Last updated: 26 july, 2011 - 11:29 GMT

The Ancestors Are Calling

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In a South African family where there has been a traditional healer, or sangoma, it's believed that the ancestors want a representative in each generation, to take on the role of healing and providing a channel for the power of the ancestral spirits.

Lesego Mangwanyane of SAFM radio in Johannesburg is worried - her great grandfather was a traditional healer but her grandmother and mother didn’t want to take it on.

Lesego is starting to have dreams and premonitions and fears that the ancestral finger is pointing at her. But she doesn’t want to be sucked into that world of ancestral spirits and herbal medicines – she just wants to get on with her life as a young African woman in the 21st Century.

Lesego's experience of sangomas is limited. Though it's estimated that 70% of South Africans initially visit a doctor of African Traditional Medicine if they have concerns about their health, Lesego has never been to see one about her health or well-being, so she sets out to find out from friends what their experiences have been. And then to meet some of Soweto's sangomas themselves.

At the climax of her journey the drums summoning the ancestors put Lesego into a deep trance and she is told that she has to choose - will she listen to the call of the ancestors or not?

First broadcast on 28 May 2011

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