The Road and Home Affairs actress Lerato Mvelase has completed embracing a gift from her ancestors to become a sangoma.
Lerato Mvelase (centre) with Gobela Mahlasela Molefe, Mahamba Mashika, Mpande Modisane (standing) and Mogaetsi Mashishi during Mvelase’s graduation as a sangoma in Diepkloof, Soweto. Pictures: Tsheko Kabasia
Mvelase (33) was welcomed back from her three-month long initiation, accompanied by ululating, singing and the beating of drums at her home in Diepkloof, Soweto, yesterday.
Her entourage of young and elder sangomas, led by her gobela (trainer), conducted rituals at the beginning of a two-day ceremony marking her graduation as a fully fledged practitioner.
The first ritual was conducted at the gate of her home, where she knelt, with a white cloth covering her head and body, and then entered the house on all fours.
Sunday World could not speak to her yesterday as no outsiders were allowed contact with her.
However, when she spoke to this newspaper three months ago, Mvelase said that after initially ignoring the calling, she had to finally relent.
“When there is a calling, then you must answer. We all know that as Africans, ukuthwasa is part of our culture, customs and practices. For a long time I’ve been ignoring my ancestors’ calling but I think now the Mvelases and Mthembus want me to do something about it.
“Something terrible could happen, or worst I could die if I don’t humble myself. I have to visit my family in Mnambithi, in KwaZulu-Natal. I have no choice otherwise the ancestors will always disturb me if I do not do as they say. I will continue working, acting is a gift from my ancestors, so I will be doing both at the same time.”
Two weeks ago, she posted pictures of herself in sangoma regalia with the words: “The hardest months of my life. Emotionally, physically and spiritually.
“Away from my home, my kids, my mum! But I’m a soldier, a powerful spirit. I’m connected in the most amazing way to my God, uMvelinqangi, Abathembu, my ancestors.
“I know who I truly am. I am stripped of worldly things I thought defined me, made me. My feet have touched the ground, got pricked, cut and scratched; but I walked on.
“No more body spray or perfume to turn heads as I pass because I smell good. Now I turn heads because I am being noticed for who I truly am.”
Mvelase was romantically linked to fellow actor Siyabonga Radebe before going their separate ways last year.
They have a child together.