Gogo Keagile Kamo Malatji and her husband Ngaka Mpho have been practicing as traditional healers for over a decade. SABC News reporter Sellwane Khakhau visited them at their home in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
Gogo Malatji is also a remuneration and benefits specialist, entrepreneur and psychologist. She says practicing as a healer in traditional and western environments, reveals how the indigenous African way of healing is undermined.
“The health science portion of traditional healing has been neglected. We need to be in a space whereby our people are allowed an alternative method of healing, that in hospitals we are not just allowing western doctors, but we also allow traditional healers. Also, I feel as though, as Africans, we need validation from outside. If an African traditional herbalist says ‘I’ve got this herb. This herb can heal this ailment.’ A lot of people will question them. But if a scientist from abroad says the very same plant heals that ailment, they’ll believe that scientist, because our credibility is always being questioned.”
Her husband Ngaka Mpho Malatji says a wealth of knowledge from the gifts and wonders of mother nature still needs to be explored.
“This is a wood that just comes out of the veld. This gives us what Africa is to us – a sculpture. It sculpts these things for us and we find them there, but they talk to us. They pull you closer to it. It tells you news. It tells you all those kinds of things. They prophesy.”
As a Quantitative Specialist, philosopher and traditional healer, Ngaka Mpho Malatji says it is time the stereotypes surrounding African spirituality and knowledge are dismantled.
“If you go in religious books like the Bible, it goes through the whole lineage of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the son of Joseph, Joseph the son of David – it goes all the way. They acknowledge that in there. However, when you see me going to the graveyard just to clean, it’s like, ‘oh no, that is demonic. That’s satanic!’ When I say ‘Ke nna Kgashalane la bo mamatepa, kenna morwa…..’ I’m literally bringing that lineage to say listen, this gene that is in here has been carried by this lineage.”
African history undermined
In the dusty streets of Klipgat in North West, we found an African Shaman, Shobel’khulu ka Simelane, who has been a healer for over 24 years. He says African history is undermined and regarded as a myth as it is not being properly preserved.
“We are from oral tradition … oral meaning. It was mouth to mouth history and not a documented type of history. Therefore, automatically, it’s easy for people to undermine something that they don’t know because there is no scientific analysis. Therefore, I understand that people undermine it because they don’t know what they are dealing with. If we are talking about spirits, for example, because most of the knowledge as Africans emanates from the spirit beings, which we call ancestral spirits/amadlozi/amathongo. In that sense, it becomes harder for people to believe that these things do actually exist.”
Spiritualist Thembi Nyathi says spirits come to her wherever she goes. Nyathi’s gifts are compelling. She seems to be able to connect with the other side … even over the phone.
Speaking to someone consulting over the phone:
Thembi: “I want you to confirm a few things for me. Were you cleansed after your mother’s passing or both your parents’ passing?”
Thembi: “Is there a child who died in your hands?”
Client: “Yes, my little brother.”
Thembi:” You will cleanse the way your mother is instructing. She says you must cleanse for 15 days.”
Nyathi had this to say about how her gifts manifest.
“In most cases, people think that I see ghosts. Well, that is not the case. I see spirits as normal human beings like you would see them in a dream. Whenever I connect with spirits they come in different emotions. Many would come cold which represents the lack of a tombstone. Many will come emotional which represents the feuding among those who are living. Many will come quiet, which represents the relationship with their lost children or their living children. So, they differ. They come in different emotions and with different messages to offer the living.”
Nyathi says neglecting culture and tradition has consequences.
“My major concern is what’s going to happen to the colonised minds? Because at the end of the day, when life ends for you, that very same person you call a demon will have to come to collect you, and guide you through their world. Now, luckily, spirits are not in the world where they hold grudges. But spirits are also in an environment where they can question and say ‘now look, Thembi, in your life, you were calling me a demon. Today, I need to walk you through so that you are able to be a spirit and help your children.’ ”
Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, a renowned African Shaman, once said, “History should not be thrown away like an old pumpkin. History should not be scoffed on. History should not be mocked.”
Below is the history of African Day :