Main Article Content
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.
Article Metrics Graph
Berglund, A. 1976. Zulu thought-patterns and symbolism. Uppsala: Hurst. Bhengu, L. 2018. South Africa: Traditional healer sentenced to life in KZN human body parts case. Sowetan Live. November 7, 2018. Available at: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-11-07-traditio-nal-healer-sentenced-to-life-in-kzn-human-body-parts-case/. (Accessed on December 23, 2022.)
Bührmann, M.V. & Bührmann, V. 1984. Living in two worlds: Communica-tion between a white healer and her black counterparts. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau.
Campbell, S.S. 2000. Called to heal. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press.
Chidester, D. 2012. Wild religion: Tracking the sacred of South Africa. Berk-ley: University of California Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ 9780520951570
Claassens, J. 2017. Africa calling. Bloomington: Trafford Publishing.
Cumes, D. 2004. Africa in my bones: A surgeon’s odyssey into the spirit world of African healing. Claremont: New Africa Books.
Denscombe, M. 2010.
The good research guide: For sma ll scale mixed
methods research . Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Education.
Draper, J.A. 2004. Orality, literacy, and colonialism in Southern Africa. Lei-den: Brill. DuBois, T.A. 2009. An introduction to shamanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Edwards, S.D. 2013. Intuition as a healing modality: Historical and contem-porary perspectives. Journal of Psychology in Africa 23, 4: 669-674. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14330237.2013.10820686
Eliade, M. 2011.
Le chamanisme et les techniques archaiques de l’extase
Polish translation: Szamanizm i archaiczne techniki ekstazy .
Wydawnictwo Ale theia.
EMAVoicesOfTheEarth n.d. Xhosa ritual and ceremony; divination; connect-ing to spiritual destiny (Part 3/8). YouTube. Available at: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx_54VOkwos. (Accessed on October 22, 2022.) EvesVolcano. n.d. John Lockley, Xhosa sangoma, speaks about the im-portance of honouring our ancestors. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ2tIvO5w5E. (Accessed on Oc-tober 23, 2022.)
Farrer J.A. 1879. Zululand and the Zulus: Their history, beliefs, customs,
military system, home life, legends, etc., etc., and missions to them .
London: Kerby & Endean. doi: https://doi.org/10.5479/sil.312841
Flint, K.E. 2008.
Healing traditions: African medicine, cultural exchange,
and competition in South Africa, 1820 1948 . At hens: Ohio University
Geertz, C. 1973.
The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays . New York:
Hammond-Took, W.D. 1989. Rituals and medicines: Indigenous healing in Africa. Johannesburg: Ad. Donker.
isiZulu.net. n.d. Bilingual Zulu-English dictionary. Available at: http://isi-zulu.net/. (Accessed on December 12, 2022.)
Janzen, J.M. 1991. ‘
Doing Ngoma’: A dominant trope in African religion and
healing . Journal of Religion in Africa 21, 4: 290 308. doi: https://
Janzen, J.M. 1992. Ngoma: Discourses of healing in central and Southern Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press.
John, T. & Swails, B. 2018. South African ‘cannibal case’ men get life sen-tences. CNN. December 13, 2018. Available at: https://edition.cnn. com/2018/12/13/africa/south-africa-cannibalism-scli-intl/index.html. (Accessed on November 23, 2022.) Jokic, Z. 2008. The wrath of the forgotten Ongons: Shamanic sickness, spirit embodiment, and fragmentary trancescape in contemporary Buriat Shamanism. Sibirica 7, 1: 23-50. doi: 10.3167/sib.2008.070103
Kohler, M. 1941. The izangoma diviners. Pretoria: Department of Native Af-fairs of the Union of South Africa.
Krige, E.J. 1962. The social system of the Zulus. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter & Shooter. Lewis, I.M. 2003. Ecstatic religion: A study of Shamanism and spirit posses-sion. 3rd ed. London: Routledge. doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/978020 3241080
Lockley, J. 2013. Series of interviews. Available at: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=jpRAqml_Ce8&list=PLEBC78C748EF8E099. (Ac-cessed on June 12, 2022.)
Lockley, J. 2017. Leopard warrior: A Journey into the African teachings of ancestry, instinct, and dreams. Boulder Colorado: Sounds True. Lockley, J. n.d. About John. Available at: https://www.johnlockley.com/ about-john. (Accessed on June 12, 2022.)
. Indaba my children New York Grove Press
Mutwa, V.C. 2003. Zulu shaman: Dreams, prophesies and mysteries. Roch-ester: Destiny Books. Niatum, D. 2014. Shamanic calling. American Book Review 36, 1: 28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/abr.2014.0148
Obeyesekere, G. 1990. The work of culture: Symbolic transformation in psy-choanalysis and anthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Podolecka, A. 2016. Sangomas, shamans and New Age: The hybridity of some modern healing and esoteric practices and beliefs in South Afri-ca. Yearbook of Oriental Studies 69: 142-157. Podolecka, A. 2017. New Age: Religion, a religion or secular religion. Year-book of Oriental Studies 70: 160-170. Podolecka, A. 2018. Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa – sangoma, African sage, fraud or a New Age shaman? Studies in African Languages and Cul-tures 52: 132-153. doi: 10.32690/SALC52.6 Podolecka, A. 2022. Zulu creation myths by Credo Mutwa – ancient tradition or Mutwa’s invention? Journal of Religion in Africa 51: 111-132. doi: 10.1163/15700666-12340202 Rademeyer, J. 2013. Do 80% of S. Africans regularly consult traditional healers? The claim is unproven. Africa Check. July 31, 2013. Available at: http://africacheck.org/reports/do-80-of-south-africans-regularly-consult-traditional-healers-the-claim-is-false/. (Accessed on November 23, 2022.)
Shange, N. 2018. South Africa: Policeman reveals horror he found at sango-ma’s premises. Sunday Times. February 28, 2018. Available at: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-02-28-policeman-reveals-horror-he-found-at-sangomas-premises/. (Accessed on No-vember 23, 2022.)
Sundkler, B. 1964. Bantu prophets in South Africa. Oxford: Oxford Universi- ty Press.
Teppo, A. 2011. ‘Our spirit has no boundary’: White sangomas and media-tion in Cape Town. Anthropology and Humanism 36, 2: 225-247. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1409.2011.01094.x
Thornton, R.J. 2009. The transmission of knowledge in South African tradi-tional healing. Africa 79, 1: 18-34. doi: https://doi.org/10.3366/E000 1972008000582
Thornton, R.J. 2017. Healing the exposed being: A South African ngoma tra-dition. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. doi: https://doi.org/10. 18772/12017070183
Van Binsbergen, W. 1991. Becoming a Sangoma. Journal of Religion in Af-rica, 21: 309-344. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/157006600X00140
Vaughan, M. 1994. Healing and curing: Issues in the social history and an-thropology of medicine in Africa. Social History of Medicine 7, 2: 283-295. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/7.2.283
Ventegodt, S. & Kordova, P. 2016. Traditional healing and ritualized canni-balism in South Africa and Botswana: The muthi killings. Journal for Alternative Medicine Research 8, 4: 477-480.
Wreford, J.T. 2006. Talking with the white: Sharing the experience of white sangoma in contemporary South Africa. CSSR Working Paper No. 150: 1-25.
Wreford, J.T. 2007. Studies ‘long-nosed’ hybrids? Sharing the experiences of White izangoma in contemporary South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies 33, 4: 829-843. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070 701646936 Wreford, J.T. 2008. Working with spirit: Experiencing izangoma healing in contemporary South Africa. Oxford: Berghahn. Znamenski, A.A. 2013. Shamanism in Siberia: Russian records of indigenous spirituality. New York: Springer Science.