What it's like to buy a real-life goblin on the Internet

Over at The Fence, editor-at-large Fergus Butler-Gallie chronicled his efforts to buy his girlfriend a real-life goblin as a birthday present. And it is quite the journey:

Perhaps appropriately for this task, I took to the metaverse. Zuckerberg and Clegg came up trumps and a quick Facebook search for goblin sellers yielded results. Now, I would normally suggest, from bitter experience, that most gifts – especially ones for your significant other – are not best bought on Facebook Marketplace. But then most gifts aren't goblins. The vendor page of 'business-minded and flamboyant' Sekuru Kafura was my first port of call. Not my words, the words of the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail. He claims to make a very healthy living indeed out of his traditional healing job and, crucially, his Facebook page bears the bio: 'I can help you with goblins'

I sent him a WhatsApp and the reply was almost instantaneous: perfect customer service. I told him I was interested in buying a goblin. He informed me it was a living thing and that there were certain 'rules' attached.

I don't want to spoil the entire experience, but reading this piece was so surreal that I was actually couldn't tell if it was meant to be a work of fiction or satire, or if it was indeed a true story.

So I googled Butler-Gallie's goblin guru, Sekuru Kafera — who is indeed a real person living with 12 wives, 100 children, and, yes, a goblin-selling business. (Okay so technically they're tikoloshes, which Wikipedia informs me are dwarf-like water sprites from Zulu/Xhosa mythology, though apparently "goblin" is largely accepted as an informal name.) Kafera is also a traditionalist healer, whom the Sunday Mail describes as a "habitually well-dressed teetotaller."

I have a lot of questions, but I feel like the more I ask, the more uncomfortable it's going to get for everyone. But hey, if you've got a couple thousand USD to spare on a new goblin, you know where to look.

Goblin Mode [Fergus Butler-Gallie / The Fence]

Image: Achim Raschka / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)