Perhaps that's the answer, I suggest, half-joking. Get a shetani of your own and tell it to bring you money, girls, presents. Hisdori fixes me with a horrified stare. Such things are best done only by very experienced waganga (sorcerers). Messing around with shetani will only get you into trouble - big trouble. The best thing is to keep out of their way and try to make sure they keep out of yours - for example by hanging a piece of paper, inscribed with special Arabic verses, from the ceiling of the house. Almost every home or shop in Zanzibar has its own brown, mottled scrap, attached to a roof beam by a piece of cotton, waving in the breeze.
In order to obtain or rid oneself of a shetani's influence, it is necessary to visit a mganga and pay handsomely for his services. To be a mganga is a trade that generally runs in families, with secrets and charms passed on from father to son or mother to daughter. Waganga meet periodically in large numbers to discuss trade and initiate new recruits. A committee of elderly, experienced practitioners will vet a younger, untested mganga before declaring him or her fit to practice. This is a sensible precaution because, as Hisdori points out, 'If you get something wrong with shetani, people can die...'
Each mganga is in contact with ten or so shetani, who can be instructed to drive out other shetani from someone who is possessed, or work their power in favour of the customer. Waganga are also herbalists, preparing healing medicines where spirit possession is not indicated, or combining both physical and occult treatment in severe cases.
After much persuasion, Dori agrees to take me to visit his local mganga. To find him, we must cross over the dividing line of the old creek which once separated the affluent quarter of Zanzibar town - known as the Stone Town - from the working class area, known as Ng'ambo - literally 'the other side'. In years past this was the part of town inhabited by the African community, while their Arab overlords, along with Europeans and Indians, inhabited the fine dwellings of the harbourfront.
We leave Arab mansions and Indian palaces behind us and are soon forced to pick our way across the rubble of half-built houses, knots of children playing and piles of refuse. A sharp turn takes us into a pitch-black corridor, filled with smoke. A charcoal fire illuminates a woman's face, wrapped in a veil. Dori speaks briefly to her in Swahili and we continue into a small room, eerily lit by smoking oil burners. I can just make out bunches of herbs and other nameless, shapeless bundles hanging from the breeze-block walls.
A dark shape rises from the floor to greet us. Mzee Kongo, the mganga we've come to see, looks suitably impressive. Snow-white hair crowns his head above an impressive pot belly, his eyes are narrow slits, and when he speaks his voice is alarmingly loud and hoarse. He is effusive in his welcome, however, and explains that he's well used to foreigners coming to see him, Last year, he says, he spent time with visitors from China, letting them see him at work and explaining the ingredients of his herbal medicines. He indicates a framed certificate on the wall, dated 1999 - his official licence from the government to practice as a mganga.