Mphathelene

She’s not big, this woman from South Africa. Yet as she stands there, giving her speech, looking down on me from the depths of her soul, she appears to grow. Even though she uses many local words, and even though her native accent is quite strong, the way she directs her story full of emotion straight to me, has an incredible impact. Her message is clear: we should connect with our ancestors. Sacred sites are places where we can contact them. Europeans as well as the younger generation of Africans should learn to reappreciate that, and respect that there are powers stronger than ourselves.

Tonight, we on opposite sides of the dinner table. She eats full of respect. “When we leave on a trip, we pray that our ancestors join us. Sometimes when you are somewhere and you feel uncomfortable, that means your ancestors are not here. Or when something breaks by accident.” She sniffs a tobacco, and shares some with me. She explains also how in dreams, your ancestors show you that you should pick up a certain plant. Then, if you do and bring it home, someone will soon come to you house who is sick. This plant will heal that person. Nothing strange about that, but we forgot to use it.

This week is our first meeting. I’m hoping more’s to come.

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