The country's challenge is not drought but ignorance

In the past two weeks South Africa was thrown into panic by reports of water shortages and the prospect of a long-drawn-out drought.

In the 1960s, schools taught that when it's hot, the ocean boils and water evaporates into the air and forms the clouds that bring rain. Today, some are attributing drought to climate change and millions of rands have already been spent to address the challenges of climate change.

Leading religious leaders and some politicians have called for national prayers for rain. Others have suggested that Modjadji the Rain Queen be approached to supplicate for rain.

The major challenge facing the country is not drought but ignorance, intolerance and denial of the African spirituality.

Indigenous Africans believed that the universe emanated from God and that it is a living organism comprising interconnected, interrelated and integrated parts of one whole.

The relationship between the spiritual and the material world is based on the doctrine of analogy which says "as above, so below".

The sacred sites on earth are, in particular, the home of God and gods on earth. For instance, the Matopo Hills (Matomboni) in southwest Zimbabwe was the earthly home of the Queen of Heaven (Mwari/Mwali We Denga), the Rain Goddess of Southern Africa. Internationally renowned archaeologist and historian Paul Hubbard had this to say about the Matopo Hills:

"These hills were formed over a million years ago and Stone Age sites have been found here, dating back more than 1300 years. This was a wonderful place to live if you were a hunter gatherer, as you had wildlife, roots, cereals for food and medicine.

"There are many shrines dedicated to the worship of God before Christianity. Even today, it's one of the most powerful places of Mwali religious worship. God has a presence here. We realise we are walking on sacred ground and I got goose bumps, thinking of all those who were here before me, communing with a universal spiritual presence and leaving invisible but very definite footprints."

Modjadji the Rain Queen of Balovedu is the incarnate daughter of the Rain Goddess (Mwari/Mwali). She derives her power from this Queen of Heaven (Mwari/ Mwali We Denga)

The land is sick and can only be cured by the rain makers and the custodians of sacred sites in South Africa. The sickness of the earth is related to the violation of sacred land in search of minerals and the practice of sorcery.

Thus Modjadji the Rain Queen, traditional leaders and healers must come together with custodians of sacred sites to request African royal ancestors to intercede with God and the gods for rain and the fertility of the land.

This must be followed by dialogue between government and institutions of traditional leadership regarding the ownership, preservation and protection of the land and sacred sites and annual rituals necessary to appease God and the gods. There is an urgent need to address these spiritual grievances to heed the call of Mapungubwe Heritage Foundation for a Mwali National Day of Prayers for rain and fertility of the land.

The prayer day must bring together kings, queens and traditional health practitioners, public representatives and traditional communities. The prayers must be held at designated sacred places.

People must be reminded that God, humanity and nature are one. Traditional leadership holds the land, especially sacred sites, in trust for God, Mwali and the people.

lMotshekga is founder of Kara Heritage Institute