One is born with the abilities of being a Sangoma. This gift is initiated through your family (can be both or one of your maternal or paternal lineage). With time though, any other soul with a desire to work through you may do so. Izangoma are able to communicate with ancestors through various different gifts that each one has been born with. In addition, iZangoma serve as dream interpreters able to assist those who have visions to decipher these and explain them. Dreams are an important communication tool used by our ancestors to pass on messages.
As a Sangoma, you serve as an interpretor/link between the person ozhlola (consulting through you) and the souls surrounding that individual. This you do with the aid of the Sangoma that works with/through you. If there are iZangoma in your past, you will also become a Sangoma. You don't have to know them, they know you. If there is an iNyanga inyour past, you will have a natural aptitude for the use of African Medicines, you will still need to be taught, but it wil be easier for you. (More about this later).Izinyanga are trained through apprenticeship to be healers using imithi. In most case you train under an iNyanga called ukuphata izikwama zenyanga. In the old days an Inyanga would look at his family and identify the child showing the most promise and interest in medicines. This person could also be identified through dreams. This person would become an assistant of sorts and in time would be taught the art of healing disease. Anyone who has an interest can be trained in the identification of imithi, correct preparation methods,dosages and uses.
Some iZangoma though have an ancestor who was an iNyanga who will then guide and teach the Sangoma on the various remedies that he used whilst alive. This is not the case for every Sangoma, but if you find an iNyanga who is willing, then as a Sangoma you can be apprenticed to an iNyanga and they then pass on their knowledge.
My greatest knowledge as an iNyanga comes from the time spent with uGogo uMaNdlovu Mngwengwe who is a well respected Sangoma and Inyanga from Kwa Swayimane. She gets her gift of imithi from her maternal grandfather uZondo. It is under her that I have been learning for the past 8 years. This has been the most valuable and fulfilling learning in my life. And it’s a pity that it’s nearing its natural end.
The gift of healing with natural remedies comes naturally to me though because of my own inheritance from both my maternal and paternal sides of the family. This has allowed me to develop a strong focus in all types of natural medicines.