Johnson Dlalisana Khambule talks to Xolani Magwaza about the relationship between traditional healing and Christianity (in isiZulu)
English summary: Since the sangoma works on a regular basis with his traditional beliefs whereas his wife deals more on the biblical Judea-Christian beliefs, Xolani the interviewer is trying to find out how the sangoma and his wife deal on a daily basis with challenges that come with marital issues considering that they have different beliefs that are popularly believed to not agree on many aspects of life.
The sangoma’s response was quite descriptive in that he starts with a brief history of his childhood beliefs in the Roman Catholic Church and his wife’s childhood in the Zion Christian church. He then tells of the exact point in his adulthood when he was guided and then converted from the Roman Catholic Church into joining the Zion Christian Church and then to become Isangoma which came about to him through a spiritual message from his late elders or ancestors. He further elaborates that he firmly believes that God and ancestors are one thing; he explains that he truly does believe in God and he has seen all the good works which God has done in his life and he prays on a regular basis. Once he was a sangoma, he then asked his ancestors to give him a wife who is a believer/saved; this was granted to him by his ancestors through a dream where he was told to go to the Zion Christian church and he will find his wife there going by the name Gladys Mbanjwa.
Xolani wants the sangoma to share his views on what are some of the issues that make traditional beliefs clash or contradict with Christian beliefs.
The sangoma responds by saying that firstly, one should not see or view things strictly from one perspective i.e. one should have an open mind when dealing with different issues. He further explains that any couple should firstly get to know each other intimately on an emotional, physical and mental level before deciding to get married because harmony is important in a relationship especially in a marriage. He is a sangoma and his wife is a pastor yet they share a similar view that they should not keep secrets from each other in their marriage which is why they get along so well together.
Xolani then asks if the sangoma consults with his ancestors for his wife and if the wife prays for her sangoma since that is not considered a norm in modern society.
The sangoma says yes, he does consult with his ancestors about matters concerning his wife and his wife also prays for him. This is shown for example when his wife comes to him and asks him to consult with the ancestors on a matter that has been concerning her to get clarity from the ancestors about what it is that’s bothering her and how she can get better. Also, he mentions how his wife encourages her Zion Christian Church congregation to also go consult with traditional healers as there are some people who are saved but they souls might be not be at peace.
In conclusion the sangoma explains how his beliefs in ancestors and traditional healing combined with his wife’s Christian beliefs join together to create a powerful union in their marriage, and considering now that since the traditional medicines he uses plus the biblical word his wife preaches are all gifts from God which work in harmony in helping them elevate to higher levels of spirituality in life.
(Summary by Nkanyiso Dlamini, February 2013)