New generation of sangomas emerge

2015-09-17 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Nokulinda Mkhize consults on Skype, Twitter and other social networks

PHOTO: SUPPLIED Nokulinda Mkhize consults on Skype, Twitter and other social networks

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WHILE cultural experts argue that culture is not static and changes according to the times, NOKULUNGA NGOBESE asks how ancient spiritual practises, such as traditional healing, are transforming in the digital era.

Gone are the days when people used to walk or drive long distances to consult with sangomas. Nowadays they can consult at the tip of their fingers with a new breed of techno-savvy sangomas who are available on social networks.

Sangoma Nokulinda Mkhize, who runs her practice through her personal website, iThonga.co.za and is very active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, said people are beginning to reclaim their heritage, so young people with the calling are not ashamed of it and are practising openly and proudly.

Mkhize (30), now a fully fledged sangoma and umthandazi (prophet), first knew about her calling in her late teens, and eventually heeded the call when she was 22. She uses bones to divine for people who need guidance, clarity and healing in their lives.

She also runs workshops for organisations and people who wish to deepen their understanding of indigenous spiritual and cultural beliefs, as well as the work of izangoma.

When asked how she uses technology in her daily routine, she said: “I, like everyone else in 2015, use the technology at my disposal to make my life and work easier. Using technology to facilitate my practice seems a logical step because technology is a huge part of my life and the world in this age.

“It allows me freedom and flexibility to express my gifts in ways that are less restricted, and has made me more accessible to people who need assistance.

She continued to comment on the prejudice and stereotypes surrounding her vocation and beliefs saying:

“People still think of ubungoma as barbaric. We still have to defend our practice and beliefs.

“This shows the extent of the damage of racism and colonialism and we still have a long way to go.”

While there is an emergence of new sangomas, traditional sangomas like Makhosi Bongi Sithole said she is still an old sangoma who uses abalozi to consult with her ancestors.

“While there is a new breed of sangomas, as traditional sangomas we must not criticise our young ones for adopting modern technologies to heal. Traditional healing is a gift, and we each have different gifts.”

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