Gallery Muvo Blog EXTRAS-3_compressed

The dramatic landscapes surrounding The Gallery on the FarSide Farm are steeped in African spiritual importance. Stretching between the indigenous forests of Karkloof through to the very highest peaks of the Drakensberg, this particular area of KwaZulu Natal is revered by every Shaman for the all-powerful presence of ancestral monitors.

Unseen yet powerful spirits are the custodians of our high peaks, verdant valleys and clear streams. Daily life is steered through these ancestral spirits, they keep a constant vigil on the spiritual well-being of all who live here.

My wife Debbie and I met Sangomas Muvo and Sarah a few years back, when we were introduced by good friends of ours, Peter Hayward and Celia du Preez. We were both moved by this unusual couple’s unswerving commitment to African spiritualism. I call them an unusual couple as British-born Sarah is one of South Africa’s very few white Sangomas. She is highly respected for her depth of knowledge and the bind she has developed with the spiritual ways of the people.

Muvo is a tall and lithe giant. He has an imposing presence, notably amplified when he is fully dressed in his traditional Shaman attire. The man is characterised by tangible warmth and sincerity yet he is very serious in his approach to his life-purpose.


More about Sarah & Muvo …

Makhosi Muvo Ngcobo is a co-founder of Africa Shaman Experience and is initiated in to the ancestral lineage of the Lion. He has been working as a Shaman Sangoma for the last 5 years and continues to do so. He is currently involved in creating a retreat in the Drakensberg Mountains and is also working with the Hlatikulu community who live in the valley area of Giants Castle.

He is also a co-founder of a non-profit organisation INDAWO YENHLIZIYO – SACRED PRACTICE SACRED SITES for which he is currently looking to raising funds.

Makhosi Muvo has a powerful relationship with his ancestral guides which he shares with all who consult with him as a Sangoma. Makhosi Muvo is Zulu and grew up in KwaZulu-Natal. He works with ritual and plant medicine; holding workshops, retreats, ceremony and teachings at his healing centre in KwaZulu-Natal which he shares with Makhosi Sarah Wager.

He also takes people where appropriate to sacred sites (with respect to the community and site) in South Africa for healing, upliftment and connection with the ancestral earth consciousness. Makhosi Muvo brings his powerful passion and joy in to all the Shaman Sangoma work he undertakes, committed to helping people on their own spiritual journey and honouring the tradition of the ancestors.


Early last year I was approached by a young Chilean photographer Jose Pablo Guzman to participate in a global photographic project he was putting together. Entitled ‘Layers Off’, the assignment called upon a group of globally diverse photographers to create images which spoke to ideology, spiritualism, religion and the likes. Photographs were taken in exactly the same time frames yet in different parts of the planet.

Layers Off

I knew that Muvo would be the perfect subject. I was confident that imagery of him deep in the Karkloof forest, in full Sangoma regalia, would catch the ever-curious eye.

I met with him and asked whether this was an idea he would entertain. With a wry smile and a steady nod of approval, the shoot date was set.

We met early at his and Sarah’s home, which is just on the edge of the Karkloof forest. We set out on a slow and steady trudge into the forest. It wasn’t long before Muvo stopped and stared up into the canopy and identified the space as being sacred. He went about gathering stones and some plant matter and then ignited a gourd of dried herbs. He was soon in another world. I quietly went about documenting his austere ritual. It was a very unique experience for me and, at a point, I did have an eerie sense that we were not alone. That afternoon I had the images edited. I chose to convert everything to black and white. Don’t ask why, I just did. This was the image which I finally selected to send off to Pablo. The exhibition was well received and drew considerable interest. It featured at The Gallery Sand in New York in May of this year.

Muvo Sangoma Re-addressing ancestors_compressed

The area where the photo is taken, the Karkloof Valley and forest, is considered highly sacred to the Sangoma and the Zulu people. There is a sacred hill that sits in the centre of the valley and also stone formations that are considered as active sacred sites. These are revered and surrounded by traditional wisdom.

The forest is always considered sacred by the Sangoma. It is here that they will collect many of their plants for herbal medicines as well as take people for specialized treatments.

The Sangomas say…“The darker and more dense the forest, the deeper and more powerful the medicine.”

 

With The Gallery venue being officially launched as of the beginning of 2015, I had long thought about having it acknowledged and blessed by the spiritual ancestors of our beautiful world. I spoke to a few couples who were visiting the venue in order to get an indication of sentiment regarding doing something a little ‘out of the ordinary’. In every instance the couples were quite amazed that we had even given something like this due consideration. Without exception everyone was impressed and fully supported the idea.

FarSide BlessingSangomas Blessing FarSide June 15-807966_compressed

I called Muvo and he and Sarah and one of their students, Greg, came around to look at the spaces. The date was scheduled and Muvo, Sarah and Greg duly arrived. They all donned their traditional Sangoma attire and then huddled in a corner together for some time. Muvo then produced a bucket, a bag of stones and a bottle of water. Once again a bundle of dry herbs were ignited in a hand-held gourd. It wasn’t long before we could hardly see from one end of the farm kitchen to the other! Muvo placed the stones in the bucket and poured in the water. He then asked me to swirl my hand briskly in the water, creating a vortex. I continued to do this for a mesmerizingly long time, while Muvo and Sarah steadily fanned smoke from the burning herbs into all corners.

Muvo explained that they had travelled deep into the forest. They had discovered a strong spring; the water was as pure as one can get. From the same point they had gathered four smooth dark stones. He explained that once we had finished stirring the water over the stones, they would sprinkle the water throughout the venues. The purity of the stream would bring purity to the space. The stones would be placed in areas of the Pavillion, the Piazza, the Gallery and the FarSide kitchen. The stones are said to anchor the purity once the water evaporates.

FarSide Blessing 3By now our staff at the FarSide farm had got wind of what was happening and there was a sense of nervous euphoria as they stood and watched the proceedings from a distance.

The smoke from the burning herbs slowly began to dissipate, the sprinkles of water across the floors began to disappear and the stones had been placed. The ancestors had blessed the Gallery on the FarSide Farm.

Sangomas Blessing FarSide June 15-808012_compressed

To this day if you ask us we will show you the stones. One overhead the space where couples get married in the Pavillion. One in the water feature in the Piazza. One high up on the mantelpiece of the grand fireplace in the Gallery and one hidden atop the old dresser in the kitchen.

FarSide Blessing 2

While we were writing this blog we received news on Sarah and Muvo…

When Muvo and Sarah came to see us for the preliminary meeting before the official blessing of the Gallery, I noticed that Sarah was looking particularly poorly. She was gaunt, pallid and seemed to be struggling with any bright light. She had become noticeably frail. I contacted Muvo just to see how they were doing. He said that they had been living through some very trying times. He said that Sarah’s mum would drop me an email to explain what they had been going through.

I received the following email from Sarah’s mom:


Hello Graham,

I am writing on behalf of Makhosi Muvo. I am Makhosi Sarah’s mother, my name is Diana Richter. Makhosi Muvo asked me to let you know what’s been happening in their lives.

 You may know that Sarah is very ill with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She has come to a point in the last 4 months or 5 months where she is finding it very hard cope so Muvo has had to become her primary carer. She was their main breadwinner and she can no longer do the work so they have no income coming in.

 I have started a fundraising campaign to try to raise funds to cover Sarah’s considerable medical expenses. RA does not only affect the joints but also all the body tissue plus other things like eyes, mouth and teeth. The pain levels are enormous and Sarah has been very brave.

 I have set up a Facebook page called Sacred Gift where I am asking everyone to spread the word far and wide by sharing. The page will soon be linked to a crowd funding site run by Sarah’s sister Catherine in the UK. Any good wishes and offers of help will come to me and I will give people the necessary banking details should they wish to make a donation. I also have a PayPal account which can be accessed by putting my name and email address into the site.

 Muvo and Sarah would be so grateful if you could pass this information on to anyone you think may be able to help. If you wish to know anything more please contact me.

 With good wishes and blessings,

Diana Richter


So what we have decided to do is to produce a series of three signed (by Muvo and myself) black and white prints of Muvo from the shoot in the Karkloof forest. We will be putting these out to The Gallery Facebook community and to our personal Facebook communities. We are then going to ask anybody who may be interested in owning the set to place bids in the comment boxes on The Gallery Facebook page (so all can see). The highest bid will see all proceeds going to Muvo and Sarah. We shall run the bidding until Friday 23 October.

Anyone is also welcome to make a direct donation via the website.

Sacred Gift Facebook Page

Medical Help for Makhosi Sarah

Maybe, through our collective good spiritedness, we can bring some respite to Muvo and Sarah.

Muvo Karkloof