“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.
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?”
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.
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.