Discovering Little Paris - Muti and Mutti

Mutti is the name of an Italian-branded tomato sauce which is stocked in shops in Croatia.  The name struck me because it would mean something completely different in South Africa.  If you are familiar with American Voodoo, then you will know that it has its origins in Africa.  In South Africa, we refer to it as Muti.

Muti is a term used for traditional medicine in South Africa.  The original word is the equivalent of ‘medicine’ in Zulu, but it has connotations of dark black market herbs.  Some of the worst reported cases have discovered the use of animal and human body parts in the production of these ‘medicines’ prescribed by witch doctors for various ailments from the flu to AIDS and tuberculosis.

So, although the Italian brand name may appear benign to Europeans, to South Africans it is funny to see a red liquid in a jar at the supermarket branded Mutti.  It would feel odd if I purchased it and it would conjure up all sorts of dark stories in my mind.

Maja Dezulovic

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