In Papua New Guinea, Banana Sex Cult prompts police action
Cargo cults spring up when indigenous cultures intersect with a more technologically advanced people: colonists + the indigenous, conquerors + the subjugated, armies + unfortunate locals. Even mundane items introduced by the strangers are sometimes seen as mysterious and even divine; when the visitors hit the road, a queer spiritualism grows up around the artifacts left behind.
Cargo cults have been documented since the 1800s, but the most famous examples popped up during and after WWII, when the Japanese — and then the Allied forces — dropped tons of equipment on previously unexplored but inhabited South Pacific islands. When the military forces moved on, local spiritual leaders prayed for more cargo to arrive. Hence: cargo cult.
A local religious figure in a tiny community in Papua New Guinea has put a new spin on the classic cargo cult. Rather than pray for durable goods, this one religious leader is promising bananas — in exchange for getting dirty in the village square.
According to village official Titus Namusa, the unnamed leader promised his followers “their banana fruit would multiply 10-fold every time they had sex in public.” But don’t mistake the so-called Banana Cult for a bunch of potassium-loving hippies. Mr. Namusa says villagers are forced to participate, and he claims to have been held captive for four months.
Yes, it’s a weird story. But don’t jump to conclusions quite yet. Here’s more from Papua New Guinea’s Post Courier:
A sex cult – where members are promised a bumper banana crop if they engage in public sex – has surfaced in the Tekadu area of Wau in the Morobe Province. The Banana Cult is headed by a man from Yamine village.
The man and his followers have been engaged in illicit public sex for the past four months and have forced other villagers under threat of violence to participate.
The cult activities were brought to light by Yamine village court chairman Titus Namusa who escaped captivity one night and walked 12 hours to Wau to report the matter…
“The chairman was threatened by the cult leader that he would be murdered if he reported the alleged illegal activity to the authorities in Wau and was told to keep shut and be quiet about it.” Yamine is a tiny hamlet of not more than 30 people in Ward 20 of Wau Local Level Government.According to Mr Namusa, the villagers resorted to cult activities, claiming the government had forgotten them…
“The people are armed and we will move in there and talk to them and will also apprehend the cult leader and bring him back to Wau to be formally arrested and charged for the alleged illegal activities,” Insp Busil added Mr Namusa confirmed the cult movement and said young men and women including married couples were walking around naked and having sex in public places without being ashamed of themselves.
“The leader told the people that they have not seen any government services and have resorted to other means of seeing services trickling down to their door steps and ordered about 10 people to get involved in the alleged activity,” Mr Namusa said.
It’s tempting to chortle and chuckle at dem crazy savages. And no doubt, this story is about to ignite the Fark message boards. But there’s more to the tale. Yamine is already a controversial region at the center of the Wafi Gold Project, a high-stakes mining operation that’s majority owned by Rio Tinto Exploration but managed by Provincial Gold Fields, which is held by Australian Gold Fields.
With several mines already operating and more being prepped, a number of local clans are seeking injunctions to halt further progress on the project, which utilizes 50,000 hectares of various clans’ lands. One such clan, the Babuaf, want $2 million in compensation. That’s not so outlandish when you consider that one gold mine in the area returned a “cash operating surplus” of $3.2 million during a single quarter of 2003.
My point is — there’s a lot of money exchanging hands in the region. Who knows what tactics will be employed to clear the lands of pesky clansmen. According to the Post Courier,”police will begin a special operation at first light today to reach Yamine.”
If branding a clan as a depraved banana sex cult means the government will intercede with force, then so be it. Who’s watching, anyway?
Sex cult vows banana bonus | Post Courier.
Wafi gold project in PNG shut down by disgruntled landowners | Radio New Zealand International.
PNG Landowners Seek To Stop Morobe Mine | Indigenous Portal.