A Sangoma and a student.

Predicting the future before it happens, foreseeing events that happen to unfold as foreseen. Speaking to dead people and sensing people’s problems without being told or hinted any idea. These were signs for 20 year-old Anele Khumalo that signalled that nothing about her or her life is normal.

 Anele Khumalo is an ancestral gifted person what we all know as a sangoma, she is also a medical pshycology student at the University of KwaZuu-Natal.

Her style is different from most girls her age; beaded dread locks, her wrists decorated with Zulu bracelets better known as isiphandla. When everyone sleeps comfortable on their beds at the Milarosa students’ resident, Anele sleeps on the floor as this is part of her traditions as a sangoma, a sangoma that is at her last stages of initiation at that, this is one of many twits her life has as a sangoma.

A sangoma is an ancestral gifted person in the African culture, this person acquires power from their ancestors to heal traditionally and help people with problems that need to be traditionally solved and a lot more. She sits on the floor as she goes through the events, down the memory lane of how she discovered the gift she has and how has that changed and impacted her life from the day she discovered.

“I started having weird dreams in grade nine I’d dream about myself under the water, I’d dream about my great grandparents talking to me about my family’s history, them introducing me to every family member.” She explains. She believes that meeting her grandfather through her dreams was one of her first training. “I told my parents about these dreams and they explained to me about my gift,” she carries on explaining.

Going to  multi-racial schools and being friends with these very modernised people, her ancestral gift brought about confusion as a teenager who was still trying to figure out her own style, own personality and basically trying to understand everything that was being thrown at her then in the form of teachings. Anele claims that her gift has brought about wisdom beyond her age, and it is evidence in her approach to life in general, and how she would give her peers advice on things she believes she knows little about. This shows how her ancestors are part of her and everything she does.

“In grade eleven things took a huge turn when I started sleep walking, the fact that I was sleep walking actually meant that my initiation better known as ukuthwasa was long over-due.” Anele says. She had to go beyond just being aware of her gift, she had to accept and start practises and work towards it. 

At sixteen years old she had to learn how to solve other people’s problem, some problems she would sense without being told a word about them, “at times when I’m in public I would see people being followed by infants, and I would ask my mom why I see these things and she would explain to me that my gift enables me to see things beyond the physical,” she explains, trying to paint a picture of the events she went through at sixteen years.

 Things got really bad when she got paralysed, and when she consulted with the doctors, they couldn’t find anything and she knew she had to start.

Initiation brought about lot of things in her life, having to balance her studies and sangoma duties, living a normal life without disrespecting her ancestors. “My parents pleaded with my ancestors for me to finish my studies, and I guess that’s why these two things never really clash.” Anele explains. She aspires to be a great career woman one day and never forget where her African roots lie and in that way she believes to use her gift effectively.

By Nonhlanhla Hlatshwayo


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