Tag: Zimbabwe

Mandaza Kandemwa

Mandaza Kandemwa is a Nganga, a Bantu shaman or medicine man, in the Shona and Ndebele traditions of Zimbabwe. He carries with great heart the Central African tradition of healing and peacemaking.

I was introduced to Mandaza by Jeannette McCullough and I cherish the time that I have been able to spend with him.

Mandaza Kandemwa

Mandaza regularly travels North America providing an opportunity for people to gather to experience an indigenous understanding of the interrelatedness of healing, peacemaking and community.

You are an elder and you need to, you must, begin to tell your story.
– Mandaza

A former anti-apartheid activist from Zimbabwe, Mandaza is one of the truly exceptional men of our time, a warm and generous teacher and healer with magnificent gifts and an entourage of spirits, a man of deep and profound love, laughter and wisdom.

Educated in the western traditions of what was then colonial-era, Rhodesia, Mandaza was called by the ancestors to the old ways and taught the exceptional art and craft of being a true healer. He has the skill to look into an individuals’ heart, even if he has not met them before, and thereby awaken the process of initiation that removes the obstacles between the initiate and the spirits.

People come to Mandaza from all over southern Africa to receive healing and initiation. He does not charge for his services.

In Africa people try to offer a donation in return for his healing work, but he works with the poorest of the poor, who have sometimes walked great distances to be with him, and it is more likely that he will have to feed them than that they will be able to pay him.

Between Mandaza and Simakuhle, his wife, they have many children and a large kinship network and community that are dependent upon them for food and spiritual nourishment.

The challenges to this work are considerable. Starvation is a persisting and deepening reality in Zimbabwe, as in much of Africa. Over half the country is already living with daily hunger. Drought and political instability have left Zimbabwe in shambles. The HIV and AIDS rate is one of the highest in the world. Basic food items are traded on the black market and there is irregular access to basic items, including gasoline and cement. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and without means of support.

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You are an Elder and we need you to tell your story

“You are an Elder and we need you to tell your story.”

These words from Mandaza Kandemwa, medicine man or Nganga from Zimbabwe, came as a total shock to me. Me an Elder?

So how did this come about? I had come to listen to Mandaza (Augustine) Kandemwa speak at a gathering here in Toronto on October 2, 2006 in the Peace Lounge at OISE on the University of Toronto campus and I had hoped to meet him.

So who exactly is Mandaza (Augustine) Kandemwa. Here is a picture of Mandaza with his good friend Michael Ortiz Hill.

Michael Hill with Madaza

Bantu Nganga

Mandaza is a traditional Bantu healer or medicine man or Nganga in the water spirit tradition – the Central African tradition of healing and peacemaking. He is trained in the Shona and Ndebele traditions. Mandaza Kamdemwa brings ancient wisdom from the African healing practices and peacemaking teachings of Zimbabwe.

He is known internationally for his work as peacemaker, a healer and a teacher of African wisdom. He has traveled extensively throughout Southern Africa, the United States, and Canada lecturing at universities and other venues. He has co-authored Gathering in the Names – A Journey into the Land of African Gods , one of few books that discuss Shona cosmology and traditional healing practices. He is featured in Andrew Cameron Bailey and Connie Baxter Marlow’s soon-to-be-released and uplifting film “In Search of the Future. Where have we been? Where are we going? What do the Wise Ones Know?”

Dare / Counil

Mandaza introduced American nganga Michael Ortiz Hill and Deena Metzger (writer and medicine woman) to the idea of Daré, or Council, in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, in the mid 1990s. In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Mandaza has re-imagined a tribal form of the Central African tradition of ceremonial healing and council in an urban setting. Daré is a community created when individuals join together with spirit for the purpose of healing and peacemaking.

Telling My Story

Sooooo, when a man such as Mandaza says something, I listen. So having him tell me that I needed to tell my story, and as an Elder no less. Sure, there are days that I feel that I am getting older but it has never entered my mind that I am an Elder in the accepted sense of the word Elder.

So I have started to tell my story here by telling what he has said to me. There is more to come as I figure this out.