Lilikas waved to Abdo, who was cooking over a fire, and spoke a few words in Zulu.
Abdo nodded silently and walked quickly forward.
Sophie looked at the lion hunter and asked tentatively, “What are they looking for?
Woman’s Gold? It’s a, uh, herb?”
She was an expert in Western medicine and not a stranger to herbal medicine either.
Western medicine was not only good at chemical synthesis, but also at extracting
medicinal ingredients from plants.
The lion hunter drew out a cigar, cut its end, and said, “Yes, Woman’s Gold. It is
supposed to be called shea butter. That is good stuff.”
Sophie was worried. “Is it reliable? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not questioning your
traditional medicine. He is my fiancé, so I need to be careful.”
The lion hunter lit his cigar, puffed out a cloud of smoke and said with a smile, “I
understand! You can rest assured that it is very reliable. I have seen many such cases.
Shea butter can cure the burns in a few minutes.”
Sophie was surprised. “So quickly?”
The lion hunter nodded and said no more, but showed a confident expression.
Li Du asked, “What is this Woman’s Gold or shea butter? I don’t know much about it.”
Inwardly, he trusted Sophie’s medical experience more and did not want to try
something he had not heard of to treat skin afflictions. What if it made things worse?
All in all, Li Du was not a fierce man who was unafraid of death. With so much to lose,
such as his status and the power of the little bug, who would be not afraid of death?
However, he could not refuse the lion hunter’s kindness directly.
“Don’t worry, it’s very effective. It is actually a type of fruit with a high amount of fat. It is
rare in South Africa, and more often seen in North Africa,” said the lion hunter.
Seeing the worries of Li Du and Sophie, he explained about the plant in detail. What
would help Li Du’s skin, he said, was not the shea wood, but the fruit of the tree.
Like baobabs, these trees could grow to great heights. They could reach a height of up
to 15 meters, have trunks more than one meter in diameter, and live for about 200 to
300 years. Because of their longevity and height, they were worshipped as sacred trees
in some North African tribes.
The shea tree bore fruit with seed. The trees bloomed from December to April yearly,
and their fruits would ripen from May to September. Each fruit had a big nut-like seed in
The flesh of the fruit was edible, and the seeds were shelled and pressed for oil, which
was often used to make Schnauzer, a skin care product once favored by European
In South Africa, there were few shea woods. Zulu people had legends claiming that the
shea tree was protected by an invisible magical power which could ward off evil spirits
so that its life cycle could be as long as several hundred years.
They came across some tall shea trees on the road, but as that did not seem
unnecessary at the time, the lion hunter and his party did not pick the fruit. Now that Li
Du had a severe burn, two people would go back to pick the fruit.
The reason they didn’t pick the fruit earlier just in case was that there were very few
shea trees in South Africa, and the local tribes prohibited people from picking the nuts
unless they really needed to.
Hearing the explanation of the lion hunter, Li Du was relieved.
He had a new question. “If there are so few shea trees in South Africa, why not
transplant some? Are the climate and soil not suitable for their growth?”
The lion hunter nodded. “There is a reason for that, but it is mostly because the people
of the tribe are too stupid to cultivate the tree.” Here he looked scornful and sarcastic
Li Du understood. He felt that the lion hunters looked down upon their own people and
upon black people in general.
There was another reason why South Africa didn't have mass production of shea butter,
and that was because according to African tradition, only women, not men, were
allowed to handle shea butter.
If there were any shea trees in the tribe, women were the ones who took care of them
and extracted the shea butter.
Shea butter was known locally as Woman’s Gold, because it was the only business
exclusive to African women, and made a skin care product that was a real treasure.
The tradition has lost some of its authority in modern times, which resulted in some men
approaching the plant, such as both the men who went to pick shea fruit.
The party was resting when Abdo and his companion hurried back with some fruit. Back
at the camp, the two of them began to extract the oil by hand.
Curious, Li Du looked back and saw that the shea nuts were oval and ranged in length
from five to eight centimeters. The two black men sliced the fruit with knives and cut off
the white and yellow flesh to collect the seeds.
It looked somewhat like lychee. The seeds were very large, up to five centimeters long
and four centimeters wide.
Sophie, Brother Wolf, and the others came to help so they could speed up the process.
The first step was to peel off the outer shell of the core, which usually needed to be
dried and broken with a stone or a small hammer, and then the seeds inside were
Since there was no time to lose, Brother Wolf and big Ivan made a straight horizontal
and vertical cut and quickly sliced the fruit into four pieces, and then took out the seeds.
The next step was to crush the seeds. For this purpose, Lilikas carried a stone bowl.
The seeds of shea butter were so strong that he pounded them for a while before they
were crushed. Godzilla pushed him away and crushed them himself. He held the stone
bowl Lilikas carried in his hand, and with the other hand, he pounded it, crushing the
seeds before long.
Lilikas went to prepare for the next step. He made a fire beneath an iron pot, poured the
crushed shea butter seeds into it, and stirred quickly until the shea butter was extracted.
Because the pot itself was already red hot, when the seeds of shea butter reached a
high temperature, they produced some smoke.
The lion hunter told Li Du that the best shea butter had a smoky smell because naturally
processed shea seeds produce smoke.
The high temperature and stirring gradually dissolved the shea butter seeds. Lilikas
poured some transparent mucus into the shea butter seeds and cooked them over a
Gradually, the mucous mixture of shea butter seeds turned into a creamy paste and
divided. The upper layer was ivory white, and the second layer was beige, while the
bottom was golden.
After an hour of cooking, the shea butter was finally boiled, and Lilikas poured it out,
placed it in the shade and said with a sigh, “All right, wait for Woman’s Gold.”
Li Du squatted nearby to observe and saw that the shea butter was unlike vegetable oil.
It was semi-solid at room temperature, looked a bit like cream, had a hint of smoky
smell, and was still divided into three colors as it gradually solidified.