Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A sangoma is a highly respected healer among the Zulu who diagnoses, prescribes, and often performs the rituals to heal a person physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Often the sangoma addresses all of these realms in the healing process, which usually involves divination, herbal medicine, and specific, customized rituals to cure the illness and restore well-being. God, being rarely involved in human affairs, is not a common cause of illness (isifo) . However, God delegated much of its administrative functions to the ancestors (Amadlozi) . The latter, therefore, are actively and constantly involved in the world of the living. As a result, they are frequently suspected of being responsible for sending isifo to the living. They do this not out of wickedness or caprice, but to punish the living for not abiding by the ethical standards of the community and to remind them of their imperative duty to live a ...