Do they really have powers to bewitch?

New reality show gives insight into sangomas' lives

Izangoma Zodumo
Izangoma Zodumo
Image: SUPPLIED

A new reality TV show about the lifestyles of modern diviners (sangomas) has gotten the public talking before its nationwide premier tonight at 8pm.

Izangoma Zodumo premiered to an exclusive viewership of DStv on Saturday, and tonight it will make its debut on Mzansi Magic. The show features diviners Prudence Magagula, 24, who is also a professional nurse and Makgotso Makopo, 34, an owner of a stylish boutique in Johannesburg.

One of the highlights of the first episodes was when Makopo mentioned that she had powers “to bewitch others” and it got mixed reaction, with people saying she was casting a bad light on the calling itself. Makopo, who is known as Gogo Maweni by her calling, said based on the public comments she realised that she was misunderstood.

“They misunderstood me because “can” and "do” are two different things. What I meant is that if a client has experienced a lot and wants to retaliate I can assist him or her.  There is no way that you can know how to heal an ailment without knowing how it was concocted,” Makopo explained.

“When you go for a training to be a sangoma, you are taught a lot of things and how they work. It is like going to school learning different subjects. When I went for my training I started with ukugedla or ubunyanga (traditional healing). Healers' strongest characteristics (are cleansing, perform a process to protect and revenge).”

Magagula, who is also known as Ngwe, explained that the show was introduced to root out the stereotype existing about sangomas and healers. She said she was aware that many people were associating sangomas and healers with witchcraft, which was not the case.

“When we go for training we are taught all herbs and how to defend ourselves. Unfortunately, some of izangoma use the traditional herbs to [trick] other people. It does not mean that all people follow that dark route,” Magagula said.

The two healers explained that the show follows them as they juggle between their new-found gifts, social lives, relationships and professional careers. Izangoma Zodumo further gives insight into traditional healing, training practices, family dynamics, love and friendships as well as how they deal with initiates (amathwasa).

“The show is about showing those who are running away from the calling that it was not a scary process.  People need to understand that you can never run away from the calling because it would create problems for you,” Magagula said.

“We both welcome the different views from different people because we know the show is about how we do things as modern sangomas."

Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, said: “The show aims to satisfy the curiosity of our viewers on how career women cope with getting a calling to be traditional healers, and how they end up juggling the two. Viewers should get ready to experience storytelling on a whole new level where an ancestral calling intersects with the daily lives and relationships of our main cast members.”

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