White Izangoma The Creation of New Significance or New Members of Traditional Healing-Divining Practice?

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Agnieszka Podolecka https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1146-3433


Sangoma, izangoma, ubungoma, itwasa, shamanic sickness, healing, divination, ancestral spirits


One of the social changes with the collapse of Apartheid in the South African society was the emergence of so-called ‘white isangomas’ or ‘white izango-ma’. This was not the first time that people of European origins were called by amadlozi (ancestral spirits) to ubungoma2. The first records are dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, but the social situation (colonialism and then Apartheid) made it impossible for Whites to be trained. However, with the growing awareness of the importance of African cultures, white peo-ple who felt the calling, started looking for answers. The calling is character-ized by a sickness of body and mind that shows itself in having visions and an overwhelming weakness. It is widely believed that it can be healed only through the training by a fully-fledged isangoma. This essay analyses white izangoma vocation and work, establishing if they really are part of ubungo-ma, and if they influence and change black izangoma’s teachings and work. The information originates from the author’s field study, written izangoma’s testimonials, and other academic research.


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