More times than not I get told how exciting it must be to be Sangoma (African Shaman). Now don’t get me wrong, I am honoured and blessed to be doing this work and I get to meet and work with the most beautiful souls, but there is some very real danger that comes along with this Sangoma Journey.
In 2015 I started awakening to the calling of becoming a Sangoma. This isn’t a course or training as such, instead it’s something you are born into and then one day awakens within you. The call is very strong and can’t be ignored, it demands your attention and if ignored you will become very sick. As I can be so very stubborn, I did learn this the hard way. Becoming a Sangoma meant going back home (Cape Town, South Africa) for the first time in 10 years, to find a Sangoma for initiations and ceremonies with my Ancestors.
The Truth in being vulnerable
Going home I was very nervous about what I was going to tell friends and family. I was such a different person now with much expanded passions and interests. But at the end of the day it comes back to being Authentic and comfortable with who I am. I never expected understanding or even acceptance, all I could hope for was respect in my lifestyle.
Please remember I grew up in a culture where very little was known about Townships or Sangomas and all were considered to be evil Witch Doctors, reaping death and harm amongst the community. And yes, there are evil Sangomas and Witch Doctors, but there is also evil in may aspects of society, like government, churches, communities, etc. One thing is for sure, you’d never go into a Township unless you were from there. It is an entire different type of dangerous.
Once I met my Sangoma I was quickly told my ceremonies would be held in Nyanga Township, right next to Cross Roads, one of the most dangerous ones and was petrified in discovering I would need to stay over.
You are going to die
Yes, I had family and friends convinced and telling me I was going to die. Their concern was genuine and very much warranted. I knew I wasn’t safe, but not becoming a Sangoma would mean I’d remain sick and that was no life for me. It meant having complete faith in my Ancestors and going into a Township with people I never knew and knowing I would absolutely come out alive.
One of my family members asked many questions to spiritual friends, and was informed that I would likely be safer in the township than walking in the main roads in town. And she is right, as when I wear my beads, most of the time, I am much respected. They know I work with the Ancestors, if they are on the light side they re-joyce in the work I do and I am often stopped to receive hugs. If they are on the dark side, well they fear the Sangoma and the connection they have with the Ancestors as they absolutely believe in the strength of the Ancestors.
I continue to go into the Townships to do my work, but am never “cocky” about it. I’m very aware of where I am at all times. I’m also aware that leading up to my ceremonies bring on SPIRITUAL ATTACKS. They are always visible in my dreams and most the times I am able to see who is doing it (which helps with giving my Sangoma the heads ups). If not protected properly I can be left feeling tired and ill. Then there is the PHYSICAL danger where people actually come into the Townships during ceremony looking for me. Just before my Head Sangoma ceremony I received a warning in a dream of 3 people after me. I was able to inform my Tribe and these people were found looking for me on the night of ceremony. You see, not everybody is happy with a White Sangoma in a Township doing the traditional work.
The Bridge into the Townships to become a Sangoma
Since becoming a Head Sangoma last year I was initiated into the Zulu Tribe with the responsibility of being the bridge between the White and Black Sangomas. This is to help show people that need to become Sangomas that they can come into the Townships and survive and do their calling. It’s a big responsibility and I’ve not had to do it yet, but I know the time will come when I lead many a future Sangoma safely into the Township to leave as a Sangoma. I have had the honour and pleasure to take my partner, William, safely in to meet my Tribe and to partake in a joint ceremony where we accidently got married.
I do continue to go into Township, I have faith in my Ancestors and I know the importance of the work I do. And with that I’m still ALIVE.
That time they said I was going to Die – Sangoma