Friday, May 30, 2008


As I write about my journey out of Cape Town to Zululand last summer, all the Sangomas I met come to mind. This leads me to ponder on what I have learn’t from each one. It appears as if they expect my ancestors to teach me herbal lore. This does happen. Imagine how much more we can learn if we were more willing to share our knowledge, as well?

From what I’ve seen, the twasas who are not taught the Sangoma’s medicine stays a twasa for a long time. Yes, there is a process that happens within, a personal and spiritual growth that needs to occur. There are those of us who are ready and hunger for knowledge of our indigenous herbs, knowledge that is held back by those who keep it.

Oft times, in my case, it has been exacerbated by the fact that we didn’t understand each other’s languages too well. This takes time. I now look forward to meeting people who understand my language and hold this knowledge I seek, soon. The time has come to reduce the amount of herbs I need brought in from other countries to perform the everyday miracles I’m accustomed to. This is my home country and this is where I’d like to source my herbal ingredients for my remedies.

While in Zululand, there were times people were queuing out my door, waiting to consult me and waiting for their muti. This is because each person will receive a remedy made particularly for them. This method of treatment works very well. Word spreads and with it, reputation. More people come for healing. How many more people I would have been able to help with a better and more complete knowledge of the indigenous herbs.
Come then, Sangomas, Inyangas, Herbalists of South Africa, come let us learn from each other.


Vusi Moloi said...

Dear Karen,

I just discovered your blog and we are both in blogger and are using the same template. How strange does that get? What is the statistical probability of that happening in our case? I am a shepherd boy who should be herding goats and cows and here I am behind the keyboard deep in cyberspace. Anyways the purpose of my commentary is twofold:

(1) To commend you on the use of this platform to share your unique experiences as well as the peaks and valleys you encounter along the way. As both a writer and a medicine expert you are in a vantage point of enriching your unique perspective. All the power to you sisi omuhle.

(2) With respect to the frustration you are seemingly experiencing, with regards to the acquisition of herbal knowledge, I would say you are a in a radically different domain with its own set of syntactic and linguistic rules. I empathize when you find yourself disadvantaged in that fashion but there is nothing stopping you from advancing as long as you consistently put more emphasis on the mastery of the syntax as well as the wherewithal that will enable you to conjugate the African derivitatives in order to get at the root of what you are looking for. Remember that the African domain uses different conjugation rules which are foreign not only to the uninitiated but even the natives themselves i.e. while the Latin languages like Spanish conjugate infinitives, the Zulus conjugate the infinitives, the nouns, the verbs, and the gerunds to name but a few. It's the language of the gods. That's why they are called O Zulu meaning the people of the heavens. However you seem to be on the right path and I wish you well.

Sala kahle sisi.
Vusi Moloi

Chantal Collings (Freelance Writer) said...

Hi Karen,

I have just found your blog, but I see you have not added to it in a while...

Your words resonated with me, I am in Jhb and have also, as a white woman, received the calling - and I am also a writer... I've been experiencing much frustration on all levels.

So this is just a shout out to see if you are there and if so, perhaps we can touch base and share some learnings? ;-)


Aja said...

Hi Karen,

My name is Aja O'Gorman and I am currently working on the development of a documentary television show with Endangered Culture Productions about different tradtional ceremonies and traditions of marriage around the world.

One of the cultures that we would like to explore is that of the Zulu. I would really be much obliged if me or my colleague could speak to you. We are looking to gether some information about locations to film, and contacts that may be able to help us get in touch with local tribes.

If you think you might be of help, or know someone who could, I would really be very very obliged.

My email is

Thanks for your time either way,


Karen Parkin said...

Vusi Moloi
Dear Shepherd Boy in cyberspace
In the 2 years since your comment on my blog, I have learned a lot and still am. You have a rich command of the English language, a learned shepherd boy you are.
Thank you for your encouragement.

Karen Parkin said...

Chantal Collings (Freelance Writer)

Hi Chantal
I am blogging again and found your comment from almost 2 years ago.
I would love to share with you.
In fact you can even find me on facebook now.
Hope to hear from you again.

james buti said...

Hi guys I'm having tough time with my ancestal I'm having strange vision's fustraction I once dreamed of a snake and big one please www.JBNHLAPO@GMAIL.COM