I spent the last week in the Transkei, the largest of the old black homelands. It is ‘back to africa’ from the luxuries of RSA, with most of the people living in round mud huts with thatched roofs.
I spent a night with a Sangoma - one of the Xhosa herbalists, who study for a long time to gain the knowledge passed down through Sangomas before them.
Our student Sangoma is a white guy who has lived in the Transkei for about three years, and has a good command of the language..
His mentor is a really nice guy with a magnificent personality, there to listen and counsel folks that come to him. A Sangoma has the same status as a traditional chief, and can be of either sex - Chris’s mentor was married to a female Sangoma.
We watched a traditional Sangoma ‘trance’ dance, from which some of the new ‘rave’ music draws from. There were a total of three Sangomas at the dance, and the qualified ones were beautiful people. Chris still had a little way to go .. however the money he brings to the family makes up for it in their eyes.
The Transkei is considered Home for many of the black South Africans, whether they live in Jo’burg as lawyers of fix cars in Durban. It is the spiritual center for the Xhosa people. The traditional countryside is dotted with little round, blue huts surrounded by subsistence agriculture, the money comes from outside the Transkei or from sales of marijuana.