In the Voices of the Ancestors: Izangoma Trance Processes and Embodied Narratives Towards Decolonization Praxis
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Izangoma, or diviners, are one type of traditional healer in Southern Africa. Despite colonial efforts to delegitimize and criminalize traditional healing and medicine, there are 300,000-350,000 traditional healers in South Africa alone (Decocteau, 223.) Central to the Nguni Izangoma worldview is ancestral veneration. Ancestors are not only respected, mediated and honoured through ceremonial practices, but also through trance processes. Having the ancestors refers not only to those called to heal but also to the embodiment of ancestors through co-performative and nuanced socio-cultural processes. Using autoethnographic and narrative writing practices, this interdisciplinary thesis explores the dynamic embodiment of ancestors, and how Izangoma trance processes, which includes affective writing practices, informs a revaluing, acknowledging, meditating and resituating of suppressed narratives (Taylor, xvi.) These methods of inquiry and research practices are therefore not just crucial to reconciliatory endeavours but are also synecdochic of the process of decolonization and healing.