We dig deeper into the practice of Witchraft and how ingrained it is in many churches in Africa. Following on from our first podcast on Ancestor worship with David Kobedi, Blaque interviews Saneliswe Jobodwana about witchcraft in the church. Saneliswe’s mother was initiated into the world of South African healing and spiritual manipulation before committing her life to Christ.

Sangomas, Umthandazeli and Umprofethi

Saneliswe unpicks for us the difference between a Sangoma, where there is no mention of Christian worship, and Umthandazeli or Umprofethi who have the Bible open and work hand in hand with the “Man of God” in many African Churches. These mediators interact closely with the Ancestors in an attempt to reach God.

“Most of [the Umthandazeli] have the Bible. Most of them quote scriptures. And most of them say it from a very genuine place. I think in general, when it comes to Sangomas and Umthandazeli, I think one thing that people need to know is that it’s not outwardly “I am trying to be evil!” Or “I am trying to hurt you!” Or whatever. They genuinely think that what they are doing is correct and this is how we can do it.”

Jesus Christ and The Trinity

However, the God worshipped in these instances is a singular God. There is no mention of the trinity or of Jesus Christ.

“…they never presented Christ. It was always God. And it was always God in a very singular… just God. So it didn’t really matter which God, it was just a god. Not once did they ever bring up Jesus Christ.”

Saneliswe gives us some helpful pointers on what to look out for and how to spot witchcraft or ancestor worship in the Church.

“for me, if it does not have Christ involved, if it’s not the trinity, then it’s not legit.”

Family Divisions Over Witchcraft in the Church

One of the greatest challenges as a Christian is coming to terms with family divisions over witchcraft in the church or Ancestor Worship in general. Saneliswe and Blaque both share how their deepening commitment to Christ came with major breakdowns in relationship between them and both their fathers. This is not unusual in the African Christian experience.

Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light

However, when all is said and done, the Bible is very clear about what we need to do to be right with God.

Saneliswe” “I think the biggest thing that I just want people to know is that you can question. You can really. The Holy Spirit is so available. And if you are confused when you are in a church that doesn’t necessarily present it to you, go to your Bible! Pray to God. You will have answers. You will have a way out.”

Blaque: “The Bible tells us clearly that the law is there so that all of us may be exposed. Your Bishop. Your Apostle, your Prophet, Umthandazeli, whatever you call him, he is not above God’s law. All of us are sinners and all of us need this grace that Sane has been speaking about. The same grace that saved her and her mother. And that is what we need.

And you eloquently put it – there’s no fear in Christ. There is reverence for God because of how big He is. But a fear where you are scared for your life – not at all. So know what Jesus has done on that cross more than 2000 years ago is for you. He died for your sins. He died for your past, present and future sins. So give you life to Him.”


For a lightly edited transcript click the toggle button above.

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