TRADITIONAL RITUAL AT BEACH RAISES CONSTERNATION
ATRADITIONAL Xhosa gathering involving ritual sacrifice and ancestral worship alarmed residents of Sandawana apartments when they stayed for the night and started a fire or
shisa nyama (braai) in the dune bush at West Beach.
“We are not doing anything wrong,” sangoma Constance Ndumbela said when Talk of the Town approached the group to find out what was happening.
“People in Port Alfred treat us like dogs. They don’t respect Xhosa culture. We don’t know if it’s about skin colour, or rich and poor,” she said with the help of interpreter Sandile Zondani.
They arrived on Tuesday night after Ndumbela had a dream in which the ancestors told her to come to Port Alfred.
Ndumbela, who is also a Zionist, said she saw Jesus Christ in her dream.
One of the woman in the group was learning how to become a sangoma and had to be linked to the ancestors.
They performed a ritual slaughter of a goat in the sea as a sacrifice to the ancestors.
“This is the only way we have to communicate with the ancestors. That and rituals like drinking traditional beer,” Zondani said.
Residents summoned the police, the municipality and the fire brigade when the group started a fire to cook and eat the goat in the morning while a large pile of camping bedding was stacked on the sidewalk, which may have made residents think a permanent camp was being set up.
Sandawana resident Petrus Botha said he was concerned that the sojourners would put up zozos (zinc shacks) in the bush.
“We are from Grahamstown, we needed the ocean in order to perform the ritual,” said Zondani.
But they said the municipality had told them they needed a permit to stay where they were camping, which they did not have.
Ndumbela said: “We did not use our ritual drums out of respect for the residents. We are waiting for our transport to arrive and when we leave we will clean up. But they are trying to undermine our culture.”.
Municipal health services official Mcingeli Madlebe, who was at the scene, said he could not comment on the issue.
Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa had not commented by the time of going to press.
HAPPY CAMPERS: Participating in a traditional ritual at West Beach on Wednesday morning, were Grahamstown devotees, from left, Sidney Xahse, Sandile Zondani, Simbongile Tshunungwa, Thembeka Linayi and sangoma Constance Ndumbela with goat skin, a panga and traditional three-legged pot