translated from Ndebele by Mandla Tshuma

Failure to secure employment after graduating from universities and colleges, infertility, chronic illnesses and constant involvement in road accidents by indigenous black Zimbabweans, among other far-fetched misfortunes, are nothing but indications that ancestral spirits are in pursuit of one’s life, a senior traditional healer has shared his opinion.

Speaking recently to a Bulawayo-based weekly tabloid UMthunywa, Mrs. Olly Masuku, a popular inyanga of Njelele Village in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province, said ancestral spirits could visit any African person regardless of their beliefs, social status and level of education.

“Even if the individual is a worshipper going to church, ancestral spirits will still pursue him,” Mrs. Masuku told UMthunywa.

“An ancestral spirit is the one that pursues a person; the person has no powers to pursue the former. Many people who are troubled by ancestral spirits are those who usually try to shy away from them. You can never run away from izinyoka (snakes) or ancestral spirits no matter under what circumstances,” Mrs. Masuku further explained.

Mrs. Masuku, who is also a renowned trainer of other traditional healers and seers, added that even if individuals study until they become professors, become wealthy, fly in airplanes, their family ancestral spirits still pursue them day and night. She stressed that amadlozi – ancestral spirits – are just inescapable as long as someone is an African.

The staunch traditionalist and seasoned inyanga warned indigenous black Zimbabweans against disregarding the authority of ancestral spirits, adding that such a “dangerous” action was causing untold misfortunes and a myriad of curses in the lives of many.

She said people must instead honour their family ancestral spirits so they could open up success and prosperity gateways in their lives. Honouring amadlozi, according to the inyanga includes ukuthethela (a traditional ceremony of communicating with the departed), among other traditional rituals, depending on the tribal cultures and customs across communities in the country.

The veteran Mrs. Masuku said a number of people including the would-be traditional healers continue to flock her homestead in search of spiritual services, an indication that amadlozi are a reality.

“A child, whose father did not pay lobola for her mother, usually suffers ancestral spiritual attacks, as ancestral spirits from her mother’s maiden family will be fighting those of her father’s family. In such a spiritual warfare as this, spirits from her mother’s family usually prevail over those from the father’s family,” she explained further.

Explaining how the training process after signs of spiritual possession have been discovered takes place, Mrs. Masuku had this to say: “The training of traditional healers differs because amadlozi are also different. For some people it can take three months while for others it could stretch to a year. Some people have ancestral spirits that are easily brought out during the training process (ukuthwasiswa), which are called mhondoro; while others have ancestral spirits that cause them to suffer swollen feet, called ndawu.

Meanwhile, a graduate from Mrs. Masuku’s traditional school, Mr. Nicholas Moyo of Plumtree, told UMthunywa what made enroll with the training. “I used to work for the national army for a number of years from the days of the liberation struggle but I quit because at some point in time for nine consecutive months my name could not be located on the pay roll.”

“I tried to go and look for a job in Johannesburg but that was not successful either. I got involved in a serious car accident in which I suffered a fractured leg. After that I came back home and consulted osiyazi (those who know) – traditional seers – who told me I was supposed to undergo spiritual training and simply accept my people’s ancestral spirits,” he elaborated.

Asked for a comment, one Christian man from a Pentecostal church said, what Mrs Masuku claims to be the indications of the presence of amadlozi in the life of a person, could be true. However, he added that such spirits simply need to be cast out in the name of Jesus instead of entertaining them.