An ancient part of the Sangoma tradition is to take care and honour sacred sites.
One such important site is the water fall in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal known as ‘Nogqaza’ meaning ‘the tall one’, this site isnt only sacred to the Zulu but before that also the San people.
Sangomas connect with the site deeply and often go there for ceremony to connect with the land spirit which is known to take the form of a giant serpent; there are cave paintings in the Drakensburg which show imagery of such a being.
The Sangomas also respect this place as a space of the ancestors, where all ancestral spirits meet and can be connected with. Howick waterfall also sits on a ley line and is a powerful point where other lines cross and meet.
The waterfall now flows less than it used to due to the damming of the uMngeni at Midmar, and during the winter season is reduced quite considerably. The uMngeni river itself is sacred with special sites all along it, including the waterfall; uMngeni meaning ‘the entrance or gateway’.
A walk was started on the 1 st of May to highlight the plight of rivers and document some of the issues the rivers are facing; this particular walk being from source to sea of the uMngeni river. The founder Sangomas from Africa Shaman Experience joined the walkers at Howick waterfall to hold a ceremony in honour of this asking for blessings and help from the land spirit to heal the river and the hearts of all who spend time with the river and thrive from its waters.
Blessings and protection were also invoked for the walkers who are heading to towards the mouth of the river and the Indian ocean.
The ceremony was beautiful and Nogqaza showed all of its power and beauty with a sacred rainbow where the water hit the pool at the bottom. We lit rainbow candles and said prayers to honor the land spirit and mother earth, asking for her to hear our words and feel our heart felt love and gratitude for all that she gives us through all her powerful beautiful rivers.
We drummed, sang and connected asking the ancestral spirits that make us all kindred to bless each and every person and help us to live in harmony with our mother ancestor; Ma Earth.
Then we left the walkers and started to make our way up the foretsed gorge back to the top of the waterfall.
On our way we reflected on the ritual and remembered the ancestors message to us all.
“You are never alone and each being walks beside you whether in the wind or through the water and rocks. Bless your kindred and give thanks, knowing that each day the love of your being draws all energy to a space where the veils that seem to divide you fall away and you can embrace each others heart.”