Modernizing cultural Spirituality

It is becoming harder for South Africans to forget about what I will call ‘cultural spirituality’, with our favourite celebrities disappearing from the scene only to come back cloaked in sangoma attire. We watch them attentively wondering if they will return to the red carpet, adorning skin-tight gowns and ‘serving’ us thigh. We wait with bated breath ready to tweet our disapproval for a life we have no understanding about.

What we may not realize is that Africans are innately spiritual beings, that we all practised traditional healing before colonialism took full effect. The other misconception is that practising means sangoma and sangoma means sitting in a hut all day making concoctions and throwing bones. Part of this is true, but cultural spirituality or traditional healing is vast and has many different facets.

Gogo Dineo Ndlazi, a registered traditional practitioner, explains in one of her YouTube videos that, “When it comes to traditional healers there are different variations and different understandings, although sometimes we describe ourselves as one – some say we are healers because we heal.”

She further explains that even within sangomas there are different gifts. Some are born for music and dance, while “inyanga”, on the other hand, is one who is called for medicine. There are also people called prophets which Gogo Dineo believes have been there way before religion, although people now associate it with Christianity. Africans have always prayed and have always used different ways to heal. Prophets will most likely use water, “isiwasho”, and prayer in order to heal.

What I’m trying to get at here is that life evolves. No matter how much we try to maintain the same principles, colonialism or not, “the only thing constant is change.” It’s even harder for Africans to assimilate these changes in everyday life because we cannot go to school to learn how to be black. Most of what we know about ourselves is passed on orally.

Our education is the conversations we have over the coal stove in the kitchen, and your grandmother will never suggest you tweet what you know because that is not the world she grew up in. She won’t support your short skirts and crop tops because she never once dressed like that her whole life. In fact, I’ve never seen my own grandmother without a doek (head-wrap) except in the privacy of her own room before she goes to bed.

We are not them. We have dreams and aspirations because the world has finally opened itself up to us. We want to feel deeply, as long as that does not exclude our ambitions and shun away our potential. After all, no one was born to suffer although suffering cannot be avoided.

Boity is a rapper sangoma? Why not? Having a gift is not a punishment, if it was, no one would enjoy birthdays.

So, here we are in 2019 and I would kindly like to ask you, please don’t judge.