Kayan Mata: How The Providers Of Love Dominated The Aphrodisiac Industry
In their numbers, their profiles rose, alongside their Instagram accounts followed by millions of women all over the world, who flood their DMs and comment sections with testimonials, hearts filled with gratitude of how great the products worked for them, making enquiries about the next product, sometimes almost pleading.
Since the turn of the last decade, the Kayan Mata mixers of Instagram have dominated the aphrodisiac and love industry, offering consultations by the number to people mostly interested in men. Some, looking for the love of their lives, others, seeking something more than the love of their lives; a husband maybe, a provider of nice things, a sugar daddy.
But there was only so much their aphrodisiacs could do. Something more was needed, something more definite that could guarantee their clients will meet the men of their dreams. And so the industry exploded with new kinds of products to meet new and ever-expanding demands.
They came in fancy bottles and instructional materials, packaged in expensive boxes. Fleets of them, introduced to the market like a cosmetic PR team, will introduce a new foundation or lipstick.
The V-Jay Upgrade, the Curse Breaker, the Supreme Curse Breaker, Marriage and Love Kit, Money Caller, Honey Syrup; Unique products made for unique problems. From choosing the men of their dreams to making him marry them, the uses of these new products have only increased. “The Special Package” which takes anything from 7 days to prepare is customised to get these women whatever they want. Users spend anything from 350,000 to 500,000 Naira per box. The vendors post credit alerts on Instagram, to spite critics and also encourage consumers to buy as fast as possible.
Hauwa Muhammad, who owns Jaruma Empire, one of the most followed and oldest Kayan Mata vendors on Instagram and goes by the moniker Jaruma, disclosed years ago that she has consultations with at least 30 women a week for 50,000 Naira per session, which will make her rake in at least 72 million Naira a year in consultations only.
Stories about lovers of men jumping through tedious hoops to find and keep the men of their dreams have been with us for centuries. Nollywood cut its teeth by regurgitating, over and over again, stories of women (some of whom die) fighting to keep their men. And so when these women marketed their businesses as the solution to their problems, many didn’t see another way out.
Spirituality, Gimmick and Love
Yvonne works at a bank in Lagos and only stumbled on one of these Instagram vendors while in traffic, travelling back home from work some months ago. It was like the classic puppy love tale. She immediately got into the lingo, calling the woman who runs the page “mama,” as many loyalists do. But she wasn’t going to buy any products initially. Then during one of the prophecy sessions on IG Live, Yvonne said amen to one of the prayers and it worked for her. What she wanted came to her from a source she had not anticipated or even considered. She slid into the DMs the next day and called it “faith.” Then she bought some products. “I hope it works,” she said over our WhatsApp conversation. “I have faith.” She wouldn’t say what it was she bought. But she said it was “pricey.”
Her story is the story of many users who didn’t go in search of Kayan Mata but stumbled on the pages and got hooked. Testimonials of women who saw results sometimes beyond what they had expected are rampant on these pages. “Thank you, Ma. Oga gave me that 5 million,” “Oga just bought me a new house,” “The curse breaker worked,” “The honey syrup worked.” “You are the real thing.”
In Ghana, a woman said that after she used the Curse Breaker and Ecstasy 9, she got the money she wanted from her “sponsor.” Another woman who bought the Money Booster said that the “financial favour” she wanted came to her.
But Kayan Mata mixers did not rise to the top, smooth sailing, nor are they out of the woods, now that they rake in millions per month from sales and consultations, flaunting exotic cars and designer clothes on Instagram. Many have faced vicious attacks on Twitter by people who have branded them as phonies or called their products “demonic” or “evil.”
Users have also been on the receiving end of these attacks.
The Twitter influencer who goes by the name “Oloye” has tarried online, rallying against the rise of the Kayan Mata mixers, specifically Jaruma, who he has portrayed as a fraud, preying on impressionable women. In a fiery Instagram post in July last year, the actress Tonto Dikeh blasted the users saying that “there is more to life than 24/7 plotting to hook a man.”
“Jaruma built an empire on the gullibility of desperate women,” read one tweet as recent as March this year.
“Jaruma is just taking you people’s money. But it won’t stop as long as you are greedy and the only things you want are the things you don’t work for or deserve,” another one declared.
But business has only soared.
Deborah Erioluwapo Ajayi who runs Omashola’s Place Empire, an Instagram account that sells Kayan Mata and other products that she says aren’t Kayan Mata and has “NO REFUND” in caps, said that her products (which she insists are natural herbs) bring “favour” and have been “fortified” with “prayers.” Another vendor who was called for a consultation, live on the podcast “Off Air with Gbemi and Toolz” said that the host Toolz will need to wake up at night and kill a chicken for the man she likes to marry her. It was a prank call for the show. Critics were quick to call this evidence of Kayan Mata “evil”.
But not all Kayan Mata vendors are on this boat, even though they all sell products that promise to make the men they want to like them and guarantee unmerited favour. Some distance themselves from this type of messaging insisting that theirs is all herbs and fruits.
Tobi Kukoyi – who describes herself as a “beauty and sex therapist” and runs Mydsiac has called this type of messaging marketing strategies, catering to their clientele who are looking for assurance that their investment will yield bountiful fruits.
“That is what some people want to hear,” she said. “They want to hear the complicated things…Everybody is trying to sell their market. I have noticed that in my line of business, people just want to hear the one that will glue the man. If people are giving you names, they are just marketing. It is pure good intentions. Solving problems.”
This lack of a single messaging amongst the providers of love is the elephant in the room that critics have latched onto, in their conviction that they are only looking for vulnerable women to defraud on Instagram.
Akinola Tomiwa Balquees, who founded Miwa, another famous account, which is also her online moniker, an engineering graduate, has called these new products aromatherapy. She argued in an interview with the Independent that it is, in fact, good for women, saying that it improves “sleep quality, reduces stress, agitation and anxiety.”
These are only some of the lacunars that surround the Kayan Mata industry. These vendors will have their work cut out for them in the long run. Users have also called out the sellers lamenting that the products didn’t work or as they would have liked it to. Ajayi said to these women on social media that they must have not followed the instructions meticulously.
Kukoyi agrees, saying that they should be more patient with the products. “A lot of people want what they want,” she said. “What I tell people is this business is personal. We get so busy because we are responding to many people and we lose that one-on-one touch which shouldn’t be. People want to be listened to. So I take my time telling them to be consistent and be patient. It’s going to come eventually.”
After clips from the billionaire Obi Cubana’s mother’s burial of celebrities spraying him money went viral on the internet recently, the Jaruma Empire account DMs exploded. She was inundated with enquiries on how to nail the billionaire himself. Jaruma said it was not possible citing his “spiritual protection.” Obi Cubana reacted that he was owned by “heaven.” Critics said that it was evidence that she was once again phoney.
Critics have always called out the women behind these accounts for their inability to be in relationships with famously wealthy men, while they purport themselves as providers of love.
Oloye tweeted sarcastically a few months ago, saying, “Why is Jaruma not married to Elon Musk?” alluding to the South African tech billionaire who Jaruma has referred to as her brother in the past. Another influencer responded to the tweet; “She sees him like a brother,” to which he replied with a laughing emoji. On that day, he had won.