2010 Has been a wonderful year with many highs, and a few lows. This was the year where South Africa hosted the 2010 world cup which helped boost South Africa's image abroad. A Blog I wrote, namely "World Cup Football meets Sangoma medicine" prompted various invitations to speak on radio programmes like the BBC World Service, SAfm - South African Radio, and Dublin's Newstalk Radio. Hence, bringing my vision about the importance of respecting South African traditional medicine, a step closer. I was deeply humbled and grateful by the warm response in which my message was received.
One of the biggest lows for me this year was the death and passing of one of my closest friends and biggest supporters in South Africa, namely Sydney Toto Peter. He passed away tragically in a car accident in South Africa on the 3rd August. He was the man who introduced me to my teacher in the 90's and helped integrate me into the local Xhosa community. Sid was the eternal optimistic, and he had a gift in making people smile and laugh around him. He will be remembered for his cheerful disposition.
My Ubuntu work thrived this year, with workshops in the UK, Ireland, USA & Mexico. I was pleased to see how willing people have been to hearing and learning about the old ways. The key theme here is the importance of respecting and remembering our Ancestors, and what it means to be human. Ubuntu means humanity, and it is an evolving process, depending on how we help and look after one another.
These Ubuntu workshops wouldn't happen without the support of a number of people. There are so many people to thank that I don't have the space to include all of them. I would like to thank everyone who has come to a workshop and taken the time to learn these ancient ways.
I would like to thank Richard & Katarina Diss in the UK for their help and support. In Ireland I would like to thank Henry Rowan, Carole Guyett & her husband Steve. I would also like to thank Hazel and Omo Lara. In America I would like to thank Jeff & Diane Baker. Jeff worked tirelessly in promoting my work last year and encouraging people to come to my Ubuntu workshops. He also wrote a wonderful article in the Sacred Fire Magazine, entitled The Lone Leopard. Julie Bete also needs a special mention in her encouragement, and support with my USA tour this year. She has very kindly offered to be my assistant and help with my admin duties.
I would like to give a hearty 'thank you' to Eliot Cowan and David Wiley, two Tsaurirrikames (Elder Shamans) in the Huichol indigenous tradition of Mexico. In the last 4 years they have acknowledged and supported me with my efforts in promoting indigenous South African medicine. Recently in November in Mexico, David Wiley made me an elder in the Sacred Fire Community, an international community dedicated to promoting indigenous medicine.
Working in an area like African shamanism (Sangoma medicine) means constantly communicating to the international community about Africa and African spirituality. I have found that most prejudice comes from ignorance, thus highlighting the importance of clear and concise communication. In this area I would like to thank my close friend and publicist Sally Turner. Sally has continually helped me with all media work, such as radio, Internet and magazine articles. Sally is a true believer in Ubuntu, in our shared humanity, and in our innate closeness through us all having red blood.
As always I would like to thank my Xhosa Sangoma community in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. And in particular my beloved teacher, Mum Gwevu, her husband Tata Sukwini, and elder Tata Bongani. I have being constantly in touch with them this year, and they have stood by my side in my Sangoma work overseas. Thus helping to further our joint vision of 'Ubuntu Ubunzulu', the depth of humanity. Which is a humanity joined through blood, and superseding culture, creed and language.
Finally I wish All of you a Wonderful New Year filled with magic, beauty and love!