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Ben Themba Silindza

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Indlu Ka-Gogo (Umsamo)

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INDLU KA-GOGO(UMSAMO) – One of the holiest places at home. I don’t know what other nations call it in their languages but there is no English word for umsamo and indlu kagogo because such does not exist among the whites, they have theirs different from ours. The unfortunate thing is that very few African homes still have umsamo – nowadays some houses have places called umsamo, yet should be called by another name because they are not umsamo. Calling those places prayer places instead of calling it umsamo is better, so that we don’t mislead the future generations. Umsamo is not a stand alone entity but a section that is found endlini kagogo together with other important entities found there and it will be misleading to just single out and emphasise one place as important yet there are also other important entities endlini kagogo working hand in hand with umsamo. No house or a room can ever be converted to be indlu kagogo where there is umsamo. Indlu kagogo must be built and there are several rituals that must be performed before you build it so that the house will be fully linked with your ancestors abogogo. Previously I wrote about the five pillars that makes a home. One of the most important pillars at home is indlu kagogo where there is umsamo. It is a place where the female ancestors dwell abo gogo. The male ancestors’ abo mkhulu dwell in the kraal (Esibayeni) in which isibaya is also a holy place at home. When building a home in Swati the first house to built is indlu kagogo where umsamo will be. Gogo is the first one to be in that family and all of us are her generation so her house must be the first one to be built. Then all the other houses can follow. You cannot build your house first or build a house for your wife then after you build the house for ugogo that will mean you have undermined your gogo so much, and you have also put your wife above your gogo – such can lead to having bad luck (emashwa/emabhadi).
Umsamo is different from a traditional healer’s consulting room (Indumba). Some people especially the township people confuse indlu kagogo(Umsamo) and a consulting room for inyanga as one room. There is a big difference between the two houses, indlu kagogo(Umsamo) and consulting room for inyanga (Indumba), and such cannot be used in place for the other. Incense (impepho) is burnt emsamo when invoking the ancestors and some use snuff(ugwayi wemakhala) to talk to the ancestors. Some nations do not use impepho at all when invoking their ancestors even though now using impepho has been made size one fits all yet some are not supposed to use it at all. I have written before that there is a difference between gogo and grandmother, a person cannot be a gogo if she was not made umfazi/umfati. Just because our people have been exposed to religion like Christianity they come with the same mindset when approaching our spirituality. Remember ours is not religion but Spirituality. In religion everyone has his own place of prayer and they can pray everywhere and everyone has a right to pray. The gogo of the home is the one who manages and administrates umsamo (the sanctuary). Another thing you cannot be ugogo in the same home where you were born but you can only be ugogo at your inlaws home (Emtini/Emzini lapho wendze khona).There are those who mislead people especially those who have never even been in a proper home, they only know township houses and claim aunties can also be administrators of umsamo and that is definitely not true and misleading. Not everyone can just go and speak emsamo remember it is a holy place. A woman is not allowed endlini kagogo during her periods as it is a holy place. Bogogo have passed that stage so it’s good for them to administrate umsamo the holy place at home.
Indlu ka Gogo has several places which are important inside it which are the following Insika (pillar), litiko (Fire place altar), Emsamo (Sanctuary) , Etsala Silisa ligumbi (Musculine energy place) and Sifazane/simame ligumbi (Feminine energy place) – hope I will one day explain the duty and importance of all these sections found endlini kagogo. Our people today emphasise only one section called umsamo yet umsamo is a section that is found endlini ka gogo. All other sections are very important as they work hand in hand with umsamo. Umsamo is not a stand alone entity but it’s a section found endlini ka gogo. The word umsamo is highly abused these days, and can even be used to rob those who are ignorant. When entering indlu kagogo you are not allowed to enter it with your shoes because it is a holy place, your shoes might have stepped on dead things or other things that can defile the family sanctuary – in some instances they may require that you wash your feet before entering especially if you were walking with your feet. Only gogo and inkosana are allowed to burn incense (impepho) and use snuff (ugwayi wemakhala) emsamo. The very same are the ones who are allowed to speak to ancestors on our behalf. Speaking to ancestors (Kuphahla) is not for children or anyone who feels like doing so, but it is for those who are chosen to do so. Once some family members become traditional healers, they think they are then qualified to speak emsamo and that is not true. You might be a sangoma but if you need to appease the ancestors or talk to them you will still need to ask the right people to do that on your behalf (Bakuphahlele).
There is great respect in our spiritual hierarchy, and is followed accordingly. Not everyone is suppose to have his or her own umsamo in his or her bedroom or dinning room as it happens this days. Umsamo is a holy sanctuary that must be built specifically for that  purpose, you cannot turn a room or bedroom to be umsamo after all umsamo is just a section among several important sections endlini kagogo. When you are setting up umsamo you will also need all the other sections that goes with umsamo, as umsamo does not work alone. You cannot set up umsamo without isibaya as the two work hand in hand in our spirituality, there is always feminine energy and masculine energy working hand in hand. One family must have one umsamo. I know that township people have made their so called umsamo in their rooms, dinning rooms and bedrooms. Umsamo is a holy place you can’t have sex next to umsamo. Umsamo is strictly for the family, not everyone can get in and come out Emsamo as it pleases him or her. Gogo normally helps the inkosana (the junior king of the home and teach him how to speak emsamo). Inkosana takes over from the King of the home when he has joined the ancestors. He is also the priest of the home, doing all our spiritual ceremonies including our funerals. The proceedings of a funeral are supposed to be lead by family members not the strangers who are called pastors and reverends. If there is anything spiritually wrong you talk to him (Inkosana) and he will help you together with Gogo to appease the ancestors (bakuphahlele). I know that these days families have been destroyed as per the system and it will be very difficult for others to have a proper structure. But i’m writing this for those who are willing to revive our culture and do things the right way, it’s not easy but we need to try our best to restore our culture properly.
I am challenging all those who claim to be awake in culture to find land and build proper homes get married and build homes. Some who are claiming to be awake are also following the system that is discouraging building of families. Culture can only be fully practiced within a family structure, it’s not for individuals. Ladies who are following our culture must stop this feminist brainwashing and prioritise to build families, same with our cultural men they must prioritise building homes. Most of the spiritual problems from people who consult from us are caused by coming from broken families. Let us make things better for our children so that they don’t grow up in the same mess as we did, we need to rebuild strong families. Broken families affect everyone whether male or female I’m a healer I know what I’m writing about. Feminist have contributed a lot to the destruction of our families and they are also highly involved in destroying our culture and the way our ancestors were doing things. After all, children are not supposed to go and consult sangomas and tinyanga, if they have problems they must talk to their parents. Culturally one was not supposed to go and consult sangoma or inyanga whilst the father is still alive. Gogo is like the managing director of every home, blessed are the homes with gogos. Unfortunately most homes now have old people (Izaguga) not bogogo. A woman plays a very important part in African culture without them there is no home. This thing of saying culture oppresses women is just an agenda for white people in order to create war at homes. We have made womwn leaders long before Europe came with their feminist agenda that has destroyed African families.
In Eswatini the Queen Mother is above the king in fact she is the ruler of Eswatini. Indlu Kagogo where there is Umsamo is the Head Office of the home every important decision will be taken from that house. Spirituality, physical, marriage, financial, every problem is solved from there and gogo is the one in charge of that house. With this topic my intent was only to give a brief layout of umsamo, just for our people to have an understanding of what umsamo is. I know these days there are people who promised others to uplift for their umsamo and charge very high prices. Our people need to understand what the meaning of kuvusa umsamo and kungcola kwemsamo is? Because if they are ignorant, emacola/criminals will take advantage of them. Umsamo is more about the status of all your four main ancestors (surnames) how they view you as their child, are they happy or angry about your life and are you well connected with them and do you listen to their guidance? Bagezwa, bakhushulwa, baphakamiswa, bangeniswa ekhaya and doing all this does not need inyanga or isangoma you can do it yourself, but if you are ignorant of the procedure then you can get any cultural person to guide you. The problem is that tinyanga and tangoma are assumed to be custodian of our culture as it supposed to be, but these days it’s not so – most of them are as ignorant about culture as most people are. They normally misguide our people and charge high price for misguiding. Most of them are also reading about culture in books or on social media they do not have experience in the culture, some have never even seen a real indlu kagogo and umsamo. Inyanga has no right to phahla emsamo wakini or even phahla for you. You are supposed to do such on your own, maybe through the Inyanga or cultural person guidance. I’m sure that in some of my topics have explained what it means Kugeza umsamo, kuvusa umsamo noma kulungisa umsamo. Its very important to sort out your surname and be called by a right surname. Most of the problems comes from using wrong surname. Siyinduna Mapopo Rampane. Ndauwe
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