From Karen To Ndau

Surviving an Ego death just to be met with one more challenge – the death of my Race met by the birth of my Heritage.

After two years of putting, it off and waiting, looking for every reason in the book not to do this, I finally find myself here. Ithwasa, is the name of the training process I am currently underway with. It means to accept the calling. While I have spent the last 4 years scrutinizing energy and all there is to know about it, accepting the calling is nothing but a practical implementation of what I have learnt. Across the world we have various cultures that believe in spirits, ancestral rites of passage, reincarnation and things like rituals and traditions. Ithwasa is no different. Based on the same practices of Respect, discipline and gratitude the only difference I find here is a cultural one. My training takes place in Stinkwater, close to Hammanskraal in Gauteng.

My Gobela is Meisie, and I am also being assisted by her previous student, Gift. I find this ironic as I now have a “Gift” at home, work and during ithwasa. Upon my arrival and during this first week It is all about being cleansed and appeasing my ancestors to feel welcomed here. it is also about me accepting submission so that my Gobelas ancestors are willing to assist and feel respected enough to want to help. the worst part so far is not that I am sleeping on the floor or that I use and outside toilet or that I now bath in a bucket. the worst part is not the naked river bathing with chicken blood, or the incredibly horrible foam I must eat twice daily, or the smoke inhalation of herbs meant to clean out my system, or the steam sessions I have had to cleanse the outside of my body from evil spirits or bad luck, no.

The worst part about it is my incredible need to control everything when now I have nothing to control. my need to be teacher’s pet when I cannot understand a word that is being said. the sheer fire I have in my belly for this task, but it seems to move at snail’s pace. I do not know but its day 2 completed and already I want to go home. 88 more days of this, I thing is for sure, the person I will need to be to liv a life after this is certainly a more mature, well rounded, calm and patient MJ. once they start playing drums for me daily the ancestors will enter my body and bring themselves to life. before then I have a few more days of cleansing and basic language training. Tsonga and Sesotho, it is not just the languages that hard. it is the mixing of the different languages when interacting with various other people. the language gets switched to Sepedi, Swati, Zulu and believe it, Afrikaans. I will get the hang of it, and I will make the best of this journey.

I cannot stop thinking about how many people is affected by this choice I have made.

All the love and support I received (even during my moments of selfishness). So far it seems I have 4 ancestors willing me on to do this. Ndau is the most powerful one and the one with the loudmouth, the fighter and the go getter. the one who lets me work and make money. This one is by far the most arrogant of them all but is the one that will take me places.Ndau is the reason for the blood bath in the river.

My name will change. My hair will change, the way I dress will change and the way I speak will for sure evolve into something more. One thing is for sure, I would not be here if it were not for all my family and friends.

THokoza Gogo

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