Madisakwane at peace after leaving behind the world of ubungoma
‘I chose to denounce the devil in public because I had previously announced him in public’
Former Generations actress Palesa Madisakwane recently got tongues wagging when she posted a video of herself destroying a traditional cloth that is mostly worn by sangomas and traditional healers. In the caption, she quotes a gospel song and alludes to converting to Christianity and leaving behind the world of ubungoma.
Speaking to Sowetan, Madisakwane said she chose to share her spiritual journey publicly because she had previously done traditional activities in public too.
“I chose to denounce the devil and the darkness in public because I had previously announced him in public. When I was shooting the reality show (Living the Dream with Somizi), there was a scene where I went to a sangoma and consulted. That means that I was introducing myself as being part of this journey of what I call darkness, so I wanted to announce my return to the Lord in public as well,” she explained.
According to Madisakwane, her spiritual life became tumultuous around 2009 when she felt that her life was not going accordingly.
“I’ve been a born-again Christian from the age of 16 but as life happened, I would backslide but kept going back. There was a time in my adulthood where things were not going right and I lost my car and my house and got divorced. Nothing was going right and I couldn’t even book jobs,” she said.
Madisakwane then sought advice from family and friends and was told to consult a traditional healer to find out what the cause of her problems was.
“That was my mistake because I had forgotten about Christ and His promises to me and I went to consult with sangomas because I was desperate for help. There were a lot of strange things about how they did things and there was always darkness that I did not understand. After consulting I would get dreams and I was told by a sangoma that I had to thwasa [initiate]. But every time I looked at the people who were going through that initiation I knew that this was not something I wanted for myself,” she said.
The actress, who did not fully go through the initiation process, said when she would question things from her gobela she would not get answers, instead she would be told that she was too forward and that is why her ancestors were punishing her.
“I felt very bullied and wasn’t even allowed to call on God’s names during cleansing,” she recalled.
Madisakwane then decided to join one of the popular churches in the Vaal, but did not know it would cause more turmoil in her life.
“Only to discover later that the church I had joined was a dark church that masquerades as a church of Christ, but deep down the things they did were not of Christ. After I was made a public spectacle at the church for not obeying the bishop, I left and joined another church but it was also a dark church,” she alleged.
That is when she reached her breaking point and was convinced to turn a new leaf.
“It was around 2021 when I heard the voice of God telling me that this was not me. I started watching YouTube sermons and went back to reading the Bible and I saw my life change for the better.
"When I bumped into the cloth I was given by the sangoma as I was cleaning, I knew I had to destroy it because I did not want that world to follow me,” she said.
Madisakwane said she did not believe that ancestors and God can co-exist as her ancestors are resting peacefully in Christ. The actress added that she did not mean to offend anyone with her video.
“I will not apologise for sharing my story. I don’t believe I offended anyone because I did not call anyone out or speak badly of any practices, I just shared my truth,” she firmly said.
And while she’s not a certified pastor yet, Madisakwane says she’ll continue to spread the word of God on her platforms until she is called to a higher point.
Johannes Mphelo from the African National Healers Association (ANHA) says there are dire consequences to destroying traditional regalia such as a bungoma cloth.
"If you have a genuine calling you cannot just do things like that or retire from being a sangoma. The consequences can result in things like death, getting tragic accidents and even going crazy," he says.
"As a sangoma I know that the journey is hard but I'll never resort to such extremes because I respect my calling. When people face challenges in their bungoma they should rather consult with other healers to get help, not resort to burning regalia and all sorts of disrespectful stuff because that will not end well,"he said.
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