Sunday, 3 September 2017


Remember I wrote before about naked men in our river and that over the last few years 12 naked bodies have been fished out of the stream that flows in the kloof below my home. Well today we dive in deeper which reminds me, that I still want to write an article about the different religious groups that congregate here at the holy waters, and today I start with the Medicine Man.

This morning Andreas, Suzanne, Lynda, and myself, went down into the kloof to check on the state of the stream and good news, the air was clean and fresh with no more sewerage odour hanging in the air. Only problem, is that there is still a lot to do as there is plenty of litter still down there which are being left behind by the religious groups. Andreas explained to me that the solution might be with bringing in school project trips down into the kloof to help clean up.

I enjoy going down the kloof, talking to the various religious groups represented down there, learning about the different practices that are being performed at this most holy site. And sometimes, yes sometimes coming across a naked man bathing in public is not a pleasant sight and something you simply can't unsee in a hurry but this time I got a talking to Hubert, the slave name of the traditional medicine man shown above, who hurriedly got dressed as not to offend me and the other hikers after his naked dip into the holy waters. I used to call this water, the holy sewerage due to the high sewerage content in the water and even though the water looked crystal clear and very cold now, I wasn’t 100% sure it was safe to bathe in let alone drink even though to the pilgrims this water is holy.

In my conversation with Hubert, we broached the subject of the 12 naked bodies that were found over the years drowned in about a foot of stream water. He then went on to explain to me the story of the Mamlambo, the spiritual water snake or mermaid that lives in the water especially by the waterfall where most of the bodies have been found. At first it was hard to believe that a large water snake the size of a large African Python or even a mermaid living in the pool below the waterfall. I know that with my Christian upbringing that the spiritual world actually exists and is very dangerous to meddle in but I wanted to know why Hubert still wanted to bathe in this water knowing that there is this Mamlambo killing people. Hubert's faith in the traditional African ways mixed with Christianity is strong even though I don't believe that the 2 can be mixed, it is either 1 or the other.

While Hubert explained, a man on the other side of the stream started cracking a whip as if to chase away demons. At first I thought it was some sort of self flagellation but noticed that he was whipping the air. Hubert went on to clarify that if you go into the water and you are not right inside, that is when the Mamlambo comes and claims you, eish yet you still go into the waters, and he smiled.

Most of the pilgrims are here for the holy water. One person who I met about 2 weeks ago down here and again today, calls himself a prophet, he comes here, prays a lot and afterwards he collects the holy water in large 2l and 5l containers which he takes back home. He then bottles the holy water into smaller containers which he then sells for R80 a bottle. Uhmmm, I wonder, is there a market for this holy water? Are there any medicinal properties or is it a placebo? I need to collect some testimonials from these pilgrims and also get the water tested, sounds like a plan but I don’t want to offend the Mamlambo, if she exists.

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