Posts and stories about Zimbabweans selling their toes
are all over the internet.
A Zimbabwean blog post
published May 29 started the rumor with an allegedly made up story about healers in South Africa paying as much as $40k for a big toe at Harare’s Ximex Mall.
Few are taking it seriously, and jokes are circulating in Zimbabwe with the hashtag #Chigunwe, translated in native language as “toes.”
Professional newspapers in Zimbabwe are not running the story, but one of the tabloids published a piece, including an interview with a trader at the mall who said the whole thing was a joke.
That story sparked more interest and people started going to the mall to check out the “rumors.”
Although the story may be hard to believe, it is known that body parts are used by so-called “healers” in Africa. But most people know that the price tag on the toes is laughable.
Social media posters in many African countries, especially Nigeria and Uganda, made the story go viral. The rumors have gained attention in South Africa as well, resulting in memes and jokes about the issue.
A tweet by a Nigerian who goes by the username @InnocentZikky, was retweeted almost 3,000 times and got more than 5,000 likes in its first day on Twitter. It includes images of feet with missing toes.
The BBC, which reported the story about the ruse, reviewed videos showing people who had sold their toes. The videos were believed to be fake or staged.