A Skype session with your traditional healer; this is how the digital world is changing the way we communicate. Many traditional healers are online and they say a spiritual connection has no boundaries.

Gogo Malepena says this is possible as ancestral spirits are not confined to a place. “It is a remote connection; it’s a spirit connection. The messages that come through are things that I would not have sat down and guessed.

“It is literally not me channelling those messages; I am just passing the message.”

Personal sessions are now increasingly being supplemented by telephonic and video consultations. Traditional healer Nomatshali Bodlela says she can connect to ancestors in different ways: “I manifest people’s illnesses whether it is telephonic or face to face. I connect with people’s ancestors whether it is telephonic or face to face. We are in an era where people are reconnecting with their cultural and religious beliefs and they approach it with fear whether people are coming face to face or on the phone.”

This has the blessing of the Traditional Healers Organisation. National Coordinator Phepsile Maseko says they have to move with the times. “If all else in terms of ensuring that you maintain a physical presence to your healer has failed, then you can opt for Skype as an alternative. We have to move with times; there is no way that we can still think that the only measure to help your patients will only have to be physical.”

Clients are also on board.

“At times you find that a person is far and does not trust the healers where they live.”

Despite the convenience, the Traditional Healers Organisation cautions against possible cyber-crimes and advises Izangoma to also connect with their patients face to face in the long run.