Back in June, we invited South African rave-rap crew Die Antwoord to play their first show in New York City. They are one of our favorite bands and their performance that day was one of the most hectic, intense and amazing shows we had seen in a long time. While we were hanging out with them here, Ninja and Yo-Landi kept talking about a little monster called Tokoloshe, the most feared of all African demons. Ninja told us about how when he was growing up, his nanny would use a stack of bricks to raise her bed up, just to keep the Tokoloshe away at night. It turns out this is a fairly common practice among women in South Africa since this hairy, pot-bellied dwarf, unlike your typical Western boogiemonsters, is believed to have a penis the size of a horse’s and a penchant for sneaking into people’s bedrooms and raping them.
The story goes that once you’ve slept with a Tokoloshe, you’ll never be satisfied by a man ever again—it typically leads to divorce and basically ruins your life. This phenomenon is so commonplace that the South African Daily Sun regularly features cover stories about Tokoloshes raping women, men or stealing groceries, and even publishes theories about remote-controlled Tokoloshes used to steal peoples’ money.
Ninja and Yo Landi invited VBS.TV to South Africa to try and find this demon even though no one has ever filmed this thing. We talked to crime reporters at the The Daily Sun, people on the streets of Johannesburg, and even sangomas (witch doctors) about the Tokoloshe’s origins and what you can do to keep him at bay.