Ubizo and Mental Illness

Nokulinda Mkhize (left)
Nokulinda Mkhize (left)

Last Saturday the KwaMuhle Museum in Durban hosted sangoma, Nokulinda Mkhize, who spoke on the topic of ubizo (ancestral calling) and mental illness. According to Mkhize there are a lot of physiological and mental considerations to take into account when one undergoes intwaso (initiation), as often a person will experience severe mental distress when their ancestors are trying to communicate the signs of the calling to them. There is also the issue of these ‘symptoms’ or messages being confused with mental illness. In her talk Mkhize, who now works as a gobela (a sangoma who initiates those with ubizo) looks at differentiating the way in which ubizo presents itself from how certain mental illnesses present themselves.

Click here to listen to a recent interview given by Nokulinda Mkhize on the subject of ubizo and mental illness.

Photograph courtesy of Twitter: @noksangoma

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