“I have strong stuff for you today boss,” Panashe Matikiti*, a street hawker shouts as he dashes towards a black SUV before it screeches to a halt.
A middle-aged man gently lowers his front tinted window and hands over a few notes in exchange for a packet of tablets.
Matikiti, safely tucks the notes in his inner jacket pocket as he smiles back to where his fellow hawkers are standing in a dimly lit corner.
Clutching phone chargers, windscreen wipers and recharge cards, hawkers by this street corner in Harare’s avenues area, disguise their real business-sex pills trade.
By 7pm, their shift begins.
Matikiti is known by his street name the General. His customers are top chefs,driving top of the range vehicles-most of them married men.
“We have top chefs coming here every day, they always come back because we sell good stuff. These older men are very naughty, so they always need something to keep them going. We see a lot here. Some have wives and girlfriends, so they need our pills to be able to satisfy their women,” Matikiti said.
He also supplies others looking for adventures of a sexual nature.
Matikiti firmly holds a packet of Black Cobra, male-shaped organ like pills as he convinces a customer to buy.
“This one is called Black Cobra; it goes for $10. For this I need $3 for one, it will be in the system for a good three days. If you want, I can cut one for you just for a dollar,” Matikiti tells The Link as he nervously looks over his shoulder for police who normally patrol this street.
He says the pills enhances sex drive, while improving one’s ability to prolong ejaculation.
Black Cobra, Sildenafil Tablets, a type of viagra and Congo Dust have become a hit on the streets of Harare.
Sildenafil can improve sexual stimulation by increasing blood flow to the male organ for better erection.
While Congo dust is relatively new on the market, it has proven popular among men who suffer erectile dysfunction, Matikiti says.
“This is some good stuff. There is also Congo dust that you smear on your penis. This delays ejaculation,” Matikiti said.
Harare’s avenues infamous for sex trade has become a thriving market for sex enhancement pills.
With pills ranging between $3 to $12, branded in lewd names like blue Diamond, Silver Bullet, Vuka-Vuka, Desire, Wild Horse, Super Powerful Man, Super Lion and Double Man, the have become popular among motorists in the avenues.
Taking advantage of the country’s porous borders, hawkers like Matikiti have a constant supply of sex pills from countries like India, Tanzania, and Zambia among others.
Hawkers, maintain that the pills were safe for use.
“These pills come from India and Tanzania. I have drunk eight of these at a time, but nothing happened to me. No one will die because of this. It gives you the power to go all the way with your partner. It opens all the veins in the penis and increases your sexual appetite,” Matikiti said.
Mildred Mukwanhi*, 44 sits beside her makeshift vending stall in Glen Norah in the blazing sun as she winds down a tedious afternoon.
She displays toiletries and other personal hygiene products, but inside a brown bag are products she does not want her mates to see.
Mukwanhi sells sex enhancement pills.
She pulls out a translucent packet with blue pills.
“For $1, one can buy four pills. They can last for seven hours in the system, she says.
“I mainly sell to men who contract ladies of the night. After my day’s work, I sit outside the bar. Most of my customers are there,” Mukwanhi said.
Mukwanhi who could not reveal her source, said the pills had flooded the market adding that authorities may fail to police the upsurge in supply.
A walk in Harare central business district, one cannot fail to notice empty boxes of sex enhancement pills strewn on the street after a police raid.
Most vendors selling shoes, home products among other household goods, always have sex pills by the side.
Also thriving in central Harare is the libido booster’s market.
Known locally as Guchu in the Shona dialect, the traditional concoction is believed to be a system cleanser. It is believed to possess the ability to boost one’s sex drive while also acting as an antioxidant.
Herbal concoctions have become a hit among men who want to perform better in bed.
“I take this as a body cleanser. When my body is cleansed, it will become easier to pump blood to my privates. We all eat some toxic things, and it affects sex drive especially in older men,” Sekuru Muturikwa, a herbalist in Mufakose, a township 15km east of central Harare said.
Muturikwa, whose concoctions have become popular among middle aged men seeking to relieve their youthful days.
Guchu also comes handy for those with who suffer from acids.
“Instead of taking other anti-acids medicines it is easier to take guchu which is available in town. A cup goes for ZWL$100 which is far cheaper,” Drake Mupindu said.
Despite a ban on the sale of sex drugs in the country’s pharmacies by the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) in 2013, sex pills continue to flood the streets.
The authority maintains that illegal sex drugs are unsafe for users.
“Men want these things so there is a market that developed to satisfy that market. We discourage the use of these substances because not only do we not have evidence that they are unsafe, but we have previously established that some of these substances are spiked with substances that might be harmful to the users,” MCAZ director Richard Rukwata said.
Sex drugs such as Sildenafil can cause dizziness, headache, flushing, or stomach upset. Other side effects include blurred vision.
*Names have been changed