20.02.2016

Traditional healers africa

South Africa’s culture is one of the most diverse in the world and has given rise to the term “Rainbow Nation”.
With 11 official languages and 8 other recognised languages, the rich culture of each of these groups brings its own vibrancy to our diversity. The indigenous KhoiKhoi and San were the early artists of South Africa as can be seen in the wonderful rock art across the country. Today, their language is under threat, as is their nomadic way of life in the desert regions of the country. The Bantu migrants were not all of the same culture; there were the Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Ndebele, Shangaan and Venda to name a few, each with their own colourful and interesting way of life.
The Zulu traditional culture was well known for the ferocity of its shield bearing warriors, especially under Shaka; for its beadwork and basketry and the beehive grass huts that pepper the KwaZulu-Natal hills. Zulu beliefs are based on the presence of ancestral spirits, which often appear in dreams, and a supreme being who is seldom involved in the affairs of mortals. The Xhosa culture is well known for the complex dress code that indicates a person’s social standing. Stick fighting is a common pastime for men, whose day time job is looking after the cattle. The Ndebele culture is renowned for the skill of the women who decorate their homes in vibrant geometric designs. Skills are passed from mother to daughter and the shapes used are often inspired by their intricately fashioned beadwork. The Sotho groups of the South Sotho, Pedi and Tswana have some major cultural differences from the Nguni group (Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi), especially with respect to how they organise their villages and their marriages. The Nguni are grouped in clans, while totems, or praise-names taken from animals, distinguish the Sotho-speakers. Sotho villages were also organized into age-sets, or groups of men or women who were close in age. The South Sotho people of Lesotho (baSuto) are identified with the brightly colored blankets that they often wear instead of coats. Traditions of folk art include beadwork, sewing, pottery making, house decoration, and weaving.
Soshangane imposed the strict Zulu military system and tribal wear on Shangaan traditions, but retained the beautiful Tsonga homesteads that include round huts with patterned thatch roofs.


The Shangaan people, through Tsonga influence, are one of the few ethnic groups in South Africa to practice fishing and include fish in their diet. The most unusual aspect of their diet, however, is their love of the mopani worm found in the mopani forests of the Lowveld. An important figure in traditional Shangaan culture, as with all the Nguni peoples of south eastern Africa, is the Sangoma, a healer and spiritual guide. The Soutpansberg Mountains of the Limpopo Province in South Africa is the home of the Venda people, the smallest of the South Africa cultures. The Venda culture is built on a vibrant mythical belief system, and water is an import theme, believing lakes and rivers to be sacred, and that rains are controlled by the Python God. The Sangoma or traditional healer is believed to have access to the spirits and seeks guidance from the ancestors.
You should definitely smudge yourself, your space and your drum whenever you feel you might have picked up something unpleasant during your journey, such as entities, or if you have come into contact with any form of sorcery or negative beings such as vampires, disembodied spirits etc, during your journey. They were joined by two main migrations – that of the Bantu peoples from the north in Africa and the colonisation by the Europeans from the south, all bringing their own cultures, skills, arts and farming methods with them. The San, known as “Bushmen” were extraordinary hunters and trackers, and their tracking skills are still invaluable in the fight against poachers. Organisations are at work to try and preserve this special culture with projects like bringing the language back into the school curriculum. It is a popular tourist attraction to see these traditional cultures with their interesting homes, dress, wonderful beadwork, pottery, arts & crafts and cultural events in the rural areas. Magic is used and many cases of illness or bad luck are considered to be caused by an evil spirit. How senior they are, if they are married or single, if they are the new wife or have had a baby – all shown in the headdress and dress of the wearer. Ancestor worship rituals as well as the initiation ceremony for young men are still practised, even though many young men die or are mutilated by the circumcision. The Sotho peoples tend to organise their homes into villages, rather than scattered settlements. These blankets have designs picturing everything from airplanes to crowns to geometric patterns.


Functional items such as sleeping mats, baskets, and beer strainers continue to be woven by hand from grass materials. Their culture is of mixed ancestry and was brought about due to the military actions of Soshangane, one of Shaka’s generals who fell into disfavour. He also incorporated their love of music that features a variety of ingenious stringed, wind and percussion instruments. Because of the wealth of game in the area they also enjoy venison and crocodile, which they bake in a delicious groundnut (peanut) sauce.
These are either dried or pan fried in butter, which is an experience no adventurous traveller should miss. The Sangoma’s medicine gourd, has become a symbol of the traditional cultural heritage of the Shangaan. Many Venda consult a Sangoma if they became ill, who would diagnose the trouble in the spirit world which might be alleviated by a particular course of action and usually prescribes a course of herbs. You should always smudge after Middle World journeys as it is common for people, especially beginners in shamanism to pick up negativity during Middle World journeying! A diviner will communicate with the spirits or use natural herbs and prayers to get rid of the problem. In Nguni society, marriages to kin is frowned on while the Sotho will seek brides from kin, notably cousins on the maternal side. This is where the famous Domba Python Dance is held and young maidens, as the final stage of their initiation into womanhood, line up in single file and dance in long winding lines, like a snake. An entire age-set generally graduated from one task to the next, and the village often celebrated this change with a series of rituals and, in some cases, an initiation ceremony. In the past initiations into adulthood were elaborate ceremonies lasting a few months, in which girls and boys were taken separately to the bush in the winter.



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