As we came away from Monina's village, a witch-doctor, who had been sent for, arrived, and all Monina's wives went forth into the fields that morning fasting. There they would be compelled to drink an infusion of a plant named "goho", which is used as an ordeal. This ceremony is called "muavi", and is performed in this way.
The slightest imputation makes them eagerly desire the test; they are conscious of being innocent, and have the fullest faith in the muavi detecting the guilty alone; hence they go willingly, and even eagerly, to drink it.
She denied it; but the medicine-man answered, "The spirit has declared her guilty; the spirit never lies." The woman, however, was acquitted, after a proxy trial by ordeal: a cock, used as her proxy, threw up the muavi, or ordeal-poison. Here the points to be noted are, first, the violent movement of the sticks, which the men could hardly hold; next, the physical agitation of the men.
Sometimes they send kings, sometimes great men, sometimes doctors, sometimes women what have twin babies. Also the Asiki bring people what is witches, or have drunk poison stuff which blacks call muavi and have not been sick, or perhaps son they love best to take curse off their roof. All these come to Yellow God. Then Asiki doctor, they have Death-palaver.
The women seem ill-regulated here Kavimba's brother had words with his spouse, and at the end of every burst of vociferation on both sides called out, "Bring the Muavi! bring the Muavi!" or ordeal. Christmas-day, 1866. No one being willing to guide us to Moerwa's, I hinted to Kavimba that should we see a rhinoceros I would kill it.
No Arab has ever tried to convert them, but occasionally a slave taken to the coast has been circumcised in order to be clean; some of them pray, and say they know not the ordeal or muavi. The Nassick boys failed me when I tried to communicate some knowledge through them.