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The ‘tightening’ herbs



MASERU – DESPERATE to “tighten” their private parts, many women are falling prey to unscrupulous traders of scientifically unapproved herbs.
The traders also target women who are worried about their sexual and reproductive health and experience a discharge known in Sesotho as seso or genital sore.
These hawkers, driving a lot of myths and misconceptions, give many desperate women a feeling that their private parts “have lost elasticity”.
They are riding on a tale that has been historically used to shame women who are told that “a loose female sexual organ” is a sign that the woman has had multiple sex partners.

Those with seso, believed to be a sexually transmitted illness, are said to have a female sexual organ that can “actually bite their sex partners’ organ.”
Afraid that their men would suspect them of sexual infidelity, some women have rushed to herb traders to “tighten and detoxify” their sexual organs as a means to restore their men’s trust.
Some have turned to yoni pearls, said to be a detoxifier and tightening agent that has been used for centuries across diverse cultures.
What exactly are yoni pearls?

Yoni Pearls are usually advertised as a vaginal or uterus detox or cleanser that contain multiple herbs wrapped in small mesh cloth “gems” or “pearls”.
Women use them by inserting them in their sexual organs sometimes for over 24 hours. says the short answer is “something you shouldn’t be putting inside your body”.

“The longer answer: Yoni pearls, sometimes called vaginal detox pearls, herbal tampons, cleansing pearls, or vaginal pearls, are basically vaginal tea bags.”
Yoni is the Sanskrit word for vagina.
“Herbs belong in your pantry and planter, not in your vagina,” the health website reads.
“Unfortunately, that’s exactly what yoni pearls are: herb heaps made for vaginal insertion. And, far from being just a wacky, woo-woo wellness trend, these pearls are dangerous.”

Likhahloa Sekobi, a consumer of yoni pearls, said she bought the combo of yoni steaming herbs and pearls and steaming bowl well before they had become popular.
“I saw their benefits on an Instagram post and some public figures even commented openly with their testimonies,” Sekobi said.
“That’s when I decided to research about them on trustworthy websites and then placed my order,” she said.
Sekobi said she did not know about tightening the female sexual organ but claimed the pearls increased her sex drive.
She said the pearls “cleaned” her because “they came out with weird discharges”.

She said she used the combo for three months but she won’t use them again.
“I stopped after I heard that they increase fertility,” she said, highlighting that she would not advise people who use them to steam every day.
She said her partner even felt the difference after she used the combo “as the wetness was extra”.
“Now I feel clean and comfortable,” she said.
Another consumer, Kelebone Mpaka, said yoni was recommended by a friend when she told her that she had an infection.

“Ever since I used it, I feel so fresh,” Mpaka said.
“I feel they are safe as they won’t impact my life in any bad way and I am not even afraid as they helped me. I will continue using them,” she said.
’Manako Phahloane said she thought yoni steam was a scam before she started using it.
“I always thought distributors paid people to give such testimonies but clearly I was wrong,” she said.
She said she had gone for over 13 years without going for a period and doctors attributed it to hormonal imbalance.

“I went to different doctors and used all that people advised me to use hoping to get better but nothing changed. But with just one sachet of yoni steam I experienced my periods. I was so excited,” she said.
She is now hoping for a pregnancy.
“I am hopeful that I will conceive now that I see my periods; been trying without any luck,” she said. “I will not stop using them until I get pregnant.”
’Mampe Ntamole said she was nicknamed Maqalika by her boyfriends, after a Maseru dam, “because of the wetness and my loose thing” during sex.

Ntamole said she had been suffering until a friend recommended yoni pearls and “now my man can never say he feels like he is swimming in a dam when we make love”. says there are only two things that can affect a female sexual organ’s elasticity: age and childbirth.
It says frequent sex or lack of it won’t cause the organ to lose any of its stretch.
It says over time, childbirth and age could potentially cause a slight, natural loosening of the female sexual organ.

“Women who’ve had more than one vaginal birth are more likely to have weakened vaginal muscles. However, ageing can cause your vagina to stretch slightly, regardless of whether you’ve had children,” it says.
People who sell yoni pearls claim that they treat a variety of health concerns.
These include “toxin build up” from menstrual products or to restore a vagina’s full functions by tightening the muscles to make sex more enjoyable.
They also claim to cure yeast infections, infertility, bacterial vaginosis and even fibroids and cysts amongst others.

Moliehi Tšoeu said she started selling the pearls around February and demand was “very high”.
She said she gets her supplies locally.
“My customers said they saw a difference with the first sachet.”
She claimed the pearls have no side-effects.
“I still encourage people to use them following the testimonies I have received so far and I believe in them.”
Gladys Malewa said she has never received any complaints since she started selling them three years ago.
She said she decided to sell them after seeing many women struggle with infertility, fibroids and other things.

“I wanted to assist fellow women and indeed it worked as some got healed completely while others conceived,” she said.
She said her products were medically approved.
“Inserting pearls shouldn’t be a problem as there are still over the counter medications prescribed by doctors such as canex v that can also be inserted in the vagina,” she said.

In a May 2021 article by journalist Lianna Bass, a medical expert, Dr Mary Jane Minkin, a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University, noted that yoni pearls are risky, citing lack of science to back up claims of its effectiveness.
“If you look up ‘yoni pearls’ in the index of medical publications, PubMed, there is nothing listed, so we have basically zero medical information,” Dr Minkin says.
She said there are no studies to prove that yoni pearls are effective.
“It’s safe to say they are risky. Putting anything in a vagina that contain chemicals, fragrance or herbs can totally mess it and may lead to itching, burning, cramping, unusual vaginal discharge, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and vaginal dryness,” she said.

Although it is claimed that the pearls increase fertility, Minkin said people are wrong.
“In fact, yoni pearls can lower chances of conception. They are not safe.”
“The vagina has no real toxins and one’s body has its own systems to remove toxins and does just fine and people shouldn’t let some wellness, brand or influencer tell otherwise.”
“There is no need to clean the uterus or vagina for fertility as the uterus cleanses itself monthly.”
Local gynecologist, Dr Teboho Masia, said the safety of the herbs is not documented hence they may be harmful by altering the normal vaginal flora.

“The vagina does not need any cleansing. The local lactobaccilus provides natural protection against infections,” Dr Masia said.
“I will not recommend the herbs to be used in the vagina,” he said.
Dr Lineo Mabusela-Letlala, a gynecologist, told thepost that using yoni pearls is dangerous for women.
“What really comes out when one uses yoni pearls?” she asked.
“The debris that comes out is the main reason that gets a lot of women convinced that the pearls are working and are cleaning toxins from the womb. It’s not true,” she said.

What really comes out is the uterine endometrial tissue called decidual layer or lining in a form of a cyst, she said.
Each month, the lining of a womb (scientific name ‘endometrium’) thickens up and this thickened endometrial tissue is called a ‘decidual lining’.
“Normally, if you’re not pregnant, you’ll experience a monthly bleed and you shed a combination of that endometrium and period blood and small tissues in dribs and drabs over three to seven days,” she said.
Decidual cast occurs when a woman sheds her entire womb lining.
“When it does happen, instead of shedding the decidual lining little by little as you normally do, the entire decidual lining is expelled all at once in one solid piece. This is not normal and is undesirable,” she said.

She said the colour of the cyst will depend on where a woman is during her menstrual cycle.
It is bloody and lumpier around the first seven to 10 days of a period. It is a mucus like yellowish tissue around her ovulation period, which is 10 to 21 days of period.
She said the cause includes the use of toxins and substances inserted into the vagina that completely dislodges the decidual layer from the uterine lining.

The other cause is the use of some other contraceptives with progesterones.
A woman must report this to her doctor when it happens
Dr Mabusela-Letlala said it could be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy and one must seek medical care.
She said passing a decidual cyst can be very painful, with symptoms such as painful stomach cramps, heavy vaginal bleeding, and severe discomfort.
“But once you pass the cyst, your symptoms may go away almost immediately,” she said.

“Once out, the cyst looks pink, fleshy, and solid. It may have a shiny appearance because it’s made up of tissue, mucus, and blood clumped together.”
Then the uterus takes some time to rebuild the layer again and the subsequent periods can be lighter or even heavier than normal.
“In summary, yoni pearls do not clean the womb but rather remove the decidual normal layer,” she said.

’Mapule Motsopa

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Lawyer in trouble



A local lawyer, Advocate Molefi Makase, is in soup after he flew into a rage, insulting his wife and smashing her phone at a police station.

It was not possible to establish why Adv Makase was so mad at his wife. He is now expected to appear before the Tšifa-li-Mali Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, he was released from custody on free bail on condition that he attends remands.

Magistrate Mpotla Koaesa granted Advocate Makase bail after his lawyer, Advocate Kefuoe Machaile, pleaded that he had to appear for his clients in the Court of Appeal.

Advocate Makase is facing two charges of breaching peace and malicious damage to property.

According to the charge sheet, on October 5, 2023, within the precincts of the Leribe Police Station, Advocate Makase allegedly used obscene, threatening, or insulting language or behaviour, or acted with an intent to incite a breach of the peace.

The prosecution alleges that the lawyer shouted at his wife, ’Mamahao Makase, and damaged her Huawei Y5P cell phone “with an intention to cause harm” right at police station.

During his initial appearance before Magistrate Koaesa, Advocate Makase expressed remorse for his actions and sought the court’s leniency, pleading for bail due to an impending appearance in the Court of Appeal.

His lawyer, Advocate Machaile, informed the court that an arrangement had been made with the police to secure his release the following day, as he had spent a night in detention.

Advocate Machaile recounted his efforts to persuade the police to release him on the day of his arrest.

He noted that the police had assured them of his release the following day, which indeed came to fruition.

Following his release, he was instructed to present himself before the court, which he dutifully complied with.

Advocate Machaile underscored Advocate Makase’s standing as a recognised legal practitioner in the court.

Notably, he was scheduled to appear in the Court of Appeal but had to reschedule his commitment later in the day to accommodate his court appearance.

Advocate Machaile asserted that Advocate Makase presented no flight risk, as he resides in Hlotse with his family and has no motive to evade his legal obligations.

He respectfully petitioned the court for his release on bail, emphasising that he had demonstrated his ability to adhere to the court’s conditions.

The Crown Counsel, Advocate Taelo Sello, expressed no objection to the bail application, acknowledging that the accused had a forthcoming matter in the Court of Appeal.

Consequently, the court granted Advocate Makase bail without any financial conditions, with the stipulation that he must not tamper with state witnesses and must fully participate in the trial process until its conclusion.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Trio in court for killing ‘witches’



THREE elderly women were all stabbed to death with a spear during a deadly night after they were accused of being witches.

Three suspects, all from Ha-Kholoko village in Roma, appeared in the High Court this week facing a charge of murder.
They are Jakobo Mofolo, Oele Poto, and Pakiso Lehoko.

They accused the elderly women of bewitching one of Poto’s relative who had died.

The stunning details of the murder was unravelled in court this week, thanks to Tlhaba Bochabela, 32, who is the crown witness.

Bochabela told High Court judge, Justice ’Mabatšoeneng Hlaele, last week that he had been invited to become part of the murder group but chickened out at the last minute.

Bochabela said in March 2020, he was invited by Rethabile Poto to come to his house in the evening.

He said when he went there, he found Mofolo, Poto, and Lehoko already at the house. There were two other men who he did not identify.

“I was told that the very same night we were going to do some task, we were going to kill some people,” Bochabela told Justice Hlaele.

He said he asked which people were going to be killed and was told that they were ’Malekhooa Maeka, ’Mathlokomelo Poto, ’Mampolokeng Masasa.

They said the three women had successfully bewitched Rethabile Poto’s uncle leading to his death.

Bochabela said after he was told of this plot, he agreed to implement it but requested that he be allowed to go to his house to fetch his weapon.

He said Lehoko was however suspicious that he was withdrawing from the plot and mockingly said “let this woman go and sleep, we can see that he is afraid and is running away”.

Bochabela said the only person he told the truth to, that he was indeed going to his home to sleep instead of going to murder the three elderly women was Mofolo who also told him that he was leaving too.

He said he told Mofolo that he felt uncomfortable with the murder plan.

Bochabela said he left and when he arrived at his place he told his wife all about the meeting and the plot to kill the women.

He said his wife commended him for his decision to pull out.

“I told my wife to lock the door and not respond to anyone that would come knocking looking for me,” Bochabela said.

He said later in the night, Rethabile Poto arrived at his place and called him out but they did not respond until he left.

Bochabela said in the morning they discovered that indeed the men had carried out their mission.

The village chief of Ha-Kholoko, Chief Thabang Lehoko, told Justice Hlaele that it was between 11 pm and 12 midnight when he received a phone call from one Pakiso Maseka who is a neighbour to one of the murdered women.

Chief Lehoko said Maseka told him to rush to ’Mampolokeng Masasa’s place to see what evil had been done to her.

“I rushed to Masasa’s place and on arrival I found Pakiso in the company of Moitheri Masasa,” Chief Lehoko said.

He said he found the old lady on the bed, naked with her legs spread wide.

“I was embarrassed by the sight of the old lady in that state, naked and covered in blood,” the chief said.

He said he went out and asked Maseka what had happened but Maseka referred him to Moitheri Masasa.

Chief Lehoko said Masasa told him that there were people with spears who had threatened to kill him if he came out of the house.

He said Maseka said he knew that Masasa’s neighbour, ’Malekhooa Maeka, was a light sleeper and she could have heard something.

The chief then sent one Patrick Lehoko to Maeka’s house to check if she had heard anything but Patrick came back saying Maeka was not at her house.

“I immediately stood up and went to ’Malekhooa’s place,” Chief Lehoko said.

He said when he arrived, he knocked at her door but there was no response so he kicked the door open, went in and called out ’Malekhooa Maeka by name.

Chief Lehoko said he then lit his phone and saw her lying in bed covered in blankets.

He said he then went closer to her and shook her but she was heavy.

Chief Lehoko said he tried to shake her again one last time while still calling her out but he touched blood.

He said he immediately left and went back to tell others that Maeka seemed to be dead too.

“I decided to go and buy airtime from the nearest shop which I had passed through near ’Matlhokomelo Poto’s home.”

He said on his way he met one Sebata Poto who asked him who he was.

Chief Lehoko said he only replied by telling him that the two women, Masasa and Maeka, had been murdered.

He said Sebata Poto told him that “’Matlhokomelo has been stabbed with a spear too”.

Chief Lehoko said he rushed to ’Matlhokomelo Poto’s house where he found her seated in the middle of the house supported by her children with blood oozing from her chest, gasping for air.

“I stepped out and went to get airtime, but I found her dead when I returned from the shop,” the chief said.

The case continues.

Tholoana Lesenya

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Opposition fights back



THE opposition is launching a nasty fightback after Prime Minister Sam Matekane defanged their no-confidence motion by roping in new partners to firm up his government.

Matekane’s surprise deal with the Basotho Action Party (BAP) has trimmed the opposition’s support in parliament and thrown their motion into doubt.

But the opposition has now filed another motion that seeks to get Matekane and his MPs disqualified from parliament on account that they were elected when they had business interests with the government.

The motion is based on section 59 of the constitution which disqualifies a person from being sworn-in as an MP if they have “any such interest in any such government contract as may be so prescribed”.

Section 59 (6) describes a government contract as “any contract made with the Government of Lesotho or with a department of that Government or with an officer of that Government contracting as such”.

Prime Minister Matekane’s Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) has a history of winning road construction tenders. Other Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) MPs, most of whom were in business, had had business dealings with the government.

It is however not clear if the MPs were still doing business with the government at the time of their swearing-in.
Matekane’s MGC Park is housing the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which is a government institution established by the constitution, getting its funds from the consolidated funds.

The motion was brought by the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader Lekhetho Rakuoane who is a key figure in the opposition’s bid to topple Matekane.

The motion appears to be a long shot but should be taken in the context of a political game that has become nasty.
Advocate Rakuoane said the IEC’s tenancy at the MGC is one of their targets.

“The IEC is one of the government departments,” Rakuoane said.

“It is currently unethical that it has hired the prime minister’s building.”

“But after the motion, he will have to cut ties with the IEC or he will be kicked out of parliament.”

The Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said although the IEC is an independent body, it can still be regarded as part of the government because it gets its funding from the consolidated fund.

The Basotho Covenant Movement (BCM)’s Reverend Tšepo Lipholo, who seconded the motion, said the Matekane-led government “is dominated by tenderpreneurs who have been doing business with the government since a long time ago”.

“Now they have joined politics, they must not do business with the government,” Lipholo said.

He said some of the MPs in the ruling parties are still doing business with the government despite their promises before the election to stop doing that.

“Those who will not abide by the law should be disqualified as MPs,” Lipholo said.

“Basotho’s small businesses are collapsing day-by-day, yet people who are in power continue to take tenders for themselves.”

He applauded the Abia constituency MP Thuso Makhalanyane, who was recently expelled from Matekane’s RFP for rebellion because he withdrew his car from government engagement after he was sworn in as an MP.

“He set a good example by withdrawing his vehicle where it was hired by the government,” Lipholo said.

Rakuoane said during the past 30 years after Lesotho’s return to democratic rule, section 59 of the constitution has not been attended to even when it was clear that some MPs had business dealings with the government.

“This section stops you from entering parliament when doing business with the government. Those who are already members will have to leave,” he said.

Rakuoane said they are waiting for Speaker Tlohang Sekhamane to sign the motion so that the parliament business committee can set a date for its debate.

“The law will also serve to assist ordinary Basotho businesses as they will not compete with the executive,” he said.

“There are many Basotho businesses in business these MPs are in. They must get those tenders instead.”

The new motion comes barely a week after a court application aimed at disqualifying Mokhothu.

The government-sponsored application sought the Constitutional Court to declare Mokhothu unfit to be prime minister because he was convicted of fraud in 2007.

Mokhothu has been suggested as Matekane’s replacement should the motion of no confidence pass in parliament.

Nkheli Liphoto

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