Friday, August 10, 2012


I'm inspired by animals like snakes and hyenas: White Sangoma reveals

PEOPLE come from all over to be healed by sangoma Leona Swanepoel.

"Respect your ancestors!" the sangoma warns her patients.

She is known as Mmamarapelo and lives in Matlapeng, in the mountains of North West, on a piece of land she says is sacred. Mmamarapelo said her journey began when she was still young.

"My family are all Christians and I was a full member of the Catholic Church. At one time I owned modelling agencies in Cape Town and Joburg, but I left all that for my calling," she said.

After her ukuthwasa, the Pretoria-born sangoma spent time with many spiritual people, including an American Indian called Mother Moon from the Ojibwa people in North America. Mmamarapelo said the colour of your skin doesn't matter.

"We are all the same. It is our collective spirit that needs healing," she said.

Mmamarapelo does her work without asking for money. Before she throws her bones, she always burns impepho. She holds prayer groups and has rooms where muti is burned on a hot fire. People sit in a circle to sweat the evil away! Her talking stick tells her what is wrong with somebody.

She draws inspiration from the animals, including hyenas and snakes, on her farm. Four dogs live in the house with her. Mmamarapelo never got married and never had kids of her own. She owns Mzilikazi Lodge in Matlapeng.

Her assistant, Phillemon Molapo (25), said he met Mmamarapelo eight years ago through his father, who is a farm worker.

"I've seen many people coming from all over the world to get spiritual help from Mmamarapelo through her bones and prayers," Phillemon told the People's Paper.