Sunday, November 20, 2011

Traditional healer ceremony

Life has a tendency to throw little surprises your way every now and then.  I was accompanying a journalist from Argentina around Port Elizabeth for five days and as we were walking along Shark Rock Pier at Hobie Beach I spotted a couple of people next to the pier on the water's edge performing some kind of ceremony.

We approached and respectfully waited for them to finish before we asked them what they were doing.  They were traditional Xhosa healers performing a ceremony whereby they talk to God and their ancestors.  The Xhosa are Christens, but they also believe in their ancestors and that they ancestors watch over them as well.  Even though they go to church on Sundays they also come to the ocean at times to connect with God and the ancestors without the congregation around them.  During the ceremony they also throw beads and coins into the ocean as offerings to their ancestors while asking for their blessings.

The senior traditional healer leading the ceremony was a very friendly lady called Nombolelo.  She was more than willing to explain to us what they were doing as well as to pose for a photograph.


  1. How one connects to their God should be as diverse as humans are. A lucky crossing of cultures for you and your guest.

    Love the bead work.

  2. I spent several years growing up in the Eastern Cape when we first immigrated to SA from what was then Rhodesia. I remember seeing scenes similar to this, but did not know the symbolism or purpose. Thank you for sharing this with us and for reminding me of that time! Your pictures are marvellous, especially the first and last!