52 Weeks of Life Seen Through My Eyes

Ida's Photo Theme Challenge

Week 37 #34. OMG


The thunderous Indian Ocean waves crashed ferociously over the rocks on a beach in Kwa-Zulu, South Africa. Over three meters high, they pounded the beach where swimming was prohibited for the day due to their ferocity and the strong undercurrent.

Two people stood holding the hands of a third figure who knelt in those turbulent waves.  I was bewildered by their behavior, wondering what they were doing, fully clothed, wading further out into the rough water. At one point, the waves swept the trio off their feet, rolling them in the surf as they floundered, struggling time and again to regain their footing. Other curious beach goers ventured closer,  seeming to question whether or not to provide assistance, nobody apparently too keen to intervene. Once the odd threesome were back on their feet, I realized this was a ritual? initiation? baptism? of some sort. I meandered over to another onlooker to ask if she understood what was happening. She kindly explained that the large woman was a sangoma, a healer using traditional African medicine (muti) and divination, and that she and her assistant were initiating a prospective sangoma (by near drowning, from my perspective). The initiate probably ingested a fair amount of sea water during this fascinating ritual which included the sangoma calling out to the heavens and several times holding the initiate face down in the salty waters. I asked my friendly informant if it would be acceptable to take photographs as I didn’t want to offend anyone and have the sangoma cast a hex on me, to which she responded positively with a giggle. I wasn’t the only bystander avidly capturing this OMG moment.








13 thoughts on “Week 37 #34. OMG

  1. I’m thinking maybe they should have left it for another day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A nice inland lake wouldn’t have worked? You get the prize for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure there are lakes in the immediate area, Susan, and thanks for awarding me the prize for this theme. I couldn’t figure out what theme I could use to share this intimate event. This was my last resort!


  3. …and, again, you nailed it. Quite wonderful.


  4. So interesting! What a spectacular thing to witness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that asking is safe way as not always is it considered proper. I would have been worried too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. fabulous – you got everything so sharp and the color – amazing … I love no.3 particulary. Did you managed to get any photos of just the waves – how beautiful they are, I just love the color of everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The only photo I took that was beach and rocks was the day before when we were still able to go in the water. This was a Saturday and the beach had quite a few people on it, making it almost impossible to get a shot without including people. Standing on the rocks was not a safe option. Also, the company was a complete distraction from nature. I have LOTS of family photos though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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