Book Review – A Sangoma’s Story


by Melanie Reeder (Penguin) ISBN: 9780143026167

‘My body has two lives,’ says traditional healer, Elliot Ndlovu, ‘the spiritual as well as the physical.’

Reeder, a well-known magazine writer, relates the story of this charismatic sangoma in a clear, readable style that avoids the academic approach and draws the reader into another world – a world of storm chasing and magical serpents and bewitched bones.

Ndlovu found his calling as a young man, woken by an apparition sent by his ancestors. From that moment, he followed a path of suffering and knowledge to embrace his cultural heritage, to be a healer of both minds and bodies.

Surprisingly, his path also led to meeting Queen Elizabeth and a brush with Hollywood. In fact, he is a bit of a celebrity, dividing his time between Thendela village in rural KwaZulu-Natal and the luxurious Fordoun Hotel and Spa in the midlands, where he consults.

Ndlovu’s message is essentially to protect our natural resources and to practice Ubuntu in all aspects of life: from relationships to religion.  A Sangoma’s Story captures the essence of both this fascinating man and Zulu culture with poignancy and insight.

Anthony Ehlers

3/5

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