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Visiting a Sangoma – Beads, Bottles and Bones

Visiting a Sangoma – Beads, Bottles and Bones

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsLast week I visited a sangoma, a traditional doctor, in the neighbouring village.  Traditional doctors get a lot of respect and have a lot of power in Basotho culture.  Not just political power, but actual magical power.

They can see the future and talk to ancient ancestors, even the recent dead.  They can cure people of bad luck and curses, as well as place curses on people.  It is generally thought that only the “evil” traditional doctors, called witches, will curse people.  Some curses can even kill the victims, lightning strike is a very popular method I’ve been told.  Luckily, there are no evil witches by my village, but there are several sangomas that do a good business in curing curses, illnesses (often caused by curses) and getting rid of bad spirits.

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