Penny Lebyane on hosting a sangoma show as a born-again Christian

Being a born-again Christian, Penny Lebyane says grew up in a home with healers and understands the dynamics.
Being a born-again Christian, Penny Lebyane says grew up in a home with healers and understands the dynamics.

She is the host of the new show Sangoma, Khanyisa! on Honey TV where viewers can go on a journey to spiritual healing with Mkhulu Rametsi. He ventures into the spiritual realm to find out if anything or anyone might be the cause of their sorrows.

Veteran broadcaster Penny Lebyane tells Drum that Sangoma Khanyisa! is about helping desperate people who are looking for answers. 

“Viewers have received the show with interest and curiosity,” she says.

“People are always wanting to see other people’s journeys so they can relate.”

Shot in Cape Town for eight weeks, Penny got to help people but also got time to reflect on her own life while working on the show.

"We shot two seasons. The eight weeks spent in Cape Town have been a rebirth experience for me, time to reflect, learn and work. I am excited that the content is going across the content. It’s also a reemergence of me as a broadcaster.”

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She has presented a variety of shows, all related to helping people seek answers.

“I love doing shows on lived experiences whether it's Women in Science, Motswako, Kukithi La, I love shows where people are looking for answers," she says.

"The difference with this one is we are dealing with spirituality, which is not often spoken about openly. There have been many taboos, and myths surrounding African spirituality because of how we are socialized and with Christianity. So, in the show, we demystify African spirituality. It is people dealing with real challenges and experiences and they want to understand their ancestral lineage better.”

Penny says staunch traditionalists might be offended by some of the sensitive information and secrets revealed on the show.

“There is one moment when idlozi likamkhulu liyavuka and had come to fetch another member of the family. It was real and not scripted. That is the beauty of the show, that it is so real,” she says.

“It might make some uncomfortable, as long as people get the healing they need.”

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As a born-again Christian, Penny says her personal views do not clash with the show's rituals.

“My maternal grandmother was a healer,” she says.

“She passed on in 2020 and was the most amazing woman I know. Back in the day, she was a gobela and went to Zion church. My grandfather was at Zion Christian church as a leader. From my father’s side, they went to a church yo moya. Many people from my grandmother’s family were spiritually gifted as healers, so this is nothing new for me. I grew up with the understanding of that world even before it made sense,” she says.

“I grew up and became a born-again Christian. Now I understand psychology or religion and African spirituality and how it intertwines. I am exposed to religion and culture differently and I understand how it connects.”

Before shooting, Penny needed to do some research.

“Before every show, there’s an amount of research one needs to do. But most importantly, I got clarity in my own life. I had to reflect on some spiritual attacks I had in my life and my gift,” she says.

“I learned how my ancestors have protected and guided me and why God has played a major role in my life. I learned how I needed to be born again, understanding the difference without losing my sense of Africaness and of the pressure of having to choose one over the other.”

Watch #SangomaKhanyisa Thursdays at WAT 16:30 | CAT 17:30 | EAT 18:30 on #HoneyDStv173 and #GOtvSUPA.

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