Sacred Ancestral Sites under threat.

Thank you all for great responses to messages and Newsletters.

As we have been visiting our homestead site we are becoming more acutely aware of the pressure on the land. Such is the rush for resources it seems that all land is being seen as something to ‘use’ rather than something we are children of and can therefore only borrow.

For tribal societies this puts huge pressure on their way of life but also their desire to live with their traditions and wisdoms of the land. In Sangoma tradition the land is primal ancestor and the origin of all medicine, not just plants, but the consciousness of all that the land is made of, the rocks, rivers and all that lives within that environment.

This energetic medicine which the land holds is the life line to all the other medicines; it is the life force which the Sangomas hold dear to their hearts as they retreat to the places which sustain them in the work they do through conscious interaction with healing sites.

Two particular sites have come to our attention and which we have been guided to share here.

The first is in the Drakensburg Mountains. A proposal for a cableway for the Drakensberg, to rival that of Table Mountain in Cape Town, was announced at the KZN Tourism Indaba in May by Michael Mabuyakhulu, KwaZulu-Natal’s Economic Development and Tourism MEC. One of the preferred sites for the cableway was in the Mnweni Valley between the Royal Natal National Park and Cathedral Peak sections of the World Heritage Site uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. This area is the home of the amaZizi and amaNgwane communities.

The local community, created the Amangwane Mnweni Hiking and Cultural Centre, which provides accommodation in rondavels for hikers and climbers. There are trained community mountain guides and also visits to four rock art sites, supervised by community custodians. At a recent meeting, the wilderness committee, headmen and elders of the AmaNgwane said “They were unanimous in opposition to the cableway. The cableway will destroy our community and our wilderness (ihlane),” said Mkwazeni Hlongwane, who detailed the various cultural and community activities such as sustainable medicinal plant harvesting that would be adversely affected. “There has been no consultation with the community; we are not happy about the process,” he said.

“If the cableway goes ahead, the plans are going to kill us as a community living below the Drakensberg,” said elder Muzi Mthabela. “When the ancestors were here, the mountains were like this. “Now I am getting old and I see the Drakensberg in the same way as the ancestors. I’m not sleeping at night thinking about the cableway.”

Please email us at if you wish for further details of who to contact if you want to help in the process in some way.

The second site is one which is very dear to our hearts as we frequently work with the site as Sangomas.


It is a sacred site that has been under pressure for some time now; it is undervalued as a sacred site with lack of information or conscious consultation with the Sangomas. From a cultural point of view there are grave sites located there and evidence of an Iron Age settlement. Not to mention the Umngeni river which flows through it and of course Howick waterfall.

In 1973 members of WESSA conducted a massive fundraising effort to purchase a portion of a farm near Howick belonging to a Mr Eric Humphries, the stated aim being “to manage and maintain the reserve in as natural a state as possible so as to provide

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for the needs of Environmental Education”.

It is clear that WESSA can no longer continue to subsidise the Reserve and we have no choice but to start a discussion regarding the options open to WESSA to resolve the financial crisis that is uMngeni Valley.

At this stage, they have not made any decisions or considered any possible solutions, except to say that no solution must be rejected until it has been explored thoroughly and found wanting.

To give you an idea of some of the possible outcomes:

  1. WESSA could try to secure a major donor to fund reserve expenses on an annual basis – WESSA has appointed a fund raiser whose one brief is to explore this possible outcome
  2. WESSA could sell all or part of the reserve – clearly a last ditch solution, but one that has to be included
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If you believe you can help or want to voice your opinion about the site, especially as a sacred site, kindly contact

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We have also been busy creating tours, retreats, and workshops for 2013 and will keep you informed via the newsletter to the various opportunities on offer and as we update our website…

For anyone wanting to learn more about Rituals, Sacred Sites, African tradition, African Shamanism and their personal relationship with their ancestors and how to work with them; the mentorship correspondence course is for you…

‘Those who accomplish great things pay attention to little ones.’ Malawi Proverb

For anyone wanting further guidance or a personal reading and consultation with a Sangoma;

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