Interview with Mr Kay Mzizi on the 03 of September 2014 at eNanda, Ohlange. Interviewer: Zandile Mazibuko
I hear that you are called ‘umlaphi’ a traditional healer, how does a person go about in wanting to be like you. The training and learning process and how do you know you have the calling?
How did I learn?
Yes, whether you learn or not?
Ok number one; you need to know the different plants that grow in the forests. Number two, I will give you may example according to me, I am originally from Eastern Cape when I was still in school in 1979, you take different plants and put them together , call a girl by means of blowing the plants in the air saying you need them here. Secondly someone comes and tells you this is their problem, then you put this and that plant together and you solve the problem. Going past that you come to the place of having a gift that is given by the ancestors. Maybe you’re a prayer or a sangoma, you need to tell people seeking your help the truth and the person must let you know that you’re saying the truth and if not they also need to let you know.
Are you satisfied?
Thank you girl
Can I please ask, how do you deal with a situation whereby you cannot seem to resolve the person’s situation because African people go and try to interpret things at a traditionalist, what do you say to them if you cannot seem to find a solution?
Thank you, this is what happens, you come to me and ask for my help, you therefore explain to me what is going on and if I see that I do not see clearly to your matter, I throw my bones and talk to my ancestors to show me what is this person suffering from and that so this and that plant will be what they need to help them.
Do you get me?
Yes I do
For example another person comes and says I am sick because of this and that, I throw my bones to see if there is anything else and my ancestors tell me you do not need anything but only to prepare traditional Zulu beer.
That is it, maybe the cause of this is the dispute of the person in need’s ancestors and what they need is meat and traditional Zulu beer but not a big ceremony of slaughtering a cow or goat because this may cause a conflict to the ancestors because some of them were involved in a car accident and that is how they past on, now blood on blood is not acceptable.
Do you hear me?
Yes I do
Same as when people who die on car accidents, they are not brought back home because their blood will come and finish the whole family. Also when buying a car, you do not slaughter a goat because that blood will cause bad luck on the car for you, like an accident.
Who does not like a car?
Nobody because I also like it but not only that I also need it
All you need to do is thank the ancestors by setting alight “impepho”, do not say thank you but say can I have a better car, it is also about finding a job, everyone needs to have a job and you want to get paid well when you have that job so do not say thank you to the ancestors but say can they provide you with a better one because they will assume that you are happy and satisfied so they’re help is not needed anymore, you’ve had enough.
You can ask any question you like
Even sangoma’s come to me and ask for my assistance, talking about that they are closed. Same as liquor shop owners who say that they are closed down and I tell them that it is because someone bewitched your business by buying at your shop with a bottle which has been put pig fat oil or horse oil and gave it to you, you there after put it with the other bottles and then the spell works in closing your means of production. This is all due to the fact that people do unforeseen things that are wrong just because of jealousy or greed. People are not the same, they have different problems and I can do this or anyone else out of knowledge and experience.
Ok go ahead, ask my girl
What is the difference between all of you, sangoma’s, inyanga and umlaphi because I can see that some of the things you use are the same as sangoma’s use too? What are your different job titles?
Ok firstly, I use water and plants (muthi) and when necessary bones too. I go to the Isipingo Sea or another waterfall, these other practitioners do not use water in most cases, and some cannot even go to the forest because they cannot interact with the snakes there because it is their totems. The reason why they are called differently is because of their different callings, their totems in which they work with and the training and practice process that is different, to prove this for example there is a boy “Mandla” who came to me with a problem of not finding a job, I went and dipped him in the dam that I normally got to at four in the morning and he found a job within days and he did not even believe in these things. Whereas the sangoma is the one who goes to the sea and dip themselves not the person who seeks help, they send people to do certain things.
If you’re the one who is sick, how do you help yourself because normally people such as yourself do not help themselves?
Thank you, there is this springbok skin that I have from my training, I take it and I lay on a traditional mate called “ucansi” and take the springbok skin and make it my blanket on the floor at 00:00pm at night I then dream and the ancestors show me which and which plant I mix and use it to be healed. At home a child broke their arm and I had to put such and such of medicine on the wound and they were ok after the next few days, I tell you we don’t normally go to hospitals.
What about your own children or close family, do you help them or do they seek help from someone else?
I help them, whatever the sickness but I am the one who helps them because in most cases I know things before hand for example when a member of the family is pregnant, I know the gender of the child, the day it will be born and they do not go to hospitals. If there is any problems towards the pregnancy then it needs to be fixed maybe she is pregnant and the boyfriend has another girlfriend that they are fighting, maybe she has bewitched her underwear now so I fix that. All my children get married and they deliver at home because there are certain mixtures I make them drink before giving birth. As for someone else I make them go to the hospital quickly before the child is born here.
Are you satisfied?
Yes I am thank you
You can ask another question, I like children like you who want to learn by asking, you see each and every problem of a person showing this and that sign means this and that.
I am learning so much today
Can you interpret dreams and how do you go about it?
Yes I can and good
I’ve been having the same dream in one night and this dream involves meat and a thief and people who are telling me this are people that I know, warning me about this person? What does it mean?
Ok let me tell you, there are people who have small creatures that work for them as I have said that I started this back in 1979. We use to herd cattle cows, goats as small boys and these creatures usually told us what medicine to use because they relate to children because of their innocence, they use to bring us food like maas to eat and when we got older they left us, so sometimes people use these creatures to do bad things to others out of jealousy. There are these creatures in the townships whereby a person practicing witchcraft sleeps with a monkey and they produce this creature for them to be able to commit such acts. Finally there is this animal that looks like a rat and it is sent to steal your underwear, it pokes a hole on it and takes that piece to the sender, they therefore mix that piece with money and medicine and you find yourself not having money and not even getting married because of this. There is another animal which looks like a cat but it has three legs most people who practice witchcraft have that animal and so they also send it to do ugly things. You see my girl this is all created by the eye in which it sees a person as a threat and it becomes jealous so people are like that in life.
Do you have a specific kind of group of patients that you help for example a white person comes and seeks for your help, do you help them?
Yes very well, I help all kind of races, it does not matter who it is or what their race is, its all about the situation that they are coming with. I have helped so many people from different races, Indians and White people for example one other time an Indian lady came to me asking how can she get rid of the huge pimples on her face and can I tell her who did this to her. I told her that I cannot tell her who it is but what I can do is get rid of the pimple and I did so because I could see that who did this (it was a black lady) to her it was because at work she treats other staff members badly and she returned to come and thank me. This is the same as when someone wants to be with you or do the same as the Indian lady all they do is have a black string put horse oil on it and other medicines, they call your name in the air and when they bury the string and you cross over it, automatically you have the pimples all over your face due to what that person has done.
Do you get me?
Yes I do
I see pictures around here in your office and it shows that you work with hospital nurses; do you work with them and other people?
Ok listen, yes I do work with them, you see I work also on different projects with the community people. I take care of children from an early age who are poverty stricken at home and they do a course on health care after they finish matric and because I have certificates for people who can do home base care practical’s with, I take them and they finish and I send them to big hospitals to work there for a living. This stops a child from giving herself to men just to make ends meet at home for her. Because these children are hungry and I run a soup kitchen for them where they get porridge for breakfast early in the morning and they eat lunch and some even carry the food home so I help them to not go hungry, be able to focus at school and even if they do not have electricity back home I take it out of my own pocket for them to be able to study, this eliminates poverty and starvation. As for the boys I put them in my soccer team for them to not do drugs and steal to survive because for them to provide this habit they could smash your car’s wind-screen and take the car’s radio, now all these costs just for a radio in which he will sell for R20 and when you ask them they say it is because I was hungry. So once they are well trained, big teams like Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates want them and they go and play for those teams.
I also give out food parcels for homeless children and grown-ups during the December month because some children do not have parents and they need that experience of having a parent because umuntu ngumutu ngabantu. Some people come with cases that they have lost their wives and they want them back home and so I help them, I help even people who do not have money.
Wouldn’t someone see what you are doing as wrong?
No it’s something we have always done in our culture it’s just that people have been turned to be corrupt and some lie and use these women and leave them. What is important is that mother’s and women in general are the peace-makers in homes and men are not well respected when there is no woman in his life, homes are stable because of women and if a woman is not happy at home she talks about it unlike men. Most cases I deal with has to do with these things of infidelity in marriages, stepmothers and they children, men and their drinking habits but I would say that men who drink tend to speak the truth unlike those who do not they have many secrets.
I have hardship with people and their relationships
So no truth no solutions! Are you satisfied?
Yes I’m satisfied
For the record can you please repeat your full name and surname?
Ok, I’m Kay Mzizi originally from Eastern Cape, Phonqho I came in 1985 to Durban and worked at the harbor, offloading goods.
Thank you sir
No thank you.
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