‘Religion & Culture’

Racism and Apartheid – a very clever system

Apartheid – an ingenious system that most people underestimate

Blacks, whites, Afrikaners, Indians – everyone is affected by racism. Societies response in the last few months seems to have increased – nobody want to be called a racist – seen by #pennysparrow, #GarethCliff and  #RacismMustFall. What most people do not realise is that as evil apartheid was – it as also extremely clever. Anybody who thinks that they are not affected is fooling themselves – and those who do know it, will much more easily fight this scourge.

Apartheid had a pecking order – it was structured in such a way that everyone could be better than somebody – except the last in the scheme – and they seem to be the poor old Shangaan people (not TSONGA). At the top of this shit pile of racism were the white Afrikaner, next the souties (white English speaking people),  Portuguese and Greeks seemed to be next in the pecking line, trumping the Coloreds and Indians. The Zulus seemed to be the top of the black food chain and then the Xhosa people. And so it went on – Apartheid let everyone be better than someone, and that is why racism is still so rife  with each minority thinking “damn at least I am better than them”. Apartheid took racism and made into a art – playing one culture, language, race, colour – any difference it could find, and pitted one against the other. It then made laws to back this evil system up.

While I may have got the pecking order wrong – the basic fact remains – every tribe, culture, language group and person was infected with racism. And today the majority of South African still are – in fact I would go as far as to say the majority of humans are. It is not even something you would notice – it is lurking deep in our psyche. Only with conscious effort (once you accept you are not unscathed), will you start to fight it in yourself. There is no “better” cultures, races or colours – there are only individuals who make choices everyday to be better than they were yesterday, to recognise that we are one people of many flavors.

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What is witchcraft?

What is witchcraft?

Witchcraft in South Africa is a large part of daily life – what is witchcraft – in Africa is is a complex mixture of western religion, traditional African beliefs (from Sangoams and witch doctors) and, I am sad to say, criminal elements – I say this because if you do a search on witches or love spells or money spells – you will see hundreds of links to Traditional healers and self professed Sangomas. They claim to be able to heal any ailment from aids to a screwed up love life. Lost love spells seem to top the list. Not to mention that the poor old tokolohes seem to bear the brunt of any bad luck – deserved or not. Seems to me that tokoloshes are the biggest victims – easier to blame all our shit on the Tokoloshe.

How many of these Sangomas have gone through proper training, and how many healers are actually healers rather than con men. Soccer teams, gangsters and mothers all seek the help of Sangomas and traditional healers – lost love spells, money spells, spells against bullets and spells to make your penis larger. One has to wonder at the gullibility of our African people – in saying that – an international search for witches and spells will bring up a huge number of information about witches and witchcraft – how to be a witch? witchcraft school online? witchcraft beliefs? How to witchcraft? sorcery? Seems that the rest of the world is equally enamoured with the occult and how to manipulate people and objects. Maybe everyone wants to be a sorcerer’s apprentice – Sangoma rituals is a very popular subject – perhaps this is just curiosity – but somehow I doubt it!

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Makoti – new wife to be.

When you bring a woman to your mother and fathers house for the night there are certain African customs that must be followed. If the woman is just your girlfriend she must leave the house before it gets light. If she is to be you wife she must rise at first light and begin to work. She is now responsible for cleaning and sweeping the yard. She is to wash all the dishes and pots. She is to sweep the house and do all the chores that her mother in law to be would be doing. This includes fetching water (sometimes very far from the house) collecting wood and tending to the young ones needs. This work will often go on until after lunch.

She will told what to do by anyone older than her. Many young men who wish to get married will rather wait until they have their own house – as this custom brings with it many challenges and conflicts.Originally this custom had many good qualities. It allowed the family to get to know the new wife to be. Whilst doing the chores the Mam (Mother) could speak with her and gauge her suitability and qualities. If the girl does not do her chores properly Mam will say nothing to the girl or the rest of the family. She will wait until she is alone with her son, and will then tell him what she thinks of the girl. The girl will know if the family likes her as they will help, talk and joke. If the family does not like her, or she is cheeky and full of nonsense,  she will be left to do all the chores alone, whilst the family makes more and more mess for her to clean up.

The first time you bring a girl home the son will need to speak with his father first and then his Mam. The son will bring the girl home during the night – with a new broom, which he will keep in his room. The couple will spend the night together and at first light the girl will rise and begin to sweep the yard with the new broom. Mam and Father will the act surprised, asking “who is sweeping, who is this girl?”. The son will often stay in his room until his new wife to be has finished all the chores. (mostly because he is embarrassed by how his girl gets treated)

Often, in the modern world, this custom is abused, relegating the girl to slave status in a power play between mother and daughter in law to be. This custom is practised by almost all African Cultures. In the townships, close to the big cities this custom has faded away – and is only practised in rural Africa – the woman who practise the old customs and traditions are known as “home girls” African culture and African customs around marriage custom and wedding customs are great – they instil the older values of family and ubuntu – although some of them, I suspect , are outdated and are not really woman orientated.

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Newborns thrown against the wall.

Many mothers go home to give birth. The mother does not go to hospital, but has the baby in their grandmothers house. In some cases there is a sinister reason for this.

In families that have sangomas or witches, the mother is watched to see the gift that the new child has. During the mothers pregnancy the sangoma will closely follow the progress of the mother and child. When it is time for the delivery of the child, the mother goes to the grandmothers house where only sangomas are allowed.

The child is born. The sangoma holds the new born in a special way, trying to determine the gift, or power that the newborn has. The child is then thrown to the wall. If the newborn has the gift, he or she is able to cling to the wall. If not the baby will drop to the floor, usually dead, from the impact. The mother and family is then told that the child died in child birth.

Sounds like murder to me! Sangomas also help deal with the tokaloshe using muti

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Do not sweep at night!

The Tswana people, amongst others, believe that sweeping your house or yard at night will attract witches. It is a very strong belief and is prevalent throughout South Africa. If you sweep at night the witch will easily use your broom to ride on. (Although a witch can even ride on a slice of bread or anything else)

Every day – morning and afternoon, the house and yard are swept. Cleanliness is one reason, but the driving reason is to wipe all tracks from the yard. This means that in the morning you will be able to see if the tokoloshie or a witch or a totsie (criminal) has been on your property.

The belief by many Africans in witchcraft drives and controls their lives. Every aspect of their lives is acted out with witchcraft in mind. If something goes wrong it is the tokoloshe – or the ancestors calling for a sacrifice. If something is needed – a spell will be sought out from the local sorcerer. Need love in your life – a love spell by a powerful witch is the answer – need money – try a lotto spell – every possible part of life can be controlled with spell and witchcraft. Revenge spells, spell to help stop bullets, spells that will make you score goals – and so it goes on. Of course all of these spells need money – got to pay the witch doctor or isangoma – and it is a thriving online business.

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Sangoma Initiation Ritual

Cruel part of the rite of becoming a witch doctor, or Sangoma.

This is how it was told to me. From the brother of a female initiate who was asked to help in a Sangoma initiation ceromony.

I was there, I saw things that I must believe. Eish… I would not like to be a witch doctor. I have seen this on the the night she is to be tested. She must take 3 goats – and she must, with her teeth, bite the neck and tear the vein, and then drink the blood. 3 times, 3 goats. They were alive.

She must then take the bile from the liver – what is this thing called – the liver? I must then take the bile and I must hide it. She must find it. I can hide it anywhere, on the roof, in the water, far away – it does not matter. If she can find it she has the powers. (more…)

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