plant medicines, to treat AIDS patients who attend the weekly AIDS clinic at Ngwelezane Hospital. She has 176 patients who all testify that Sutherlandia has helped them to live a fuller, healthier and more productive lives. In the Northern Cape town of Kuruman, nurse and sangoma, Virginia Rathele, is using Sutherlandia at her clinic to treat more than 300 AIDS patients.
There is a believe among the Akan people in Ghana backed by a popular saying that, ’wo kum apem aa, apem beba’ which to wits means, “if you kill a thousand, a thousand more will come.” This believe goes a long way to reinforce the believe that no matter the efforts at suppressing blacks and African herbalist in the world of medicine goes, there are many more who will come to emancipate their people against such deadly diseases. The notion of traditional healers as “witch doctors” practicing quack medicine remains pervasive, despite the fact that many pharmaceutical products are derived from plants. A focus by African governments to improve traditional medicine would make the health system less dependent on external sources, such as multinational companies and international aid institutions.