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Ah Dalibandla - Sangomas of Mthatha

Nathalie Bertrams | Eastern Cape, South Africa

Ah Dalibandla - Sangomas and Traditional Horsemen of Mthatha

The Sangomas of Mthatha are welcoming a group of strangers in a powerful and deeply emotional ceremony. These traditional healers are the guardians of old knowledge and traditional medicine in the Xhosa culture, the spirit mediums between this world and the next, authorities in the channeling of ancestral powers. They represent the weight and conscience of the community. In healing and guiding them, they help to maintain the balance between nature, man and the spiritual world. Through their cultural practise, their ceremonial dances, their trance rituals, the Sangomas are the keepers of a differentiated identity, maintaining the survival and presence of indigenous music, songs and age-old traditions of the rural Xhosa communities.
Traditions and beliefs that transcend time are now co-existing and converging with the modern world. How do people balance their traditions with the need and desire for development and modernisation, fuelled by information technologies? How do globalisation and the aspiration to leapfrog poverty meet with ancient rituals and beliefs? How do people recognize their identity under the pressure of consumer ideologies? How will cultures join?


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