SOUTH AFRICA: You rarely find a white sangoma. Ubungoma or ancestral calling has been commonly known to be a predominantly “black or African belief”.
“I’m an inyanga. I learned about my calling in Alexandra township. I have now been practicing for two years”.
Born and raised in England, before becoming a sangoma, he worked as an IT specialist for Blockchain Technology and other IT solutions.
“I have a degree in games and app development. My life was normal, familywise. However I was always getting in and out of trouble with the law. Since I answered my calling, all has been resolved. I’m an inyanga and witchcraft based,” he says.
“My ancestors, Rodger Toothaker, Margret Toothaker, and family were all famous for their witchcraft and were all killed in Salem witch trials or mysteriously died a week after being in prison. There are many different forms of magic, I know and specialise in muthi but also spells from other forms of magic.”
Dan moved from the UK to Botswana and then to South Africa to recover financially after a complicated breakup and he was advised to move to South Africa for a clean start.
“When I got here, I began to recover and I met my now wife,” he says.
“Things were starting to pick up gradually. I also do forex trading, so I went to Sandton to find people I could help by teaching them forex with a very credible company that is FSCA regulated. I would go to a casino to try to pull people away from gambling and show them that they are a better way where they won’t lose money like they are doing but achieve the results they are chasing,” he says.
One evening at a bar he met someone who gave him a reading.
“I went to the bar to have a drink before leaving the casino and that is when I met the woman who is now my gobela,” he says.
Confused and felt lost
“She told me everything that I had been through in Botswana and you would not be able to make that up or even guess it to be true, so she had my attention. She informed me that I needed to go to Alexandra township for me to understand more.”
Arriving in Alexandra, Dan was confused and felt lost.
“I was confused as anyone else would be at first when I found out I had a calling,” he says.
“I was like how me? I am white. I am fully aware of sangomas, witchcraft, inyangas etcetera. Most of my friends are either African or Jamaican in the UK and my kids are half Jamaican, Nigerian and Tswana so it wasn’t new to me but I was like me, how I’m white it was all new to me that aspect of it also until I researched deeper.”
When he arrived in Alex, everything was fully explained to him, including what his calling was, and another reading was done.
“I knew I was able to see things before they happen but I had no idea that it was due to my prophecy side. They asked me if I wished to answer it (the calling) and they advised that was a good time to do it given my circumstances. I agreed because I realized it was now or never. There was never going to be a perfect time.”
His partner, who is now his wife and originally from Zimbabwe, also had a spiritual calling but was not ready at the time to answer.
“I then had to leave briefly to continue to recover and once I did, I returned. When we returned it was said that we needed to answer our calling together. My wife and I got spiritually married, combining our ancestors so that our journeys were aligned. We graduated together and own Michys Muthi shop and we also sell our own muthi.”
Dan says in the beginning his family could not understand but they have learned to accept him and support his decisions.
“My family and friends were very supportive and helped me throughout including my business partner,” he says.
Having gone for ukuthwasa, Dan says if he hadn’t gone through the process, he would have been in a different place in his life.
“I honestly think I would have found it a lot harder. But I think my past helped me tremendously,” he says.
During his initiation process, Dan says he needed to learn a lot about ancestral beliefs.
“It was a lot. I was confused at first and then people seeing me in Alex were also very surprised. But now most know me,” he says.
“I was criticized and judged for being white and labelled a fake. However, I also wanted to know for myself. I knew I would face such stigma, so I downloaded the ancestry app which was something I wanted to do for years I have DNA records of my bloodline as far back as 6000 of ancestral bloodline so far, and everything is also connected then”
“At my initiation, I spoke English and my wife would translate when required.”
Dan says the biggest misconception about white people is that their ancestors are only at their place of birth.
“I wasn’t aware of it until I went for ukuthwasa. You see a South African sangoma or a Zimbabwean sangoma and wrongly assume their ancestors are also from South Africa or Zimbabwe for example. When in fact that is so incorrect. I know South African sangomas who have English ancestors, Chinese ancestors, American ancestors, and so on and so people tend to associate sangomas’ ancestors from their homelands when that is not the case at all.
“For example, one of my ancestors is a native American decedent, so basically black, but yellow bone,” he says.