A reality TV show on the lives of young traditional diviners sounds like a wholesome docuseries-type of show. Showcasing traditional African practices as we imagine our ancestors experienced them. Izangoma Zodumo is nothing like that.
The controversial Mzansi Magic TV show now also screening on Showmax is a look into the lives of modern sangomas who slay, and social media is not happy.
We spoke to a young sangoma and got her reaction on the show and social media’s reaction to it. Because of the controversial nature of the show and the strong opinions it has raised she has asked to remain anonymous.
What does a sangoma look like anyway?
It’s 2020 and we’ve accepted many changes in our worlds, however, our expectations of how izangoma should look and behave, seem to have remained unchanged.
*Linda may look like the traditional sangoma, but she says understands that not everyone does and they don’t have to either.
“Being isangoma doesn’t turn you into some supernatural being. It’s a calling like being a doctor or a nurse. They look different, have their own personal style, so do we,” she said.
While many people on social media do not share her views and have criticised the way sangomas are shown in Izangoma Zodumo, Linda says it’s easy to create unrealistic expectations for people when you don’t really understand what their role actually is.
Izangoma are not witches
One of the most controversial views expressed by the newly minted reality TV stars and Sangomas of Izangoma Zodumo was that they have the power to bewitch others.
One shocking instance was when uGogo Maweni stated blankly that she could, and would, bewitch romantic partners if things didn’t go her way, adding that she was vengeful and proudly so.
Many social media users expressed that this set Africans back in their understanding of ubungoma.
Linda says the conversation needs to move forward from just simple black and white, good and evil. We need to recognise that there is always a grey area.
“No one is absolutely one way. We all have a duality, two sides of a coin or whatever. I don’t know these women personally so I can’t say anything about who they are, but I understand that people have both the power to hurt and heal. It’s a choice people make. Once you get used to walking on the ‘dark side’, using your power to manipulate situations and get your way, it can become difficult to live a normal life and form relationships. People start being afraid of you which only makes you bitter and though it isn’t a hard fact, that is where I think people go wrong,” she says.
‘It’s something we need to see’
Opinionistas, including Ntsiki Mazwai, have also shared their concerns over the show and have even called for it to be cancelled, but Linda says, Izangoma Zodumo is something we need to see.
— Ntsikizayiboni (@ntsikimazwai) October 8, 2020
“All this mystery and assuming that izangoma are these strange people that aren’t like everyone else builds barriers. People are afraid to even consider African spirituality because it seems to them like something weird and foreign to their modern lifestyles, but in reality, it is not. Izangoma live in 2020 too, we are also moving with the times, we like nice things, nice clothes, we have friends, relationships, rivalries and professional jealousy.”
“We are like you. Whether you like the izangoma that are on the show or not, they are real and practice. The whole world doesn’t have to like you or approve of you for idlozi (the ancestral spirit) to work through you. If you can accept that in priests, it shouldn’t be so hard to accept it in izangoma,” says Linda.
#izangomazodumo is so upsetting & so disrespectful. I actually am fuming . Yhu asibonwa as abantu abamnyama shem .
— Bhut’ Masasa (@MsMasasa) October 8, 2020