'I'm working to revive conversational, story telling aspect of fellowship and learning' - Nokulinda Mkhize

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

We chat with her about her upcoming event, GogoSpeaks: Love & Legacy, where she'll be teaming up with her husband Tim Horwood to share practical guidance from isintu for nurturing a thriving union. The Homiematrimony duo will also reflect their triumphs and challenges in balancing culture, spirituality, romance and friendship.

How long have you been practicing as a Sangoma?

I was initiated in March 2008 so I am celebrating my 10th year as isangoma.

When did you start integrating technology into your practice?

I have always used technology as a part of my practice because technology is a part of my life, from simple things like communicating with my clients on email and on the phone, to using my social media to share and about ubungoma and isintu

In a way were you using social media to educate and shatter preconceived ideas regarding izangoma, was that intentional?

I didn’t have an explicit plan to educate or bust myths. I was sharing quite organically about myself, my practice and my experiences and over a short time, I was able to establish a following and interest in the work I do, and my calling. I then used that opportunity to explore topics and address the questions people had about izangoma, and isintu – I was just myself, and people responded very positively to my tweets and began coming to me for consultations as well. I began offering Skype and phone consultations in order to accommodate my clients all over the country and world.

What other tech do you use in your practice?

I’m not a techie. I just use my phone and laptop. Apart from my social media, and parenting blog, I have a website and an online booking platform that people use to make appointments,

You operate from your Joburg base but also have clients all over...what made you start doing talks and why call them Gogo Speaks?

I started doing talks in 2013, from my home, and then bookshops for small groups of people in order to address the gap in knowledge and recurring questions that my audience had about our cultural practices and beliefs, in their own lives. As the interest for my talks grew, I saw an opportunity to go deeper with my topics to explore complex issues affecting young black south africans, where cultural beliefs intersect with the frictions of our post-colonial identities and experiences.

The talk is called GogoSpeaks because I am working to revive that conversational, story telling aspect of fellowship and learning that many of our generation have not been able to access from their elders. There is a lot that I speak about, that people should have ideally first heard from home, but didn’t. And now, as uGogo, I am hoping to bridge that gap so that our generation will be able to gain knowledge and depth of personal practice to be able to share with those who will come after us.

This year you'll be exploring love and legacy. Why this topic?

I am very interested in exploring the ways in which we can integrate cultural and spiritual practice into our daily lives so as to enrich our experience and heal the traumas and blocks ourselves, families and communities have experienced for generations.

What will you cover and why should people come?

In my decade of practice, I have seen evidence of an emotional displacement that young people suffer from as a result of capitalism and urban life. People are grappling with establishing values for their lives, social and romantic relationships and families, and they struggle to find grounding and stability in those realms. Our cultures are rich in guiding principles that can help people to build resilience and deepen ubuntu as they establish independent adult lives. I wanted to share what I have observed in my practice, and what we practice in our marriage and family as we continue to grow.

Your husband will be on stage with you... Why?

It’s very common for couples for speak about their journey in marriage once they have reached 20 or more years, and we are still in the foundation phase of our marriage, having been married for 5 years, and we felt it was important to speak together on our love, friendship, spirituality and culture. I will be sharing the stage with my husband because my parenthood and relationship experiences and growth are tied to his; and our relationship has given me room to deepen and grow my sangoma practice.

There will also be a short panel discussion with Dr Nokwe Mtshali and Dr Nomalanga Mkhize on a range of topics from single parenthood, postpartum depression, personal politics, and community complexities in urban, black parenthood experiences. We will have a participatory QnA session with our audience.

On the 24th of March at Joburg Theatre there will also be a short panel discussion and QnA where Nokulinda will be in conversation with Dr Nokwe Mtshali and Dr Nomalanga Mkhize on a range of topics from single parenthood, postpartum depression, personal politics, and community complexities in urban, black parenthood experiences.

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