Imagine consulting a sangoma in the comfort of your own home, via Skype, a WhatsApp video call, FaceTime, or even Instagram DM? Better yet, imagine visiting her in her indumba that is not only filled with the smell of impepho (incense) but also imithi (medicine) packaged in jars and bottles. You watch her murmur to the ancestors while she wraps her acrylic-nail manicured hands around the bones she uses as a means of communication and shakes them before throwing them to the ground. Her nails aren’t the only thing that fixates your eyes on her, but also her expensive weave resting on her shoulders and lips glistening with gloss. You were assured by your friends that she’s the real deal though, and the beaded chains around her neck, as well as the red and white beads wrapping her arms, put you at ease.
While some people might raise their eyebrows in surprise at the thought of consulting a traditional healer wearing killer lashes and glistening make- up, many are warming up to what is called a glam dlozi — a modern-day traditional healer who is as glamorous as she’s spiritually inclined.
There are a number of millennial sangomas who are changing the face or even our perception of this vocation that has been around for as long as our African history has existed.