Many famous Mzansi children of the soil have accepted their ancestral gift of ubungoma (traditional healing) in the last 10 years.
Actress Letoya Makhene and rapper Boity are just two of South Africa’s most recognisable sangomas in the entertainment industry. They are not shy to flaunt it either.
Other South African celebs like Kelly Khumalo, Mshoza and Lerato Sengadi have also followed their spiritual journey.
While following your heart to become a traditional healer is a great honour, not just for you personally but also your families and people around, being a celebrity who is also a sangoma has also found a few frowns from people in society.
1. Letoya Makhene
According to ZAlebs, Scoop Makhathini made headlines earlier this year when he accused some celebrities of faking their ancestral calling because they thought it was a “fashionable statement” in the entertainment industry.
“All of a sudden, every Tom, Dick and Thandi is having a calling… I’m just gonna relax and watch the liars play themselves out. The ancestral lashing will be unavoidable. JHB folk will bite anything, even s**t that can’t be bitten or faked. Yonke into bafuna ukuyendza’i-fashion," tweeted the TV presenter.
But there are many legitimate South African celebrities who have trained for months to become a sangoma. Here are a few more:
2. Zola Hashatsi
Actor Zola Hashatsi started his spiritual journey after the death of a close family member. He told the Daily News earlier this year: “I think after my great-grandmother died in 2009, she became my ancestor and was always protecting me from evil things. I should have listened to the call in 2009, but I did not understand it… I still believe in the Lord, but I am a child of the soil.”
3. Lerato Mvelase
Musician and actress Lerato Mvelase accepted her spiritual calling in 2015. She spent six months training to become a traditional healer. Lerato told Metro FM in 2018 that the time away from her family was tough but worth it.
“It was very hard on my kids. I mean my kids sleep with me, even today. So for them to wake up and mommy isn’t there… it was very hard for my kids after six months of e being away but the kids are very understanding actually. We don’t give them enough credit.”
4. Phelo Bala
Singer, Phelo Bala, accepted his spiritual call in 2014 after experiencing body changes that scared him. Phelo said his body “stopped working” and a doctor told him he had body flu. A family member advised him to see a sangoma, which he did and soon realised the real reason for the changes in his life. Although the Christian singer was criticised for becoming a traditional healer, he was determined to learn more about his culture.
He told the Drum magazine last year: “I am a sangoma, music is not my calling and I will not do it forever. Whether I have healed people through music or in my sangoma practices, my calling is healing”.
5. L’ Vovo
Kwaito muso, L’Vovo went on a five-month spiritual journey in KwaZulu-Natal to become a sangoma in 2016. But he admitted he did it to honour his grandmother and did not intend to practice his calling.
He told the Daily Sun that “I did it all for my gogo. I don’t want to be a sangoma, I’m a musician, that’s all. I wouldn’t have ignore this spiritual calling as I respect my culture and religion.”
6. Nandi Nyembe
Veteran actress Nandi Myembe received her sangoma invitation when she was a teenager.
In 2016, Nandi told Drum magazine: “I was so sick that my mother had to take me to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. At some point, doctors had to test my urineand surprisinglyit came out with soil but there was nothing wrong with me.”
Although she is no longer a practising sangoma, she assists her daughter, who is also a traditional healer, with her healing duties.
7. Buhle Mda
Singer, Buhle Mda took a break from her music career in 2016 to attend initiation school to become a sangoma. Buhle graduated as a sangoma after seven months.
She told Radio 702’s Azania Mosaka that she always wanted to be a traditional healer.
“I was born a healer. I was healing way before I went in for initiation. If God or my ancestors instruct me to do something, then I’ll do it.”
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