Talk of the Town - - Front Page - LOUISE KNOWLES

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

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