After two weeks, I made a tearful parting from the White Lions in Timbavati and from Linda Tucker, Jason Turner, Harmony Khosa and all those who tirelessly offer their work and love to the Global White Lion Trust, my extended family.
The night before, Linda held a beautiful ritual of 25 souls who gathered to pray for the freedom of all animals. Many prayers traversed the globe as we were asked to hold vigil until Freedom Day, April 27, for Nyanga ( Medicine Woman) my sister, the White Lioness held at the Johannesburg Zoo, while her fate was being decided. I was fortunate enough to receive a divination from Sara, Maria Khosa’s sister the Lioness Shaman who walked through the lions to rescue Linda, and who now shows up as the Leopard on the land. Sara is a Sangoma ( Medicine Woman) in the Shangaan tribe, Here divination is called throwing the bones, and the information is derived from a set of bones that have been carved into various shapes.
Andrew Harvey Sacred Activist was there with a group of Spiritual Warriors and I was honored to share the back seat of a Land Rover with him, bouncing up and down, on a surreal drive at sunset watching White Lions in the distance, shape shifting into what I saw as Unicorns becoming blobs of golden light that danced among the trees. I asked him if I needed to pinch myself. All the while Andrew and I discussed the importance of truth and integrity in the so called New World of “Medicine” especially indigenous. Fascinating, exciting, invigorating and hopeful. What an inspiring leader!
I headed back to Johannesburg, where I met with the first member of the group to arrive. We visited Credo’s abandoned village of his art work in Soweto, where Lebo our knowledgeble guide gave us thorough teachings of the sculptures. There he introduced us to “the old lady” a White Owl who lived in the rafters, a faithful guardian of Credo’s work. Later lunch in Soweto where we listened to the vibrant yet soulful singing of buskers while we ate traditional South African food in front of Nelson Mandela’s old house. I was invited to sing with them which I did in the Zulu I could remember, it was a beautiful moment. In the afternoon we visited my favorite orphanage run by a true angel in human form, Hannah, where we shared play time and cuddles …lots and lots of them, and as always I left my heart there with those vulnerable children, till the next time.
The next day we met with Mandaza Kandemwa who came from Zimbabwe and the group of healers, beautiful souls who accompanied him. With them was also Leslie Fell ( Spiritual mentor) who plays an important part in assisting elders like Mandaza, to travel and do their work. After a nights rest and a simple ritual to the spirit of the road where ash, alcohol and a few coins were layed down on the earth to ask for safe travels we climbed aboard our 14 seater bus with Sipho our driver. It turned out that he had been present as a child during the Soweto riots, holding as a remembrance, a bullet embedded in his spine, which if removed may impair his ability to walk. At 14 years old he carried the mark of his initiation, that and the violent atrocities he witnessed to his family members. He was indeed in the right place on this Sacred Journey of Coming Home and healing ~in “the drivers seat.”
Mandaza Kandemwa Svikoro (Traditional Healer) and Mhondoro (one in constant prayer for others) is a gentle man who is a carrier of many earth and water spirits. As an international peacemaker we were honored to have his presence on this historic journey. His constant teachings to be in living prayer for others, unconditional love, and his love and care for all children as his own was a deep teaching. The real deal who walks his talk with humbleness was a message for us all in right use of power and integrity. The Lions showed me the same teachings. We arrived at the home of Credo Mutwa, and his wife Virginia in Kuruman late in the afternoon. Credo was painting a scene of warriors on a creme rondaval. I immediately noticed the drawing of Simba the Lion, Mandaza’s tribe. “Mandaza is here Baba ,I kept my promise.” I whispered gently. In his simple blue overall and black gum boots this humble great teacher turned to greet us. and he immediately launched into one of the ancient stories of time.
History was made when Mandaza and our beloved elder Credo Mutwa, High Sanusi, arguably one of the greatest repository of African cultural knowledge and the so -called Guardian of the “Umalando” Africa’s secret knowledge met. The two men shared their love of Africa, honored each other with healing words of affirmation and we all laughed together, a great healing took place, as Condor and Eagle and two lions met on the holy Land of Mama Africa. Chairs were brought to where Baba was painting and we all gathered around him to listen. Judging by the faces of the group, dreams were coming true right before my eyes as the golden sun set over the veldt and we listened to Baba Mutwa’s spell binding voice that transported us on a magic carpet to ancient times gone by. A circle of true love was instantly formed. “Indaba My Children”
The next day we returned to their home. Virginia said it was the first time in weeks she had slept peacefully. Two government council dignitaries showed up while we were there. It was the first time Virginia, Credo’s wife said that the council men had come to visit. “They have been invited several times” she said. We spoke of the importance of supporting the Mutwas in their project of a Healing Clinic and Hospice for HIV and AIDS pateints. Virginia has been waiting for water and electricity for several months. The two men made promises to us to follow through and I watched as they visibly transformed watching this legendery leader and Spiritual Healer, Credo Mutwa tell the myths and stories of the ancient ones.
We don’t say goodbye here, just until next time and after a morning of name giving by Credo and gift exchanges we made our way to the red sands of the Kalahari desert to meet with my friends Belinda and Oeliset, and the Khomani Bushmen of the Kalahari. I invite people on the Sacred Journeys to sit with the Bushmen. “We want people to hear our stories” is what I have been asked. And thats what we do. We set up our tents. The fire always lit, is the central point, the church, so to speak, the place of counsel, family, food, heat, comfort and life force. It stayed alight throughout the three days and when the thunder, lightening and healing rain came on the thrid day a fire was still able to be lit.
I have a loose structure for the journeys and now so completely understand the oxymoron to have NO expectations, because anything could happen along the way as it does. Spirit works in it’s own time as we know, another profound teaching of letting go into the mystery and magic of ones life. As I have also learned the Kalahari is a harsh teacher. It shows us the magic, the breathtaking sunsets, the wild horses playing in the red dunes. And then the underlying deep wound of oppression, racism, vermin turns upon itself to reveal the internalised deep pain that sits imbedded in every San, Khoi San, Khoi Khoi or politically correct term for those who has survived the Kalahari and the history of its people.
To sit with the Bushmen is to NOT run from the elephant in the so called room, in this case the desert of their existence, and pretend all is well, but to see it head on and here, right here amongst the romantic stories of hunting and ancient ways, of food finding and communication with animals, insects plants and trees, is to also witness the suffering and the strife that these people still endure on a daily basis. They carry a wisdom that is remarkable, they live by the law of nature, simply, other worlds and animals, their healing ways their plant spirit medicine incredible and yet they have forgotten, and yet they are still here, but dying out quickly along with the old ways.
The bushmen are returned lands with nothing on it, no animals or food and where alcohol is rife. We all worked together in healing rituals to bring a deep remembering of the ancient ways to remind us that this too is family and in my case literally blood famly. It was beautiful.
Together with Mandaza( the one who is in constant prayer for others) we performed rituals of healing. We sat together in an old cave, and rubbed red sand mixed with sacred water on each other’s hands, feet, face and arms,an old healing ritual of rebirth, together we asked the bushmen to heal us, to teach us their way, and together we held space for each other. Here the ancestors asked why Oeliset was not wearing his skins and to return to the cave with them on. On a red sand dune we did ritual for all the blood spilled, pouring sacred waters from all over the world deep into the red earth. At night we cooked and shared food around the fire with the community and the next day we visited Lina, one of the oldest Bush women still left. Lina has been through unspeakable suffering often at the hands of her own people. She still smiles and tells stories. Mandaza asks her what wisdom she has for us, and she smiles back silent. Her voice long gone. I am called into her tin shack where she hands me a simple wooden carving she has made, she still speaks the ancient language. Belinda says Lina holds this at night, it’s what she loves. I don’t want to take it but she insists. Here in my place back in the USA I pray for Lina everyday holding her simple carving of love.
And yet, Oeliset is a doctor in the community and Gerta a story teller and hunter. Amongst them all are artists and wisdom keepers, singers and dancers, again I see they have forgotten, survival being foremost on their list. Belinda has always seen the bushmen in all this potential, her late Husband Vetkat a reknowned artist. She continues to hold the light for their weaving of Western and ancient, and that is why I invite you to join me to sit with the Bushmen.
So please join me in sitting with the Bushmen and listening to their profound ancient wisdom, their healing ways are none that I have seen before and their ability to withstand suffering is a teacher. Be clear that it is not US that know what they need …..they are our teachers in self preservation. So come with ears, and heart, compassion. There is nothing like a Kalahari sunset, or rainstorm.
We have come together at this time to co-create a vessel for Right Action and healing, we are all being asked to step into the darkness to the light, it is warrior work indeed, and not for the feint hearted. Nursing egos and self serving ways only for our personal greater good, is no longer an option and is being revealed as hiding behind masks. Now the only space that is left is for TRUTH. It’s time for big courage, big love, big steps a call for ACTION. “No more time left ” Credo Mutwa. I invite you to join me on a Sacred Journey home to connect with this ancient part of yourself, to remember.
Thank You to the 11 women healers who answered the call to join me on this journey. To the film maker, the weaver, to Mandaza and to our driver who ferried us across the waters, the roads and the desert into Botswana. To my ancestors and Kontumble who guide me to do this work, never knowing where next. We are the bushmen, the vulnerable children, the addicts the perpetrator and the victim. And we are also, Ubuntu -Humanity to Others. Only when you can be who you are then I can be who I am …and only then can we know what needs to be remembered. ~Ubuntu http://www.mandaza.org, http://www.whitelions.org, http://www.ourdivinemedicine.com. Kalahari Rain Song is a moving read by Belinda Kruiper, who has on two occasions been voted woman of the year in South Africa for her work with the Bushmen, helping them in the fight for land claim. She is tiny, with a fire inside and the heart of a lion. Thank you Belinda for your committment and dedication.sThank you to the 11 ssel of the Spirits, Mandaza receives visions and dreams, makes off