In conducting research for a paper that I am to give in September, I have been stunned to discover what I think are the root causes for the shame that is associated with admitting to using the services of an African healer or what is called an iSangoma or Traditional health practitioner (if using the fancy language of the act!)
In the late 1800's about 1852 I think, legislation was enacted which made the practice of iZangoma and rainmakers in Natal and later Zululand, illegal. Later additional laws were enacted which made consulting a Sangoma or a rainmaker illegal and made both liable to a fine or imprisonment in the case of the iSangoma/rainmaker. Now that is long before the advent of apartheid and should make each and everyone of us pause and think a little.
For me this is profound. In addition, there were laws enacted in 1865 which allowed certain Africans to be exempted from Customary laws at the discretion of the magistrate. This exemption applied to the converted or Christian Africans called amaKholwa. This allowed the amaKholwa greater freedoms in the land than the uncoverted and created a seperate class of African who was mission educated, European dressing and the customs of the colonisers. Another thing that we need to think about.
This information has made me realise the importance of investigating why things are the way they are. No-one alive today was aware of the laws being enacted, however we are all products of these laws because they impacted the society that we were all born into. This explains why as well consulting an iSangoma was a secret practice. Because of the inherited fear of imprisonment.
What is more important though, is to gauge how we use the information that we learn. How are we to change mindsets now that we understand why certain things are the way they are? Philani. MAG