Tag Archives: plants
January 20, 2015

Kay Mzizi – traditional healer at Ohlange

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?

Yes baba

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’s it?

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.

One minute!

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.




February 4, 2014

Plants along the Woza eNanda Walking Trail

There are still many green spaces in Inanda and the Woza eNanda Walking Trail often runs along the river or through densely vegetated slopes along small footpaths. A lot of interesting plants can be encountered here. Some are used for medicinal purposes or linked with cultural beliefs. But there are also a lot of invasive alien plants that must be carefully controlled or should be eradicated.

Our horticulturalist, Lindelani Zuke, provides some explanations, but please contribute your own knowledge through the comment feature below or e-mail us at enandaonline@gmail.com. Tell us, what the Zulu name of the different plants is and what the community uses these plants for. You can also mail us your own pictures of plants and tree.

You can also get information about social and cultural points of interest along the Woza eNanda Walking trail and follow our updates on the further development.


Wild Plum

Scientific name: Harpephyllum caffrum
Zulu name: Umganu

Umganu is associated with attracting women for marriage. A man can prepare a love potion from the leaves of the tree and apply that to the skin of his face.









Misty plume bush

Scientific name: Tetradenia riparia
Zulu name: Iboza

Locals use this shrub for making flu medicine. Check out more about this plant on the Ulwazi blog.









Giant leaf fig

Scientific name: Ficus lutea
Zulu name: Umkhiwane









Wild banana

Scientific name: Strelitzia Nicolai









Paperbark thorn

Scientific name: Acacia sieberianaCommon: Paperbark thorn
Zulu name: Umkhamba

IMG_8244 IMG_8245









Scientific name: Ipomea cairica
Zulu name: Umaholwana









Kei apple

Scientific name: Dovyalis caffra










 Mango tree







Peach tree

Scientific name: Prunus persica
Zulu name: Umpentshisi












Scientific name: Colocasia esculenta










Sadly, a lot of alien vegetation, much of it invasive, some even dangerous to humans and animals grows in Inanda, too. Alien plants consume scarce water resources, limit biodiversity and invade land that could be put to better use for the community.

In terms of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (CARA 1983), alien plants are classified in three categories:

Category 1: Highly invasive, should be eradicated and planting is prohibited
Category 2: Alien, but useful. Can be planted, but only with permit
Category 3: Can be kept, but must not be propagated


Parthenium weed

Scientific name: Parthenium hysterophorus
Zulu name: Umbulalazwe









Mexican sunflower

Scientific name: Tithonia diversifolia








Peanut butter cassia

Scientific name:  Senna didymobotrya









Spanish Reed

  Scientific name: Arundo donax









Napier Fodder or Elephant Grass

 Scientific name: Pennisetum purpureum










Scientific name: Melia azedarach
Zulu name: Umsilinga



Yellow Oleander

Scientific name: Thevetia peruviana











Indian Shot

Scientific name: Canna Indica











Singapore daisy

Scientific name: Sphagneticola trilobata









Butterfly orchid tree 

Scientific name: Bauhinia purpurea











Scientific name: Syzygium cumini
Zulu name: Umdoni wesilungu









Brazilian pepper tree

Scientific name: Schinus terebinthifolius











Large Cocklebur

Scientific name : Xanthium strumarium








Balloon vine

Scientific name: Cardiospermum grandiflorum










Triffid weed

Scientific name: Chromolaena odorata
Zulu name: Usandanezwe











Castor oil plant

Scientific name: Ricinus communis










Scientific name: Ageratum conyzoides











Scientific name: Solanum mauritianum
Zulu name: Umbhangabhanga








Nandi flame

Scientific name: Spathodea campanulata









Scientific name: Syngonium podophyllum








Barbados gooseberry

Scientific name: Pereskia aculeata










Four-o’ clock

Scientific name: Mirabilis jalapa









Compiled by Sabine Marschall; expertise supplied by Lindelani Zuke (horticulturalist, Durban Green Corridor) 31/1/14

This post will soon be available in ZULU

March 11, 2013

John Medley Wood and Inanda Valley

John Medley Wood (1827-1918), the ‘father of botany’ in KwaZulu-Natal, founded the Natal Herbarium and was an early curator of the Botanic Gardens in Durban. Although he had no formal training in botany, he collected prolifically, discovering many new species of plants and and published a number of pioneering works on the local flora. Many of his plants were collected in the  Inanda Valley, where he had a farm and ran a trading store. Several plants are now named after Inanda, including Crassula inandensis, Gladiolus inandensis, Pavetta inandanensis and Tephrosia inandensis.

David Styles published Wood’s fascinating story in Plant Life:

John Medley Wood – The Father of KZN Botany

John Medley Wood’s Inanda