Mami Wata’s Coochie

Photo credit: Siphumeze Khundayi

She had let her head sit under a tub of water, whole body immersed, for more than a few seconds. The pleasure that it brought was a feeling of nothingness. Floating in a void that was liberating. In the mix of salt and water, the immersion of her whole body rendered the world…unalive. The seconds lived elongated moments. A non-adrenaline peacefulness with the silence of the world all around. 

She could still hear the echoes. Vibrations! The atoms and molecules of her tangible world, even when completely immersed in a remake of the marine world, found a way to remind her of what was around her. The oversized trucks that zoomed past the highway right in front of her apartment, the old fridge’s exhausted hums, the sonic waves from her portable Bluetooth speaker. Immersed in this tub, she mouthed through the bubbly water’s surface, “does Mami Wata have a coochie?” Gasping for air on the end of coo-chie.

Questions of Mami Wata’s coochie might have been triggered by the Nigerian and Ghanaian films she watched as a child. They still made films with those storylines today, but she did not engage them as much. Well, not unless the cinematography was ‘FUCK YES’ level brilliant. The films showed Mami as a, was it a demon or spirit, who could take the form of a human. Always a drop-dead gorgeous woman. One with charms meant to lure and destroy unsuspecting, mostly, men.  Mami in Nigerian and Ghanaian cinema was almost always thin and fair skinned. She wished she did not know why this was the choice but unfortunately, she had accumulated enough sense to identify colonization, colorism, and western standards of beauty as the damned trinity of representation in cinema.

Mami never worked alone. NEVER. She was always the head of a coven and when the coven convened, there was an…ugliness…a goriness to their conventions meant to depict the ugliness of the marine reality. Their human manifested beauty was a mask. A charade. One way their ugliness showed up behind their masks of beauty was through the destruction they ultimately caused. Destruction is ugly. Chaos is ugly. They could not directly ugly their spirit world so they took on beauty to ugly the human world. In human form, they pulled an Ariel (you know that lil mid-teen crisis character from The Little Mermaid). 

Pulling an Ariel meant having the capacity to grow legs and attract unsuspecting men (usually ones with some kind of power). In African cinema, these were usually those tagged as ‘men of God’. Mami Wata lured their unsuspecting victims with their voices and bodies. Mami’s deed was complete as soon as you entered her coochie. She wantonly became your remote control and you her transfixed mumu. African cinema gives us a few symptoms to look for to help identify men who are being controlled by Mami. They include but are not limited to; singletons never getting married and married lads destroying their unions; things around victims becoming unexplainably chaotic and possible death usually succeeded prolonged chaos and anguish. For the climax, African cinema culminated Mami’s conquest with thespian laughter that reeked of hell! “So… Mami does have a coochie?…huh!”

African cinema gave enough context to show the radical transformation once Mami entered one’s life. Balanced or great to chaos. In real life though, was the line ever that straight? What if Mami was a spirit, indeed a god(dess) who DID have a coochie meant for other god(desses) to eat and pleasure the hell out of. What if Mami’s coochie was not prioritized as a canal for tangible creation. What if their coochie was never accused of destroying men because men already have an amazing way of destroying themselves. What if Mami’s coochie was the perfect jelly-soft, perfect temperature banquet ready to generously bless the tongues of queers and coochie monsters like …. YES YOU reading this! (You know you like coochie, pussy, vagina, vulva, yoni_however you call it!) The source of an elixir of consensual pleasure. What if Mami’s humanesque transformation was primarily to present women with one of their best sexual and pleasure-filled experiences. 

Humans are creatures of meaning. Where they (yes ‘they’ because I am not one of you) cannot find meaning, they create one. Oftentimes creating meaningless meanings to make bearable, the world ‘they’ have generationally made unbearable. African cinema mirrors life by berating what and who it does not understand. Through its berating of Mami, it places an invisible warning sign on the foreheads of beautiful women who marched to the beat of their own drum. So she smokes and drinks and would rather sleep than go to church. So what she wants is proper pleasure, she’ll buy toys to self-pleasure and will engage partners from a place of power. So what? She defies constructs of respectability with how she accessorizes and adorns her face and skin. As these thoughts danced through her mind, she pulled her torso from the tub and leaned her dripping upper body over its edge to grab her vape pen. Holding the buttons for one…two…three seconds, she heard the metallic pen sizzle. She took a long draw of the vapor, dropped the vape on the foot rug next to her tub and re-immersed her whole upper body, head included into the water. Once immersed she opened her eyes underwater to see the ceiling, blurred from the salt and her dead skin cell. She blew the vapor she had held in her chest from the vape pen, quietly waiting for its high. The bubbles escaped the surface of the water muttering “I am Mami Wata!” She smiled. She is a Mami. She has a coochie. The world would have to deal with it. 

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