Dr Zukiswa Mvoko (Mkhulu Majola) of the African National Healers Association says the gift of ubungoma has been taken lightly and finds the interest to broadcast traditional healing on television unnecessary.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE about the prominence of ubongoma content airing on channels such as Moja Love and Mzansi Magic, Mkhulu Majola said the shows jeopardise authenticity.
“I’m not happy with the way the media has broadcast the lives of sangomas. It reflects negatively on the originality of ubungoma and African healers at large. It is causing more confusion and more segregation among us as blacks, and to those who are finding their way or themselves and who they are with regards to [their] spirituality.”
Mkhulu Majola said because other people may not have guidance throughout their spiritual journey to shed light on what is the correct way, watching the shows could possibly influence their perception of ubungoma.
“For me, the sad part is we are still being controlled by the colonial system where previously we were called ‘witches’ and forbidden to do anything.
“We were told not to voice or stand out as healers. Now they are giving us the opportunity to come out and show the world who we are and what we do, but it is at a selective state. It is at a point or an objective of destruction. It’s not the point of building a child who doesn’t know anything about ubungoma.”
She said people need to ask themselves very important questions about why there is a demand for reality shows that highlight ubungoma.
“All these live shows, most of the time are managed by white people, which for me is a huge concern and that should tell you the fight is still huge. It’s not Uhuru yet.
“We healers — most of us who are on the authentic side — respect and know what to expose and what not to expose.”
Mkhulu Majola felt strongly that the broadcasters and production houses behind some popular sangoma-based reality shows treat the practice too “casually”.
“We need to understand what the objective is. Why all of sudden the media wants to come to us and say ‘ please come forth and tell us what sangomas do’.”
Mkhulu Majola said the gift has been taken lightly, and there should be a way to minimise publicising it.
“There are African healers, sangomas, shamans, and Indian shamans. There are also psychics. Most of them are on the Western side. There’s Chinese healers. There are different types of healers and the question is why is there more concentration on ubungoma than the other healers?
Speaking about what she thinks needs to be done to ensure the sacredness is kept intact, the traditional healer said there was a need for regulation of the content aired.
“It starts with us healers, who have a federation of healers that governs most things and operations. The reason everyone feels they can do whatever they please is because there’s nobody to whom they are accountable. You look at the industries of lawyers and doctors, their licences can be revoked.
“The same applies to us. We need that body that will govern things for us. While we are trying to do that, I think from the grassroots level let’s try not to entertain or allow ourselves to be used in these shows for the benefit of destroying our lovely gift.”