'Dying baby says black tea cures virus ',rumour rages like wildfire

At 3am, residents awakened by callers, told to drink black tea

In Summary

• One myth advised drinking black tea without sugar before dawn to cure Covid-19 and acquire immunity.

•  Another said a strand of hair found in the Koran is from the Prophet Mohammed's beard, it should be dipped in water and the water drunk for immunity and cure.

Rumor: black tea without sugar drunk before dawn kills coronavirus.
MYSTICAL TEA: Rumor: black tea without sugar drunk before dawn kills coronavirus.

With pandemics come myths and superstitions.

These are about the powers of black tea and a strand of hair found in the Koran.

At about 3am, many people were calling each other throughout the Coast region, saying black tea without sugar drunk before dawn is the cure for the coronavirus, and possibly a preventative.

It is said that a child was born in the night and said these words about black tea before dying.

Speaking to the Star by phone, Mama Suleiman from Bamburi area in Mombasa said she was called by four people from different areas with the same massage.

"I was called by people from Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Nairobi and Kaloleni," she said.

Mama Suleiman said she found it funny but felt she had to obey and prepare the tea in the middle of the night since it was a message from different people.

"I had to drink so let's wait for the results. But it might be rumours just like the [self-declared prophet] Babu Loliondo myth that people had to drink some concoction in Tanzania to get healed but later many people got ill effects from it," she said.

Samira Ramadhan also said she was awakened by a phone call from a relative and given the same message.

She said she did not bother to take the cup of tea as she believes only God will end the Covid 19 pandemic and not rumours going around. 

"I do not believe in the rumours. People should just turn to God," she said, adding she would not judge those who believe the rumours. She advised praying often.

Social media forums were rife with the black tea topic and many people asked each other if they had received the message and if they believed it.

Last week, there were rumours that if one opens the Koran and finds a strand of hair in the middle, it is from the beard of the prophet Muhammad. 

People should dip it in a glass of water, stir and drink for immunity and a cure for Covid-19, the rumour mill said.

Sheikh Ibrahim Bulushi, however, told  Muslims to avoid being swayed by such notions that divert them from God.

"These are just rumours, Muslims should not be lured by such beliefs," the Sheikh said.

(Edited by V. Graham)