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#SangomasBecomingCelebrities

Letoya Makhene talks about 'disappointing' ubungoma TV shows

“There's a lot of content that becomes really disappointing, because it just doesn't represent who we are in the right way.”

05 August 2022 - 15:54
Letoya Makhene-Pulumo said sangomas need to be able to draw the line on information put out on reality shows.
Letoya Makhene-Pulumo said sangomas need to be able to draw the line on information put out on reality shows.
Image: Instagram/ Letoya Makhene-Pulumo

Actress and sangoma Letoya Makhene-Pulumo has been a traditional healer for two decades and says the time has come for people to know sangomas exist and to be aware of their journey. 

Opening up to TshisaLIVE, the actress revealed her journey started at the time when the stigma was still strong around ubungoma

“At some point we needed to get to a place where there wasn't this stigma when it comes to Bongaka. I remember 20 years ago [I] was going into initiation school, the stigma around having to answer my calling, and that's a painful thing [to] go through. For people to say these people are dirty, they smell, they are this and that.”

Letoya shared her opinion on TV content and shows centred on traditional healers which have been dominating conversations.

“There's a lot of content that becomes really disappointing, because it kind of just doesn't represent who we are in the right way, but people need to know we are here, that we exist. We are people and I guess we are eventually going to have to move with the times.

“I'm still very ancient in my methods of how I work, but we've got social media, we've got these platforms to be able to say to people out there or explain something to them about their ancestry or ukuphahla. People are very curious about it. People don't really know where to start looking, so I guess it's a good and a positive thing.”

Letoya said sangomas had the prerogative to draw the line on what they put out for public consumption.

I think there's all this stigmatism around Bongaka so it's a beautiful thing that we are now being given platforms to be able to say this is who I am and I'm proud to be who I am, but initiates shouldn't be compromised. They are like small babies and as their guides we are in charge of protecting them with all of our might and all of our being,

“I see where the lines should've been drawn every day outside what you guys get to see on TV.”

Unless sangomas put their foot down and took control of how much they allow to be filmed, the bottom line will always be about audience ratings.

The actress also revealed she was working on her own reality show.

“My wife and I have a reality show coming up, and as much as they know I have initiates I have already said not one of their faces are going to be seen. I told them [the production team] there are parts where you will not be coming with me. I have also had someone like my wife shooting me at the river and I've posted it, and doesn't compromise the work, and I haven't posted my clients and there are certain elements of the work that I've posted because it's beautiful and I want us as Africans to open our hearts to ubuntu bethu.”

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