Thokoza Sangomas. Transmission and Embodiment of History in the Thokoza Sangoma Tradition.

Earthmedicine - Africa Mystic

Thokoza! Today I would like to share again an article I found about the lineage I was initiated into. It is not my own. You can see the full article here.

http://www.archivalplatform.org/blog/entry/transmission_and_embodiment/

Introduction

The thokoza sangoma tradition has its origins among the Swazi- and Shangaan-speaking peoples of southern Africa. The thokoza tradition differs from other sangoma traditions in South Africa in that its adherents are possessed by non-lineage or “foreign” spirits, in addition to family ancestors. These spirits are referred to as Nguni and Ndau.

According to my informants, the Nguni (Ndwandwe people [Harries 1994 and Wright 2010]) spirits are the spirits of dead Nguni warriors who invaded Mozambique under Soshangane in the 19th century, as well as the spirits of Swazi and Zulu warriors who died in similar conflicts. On the other hand, the Ndau are a people living in western Mozambique near the border of Zimbabwe, many…

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Photos & Video: Umkhehlo

Umkhehlo (Zulu engagement ceremony) is a rite of passage ceremony for a Zulu woman about to get married. Family, friends, neighbors, her in-laws come and rejoice and pin money on her hat, scarf, umbrella. This money is given so as to help her prepare for the wedding and buy gifts (umabo) for her in-laws.

Umkhehlo is slightly different from Umemulo (Coming of age ceremony). Umemulo is done by a girl’s father to thank her for showing good behavior  and to mark her transition from just being a little girl to a woman – in Western terms this the 21st birthday celebration. Both rituals involve slaughtering a cow and dancing.

This event here took place in April 2019, deep in the heart of Zululand in an area called Encanyini, Melmoth.

Video: Izibongo zeSilo uShaka kaSenzangakhona {King Shaka’s praise poem}

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=5AXOpIsTGhU

UDlungwana KaNdaba!

UDlungwana woMbelebele,

Odlung’ emanxulumeni, Kwaze kwas’ amanxulum esibikelana.

UNodumehlezi kaMenzi,

UShaka akashayeki kanjengamanzi,

Ilemb’ eleq’ aamnye amalembe ngokukhalipha;

UShaka ngiyesaba ukuthi nguShaka, UShaka kuyinkosi yasemaShobeni.

UNomakhwelo ingonyama; UMahlome’ hlathini onjengohlanya;

Uhlany’ olusemehlwen’ amadonda.

UDabaz’ ithafa ebeliya kuMfene;

UGaqa libomvu nasekuphatheni.

UBholokoqa bazalukanisile Zalikaniswe uNoju noNgqengenye;

EyakwaNtombazi neyakwaNandi;

Yayikhiph’ eshaba libomvu,

Ikhishwa elimhlophe lakwaNandi.

Bambiz’ eMthandeni beyisela, Bathi ‘Singesinelane neNtungwa lasenhla’, Kanti uzawudl’ uPhakathwayo empindelweni.

UDlungwana wavuma na?

Umvumeleni uGodolozi, Ethi ngowanganeno kwaNandi, Kant’ ukude kwaNtombazana ?

Kalokhu liphahl’ eliseMthandeni.

Amazwi mabili engiwabongayo, Ngibong’ elikaMpandaba nelikaNdungenkomo,

Bethi ‘Ucu aluhlangan’ entabeni’; Akenibuze kwabaseZinkondeni,

Bath uHilwayo bayakumhlaba kwaHlokohloko,

Kwaf’ amasi kwaf’ uqephe.

UTeku lwabafazi bakwaMgabhi, Betekula behlez’ emlovini,

Beth’ uShaka kakubusa kakuba nkosi, Kanti unyakan’ uShaka ezakunethezeka.

Inkom’ ekhal’ eMthonjaneni, Izizwe zonke ziyizwil’ ukulila,

Iziwe uDunjwa waseluYengweni, Yezwiwa uMangcengeza wakwaKhali.

UMlilo wothathe kaMjokwane; UMlilo wothathe ubuhanguhangu, Oshis’ izikhova eziseDlebe, Kwaya kwasha neziseMabendlana…

 

 

 

 

How does virginity testing, the annual Royal Reed Dance benefit our girls…why do we continue to raise our boys differently?

How does virginity testing, the annual Royal Reed Dance benefit our girls…why do we raise our boys differently? 

By Soka Mthembu

Other than the King Shaka memorial and the Isandlwana battle re-enactment, there are two cultural events that I always look forward to each year; one being the Royal Zulu Reed Dance, a centuries-old event taking place at King Goodwill Zwelithini Enyokeni Royal Palace in September, early spring. It’s a spectacle of an event in which thousands of virgin girls come out together wearing only colourful beads, and in some cases short skirts, known as izidiya. They sing and dance to celebrate, each girl carrying a cut reed which is presented to His Majesty, King Goodwill.

My favourite event, however, is the brain child of Dr Nomcebo Mthembu. This is known as the Indoni Carnival, and takes place in Durban around October of every year. The main aim of the Indoni Carnival is to bring young people of various indigenous cultures from around South Africa to teach them about social ills, and the importance of upholding traditional African values. The parade takes place along the streets of Durban. Over 8000 spectators line the streets during the parade during which many different South African tribes showcase their costumes and dances: Zulu, Ndebele, Xhosa, Pedi, Swati, Venda, Batswana, Khoisan, Mpondo, Tsonga, and Abathembu. Indoni has become my favourite event for the simple reason that it’s not just about one tribe. Moreover, Indoni includes boys who go through some intense training in winter camps on what it means to be real men. (I’m using the word tribes cautiously, for some prefer to be described as nations). However, that’s a debate for another day, because as far as I know (or have been brainwashed), the description of nation would refer to the inhabitants of the entire country.

Now this brings me to something that really riles me as a father of three girls, although I also have boys. As much as there are efforts to rope in boys into these events, there remains the fact that many such events are aimed at girls: how they should conduct themselves, how to remain pure and virgins for as long as possible…till they finish school, and how they should only engage in sex after marriage. And the biggest drivers for these initiatives are women. These become important days for men to lust over young women; and for tourists who take delight in taking photographs and recording videos of something they have never experienced before. These videos and images are copyrighted and sold for profit, while the girls receive nothing. This does not benefit the youngsters at all.

Something else irks me: besides telling these girls not to engage in sex to avoid HIV, STIs, teen pregnancy, what else are we offering to these girls, when they will end up with boys who have no clue how to treat, respect, and value them?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said something very profound in her TED TALK titled ‘We should all be feminists’:

“We police #girls, we praise girls for #virginity, but we don’t praise #boys for virginity, and it’s always made me wonder how exactly this is supposed to work out because …I mean, the loss of virginity is usually a process that involves…”

This can only mean one thing: As fathers, we are failing our boys, and even more so, our girls. The question of whether we will show anger when our boys sleep around and impregnate girls demands an answer. It is even more hypocritical that, when hashtags such as #MenAreTrash emerge, we become confused; or when our boys rape elders, or children, or brutally murder girls, we seem to forget that most such behaviour arises in the absence of a good father figure as a role model.

We should stop making boys feel stupid for having not slept with a girl early enough. We, as parents, should be furious with our boys if they impregnate girls whom they are not able or willing to marry; just as we are angered when our girls fall pregnant. If a pregnant girl is taken out of school, which shouldn’t happen, we should also take the boy out of school, because he’s just as guilty, if not more so.

Women have been doing all they can, and they make every effort to raise their girls really well – some even lock them up so they don’t go out! I’ve yet to hear of fathers doing the same to their boys.

We become excited when our boys as young as three years old show an interest in girls; however, God forbid that girls of a young age should show a similar liking for the opposite sex!

Everything has changed – the way we speak, the way we dress, the cars we drive – even the food we eat. One thing, however, never changes, and that is patriarchy, which is faithfully perpetuated, especially amongst Africans.

 

Photos: Indoni Multi-Cultural Parade

Indoni Carnival takes place in Durban around October of every year. The main aim of Indoni Carnival is to bring young people of different indigenous cultures from around South Africa and teaching them about social ills and the importance of upholding traditional African values. The parade takes place along the streets of Durban. Over 8000 spectators line up the streets during the parade and various South African tribes showcase their costume and dance: Zulu, Ndebele, Xhosa, Pedi, Swati, Venda, Batswana, Mpondo, Khoisan, Tsonga, Basotho.

IMG_5515IMG_5513IMG_5505IMG_5498IMG_5491IMG_5492IMG_5493IMG_5497IMG_5484IMG_5485IMG_5486IMG_5490IMG_5471IMG_5478IMG_5479IMG_5482tsonga1IMG_5294IMG_5321 (2)IMG_5356

Asimbonanga uMandela, but we saw Johnny Clegg

Knowing that your chances of ever meeting the Great Nelson Mandela are gone forever can be quite devastating, especially when you see people, way younger than you are, posting images holding his hand or posing alongside him. Then you suddenly beat yourself up for not having tried harder to meet him. So, from myself and many other South Africans: ‘Asimbonanga’ uMandela, but we saw Johnny Clegg. And that for me is enough.

By Soka Mthembu

Earlier this year I was devastated to read in the papers that one of Africa’s greatest icons, Johnny Clegg, had been living with cancer, and that he was doing his final World Tour starting in Cape Town on 30th June. Upon hearing the news, I immediately contacted my mentor, Barry Leitch, a close friend of Johnny “Skeyi” Clegg, who confirmed that Johnny was indeed conducting his last world tour. From that moment, I made the decision to see him in action on the Durban leg of his tour. Little did I know, however, that my stay here in South East Asia – Vietnam to be precise, where I’m currently performing with my dance troupe ‘Beyond Zulu’, would be extended by another 6 months. That was the nail in the coffin for me.

Okay, let me tell you how I met Johnny Clegg, and why I’m inspired by him: When I was 14 years old in Zululand – in fact I was 14 years everywhere − I met Johnny Clegg, who had come to visit his old friend Barry “Mkhomazi” Leitch.  Barry, just like Johnny, is a white Zulu, whose love for Zulu people and their culture is inspiring. Coincidentally, Barry is also an anthropologist by profession, just like Mr Clegg.

It was during the time that I was a Zulu dancer at the beautiful and unique Simunye Zulu Lodge, a secluded lodge that was built on a cliff face, and attached to a cultural Zulu village (don’t Google it or attempt to go there…let’s just say it was one of the government’s Land Redistribution deals that fell into the wrong hands, and therefore was completely ruined).

Back to my story: It was a dark night in Zululand with stars winking at us, and the trees above us dimming them in jealousy. Had it not been for the yellow flames coming from the home-made hessian and paraffin lamps scattered around the Zulu dancing area, it would have been even darker. The Mfule River behind us created a soothing sound, and the frogs, without fail, added their voice to the drumbeat. Nduna Luthuli was a lead singer and dancer (igoso) on that day − one of the ablest and most creative dancers I have ever met. We took our turns after an Umzansi dance routine. Before we knew it, Johnny had risen unexpectedly like a Colossus in front of us. In a fraction of a second he was on the other side of the fireplace, dancing as he would have done for an audience of thousands of people, ignoring our off-beat drumbeat, the-not-so-professional singing, and the small crowd. Our jaws dropped, as did the tourists’, as we watched with great admiration and envy, forgetting to clap (which forms part of Zulu dancing). This mlungu had put all of us to shame in front of internationals and our fans from the nearby Njomelwane community, but we loved him for it: for his great and inspiring performance, his humility, and for being kind enough to give us pointers in respect of the Umzansi Dance. It was a treat for us − for me − for tourists − a place where no one famous, especially not Johnny Clegg, should have dared go. I would later learn that Johnny did the same in hostels, places that I, as a Zulu, am afraid of going to: they are so often associated with conflicts and violence.  I often wonder how he manages to dance and find peace in such places?

How tragic that someone who has played such a meaningful role in society, and is such a fearless man, should be assaulted by cancer. But Johnny can overcome.

Together with countless others the world over, I wish Johnny Clegg good health and many more years. And as ever go f**k yourself cancer!