Dark Magic

Traditional Healers of South Africa

October 25, 2013  |  By Inganathi Ndzule, South Africa

Dark Magic

Photo : Mycelium101/Wikimedia Commons

Sorcery, supernatural or extraordinary evil – does this come to mind when you think of dark magic? Or could the term ‘dark magic’ be a misinterpretation of a culture’s customs and society’s way of dealing with unhealthy feelings they are unable to overcome. A traditional healer in South Africa helps explain why certain people practise dark magic and why traditional healers are not the ones to blame for dark acts.

Reasons and myths

‘Jealousy and love are the most common reasons for people using dark magic,’ says the traditional Xhosa healer who has around 30 years’ experience in the field. Jealousy can come from a range of reasons from success to looks, because people often feel intimidated, threatened or inferior to another to such an extent that they want harm to come upon them.  Often these people seek traditional healers to help them make potions, spells or any other form of dark magic to use on someone. ‘This is illegal,’ says the traditional healer. She went on the say, however, that she would do it for extra money or credit regardless of the fact that it is not allowed.

It is rumoured in black cultures (in South Africa) that older people practise dark magic the most. ‘Well not really,’ claims the traditional healer, ‘there are all ages in this but the shocking thing is there are also unborn babies in dark magic societies.’ The healer states that they ‘impregnate’ the woman with an animal that controls them to join their society. ‘They can also infect people with diseases, viruses or terminal illness, like HIV, without even physically touching them.’ The sad part is that people of a mature age often influence younger people in their culture and ‘it is seldom that they fail’.


In September 2010 Cutting Edge, a South African documentary, featured a sangoma (also, traditional healer), Phila Marhwa, who complained that he felt unsafe to perform his rituals because of people not understanding his culture. Many called him a witch and insulted him because of his different beliefs. He stated, however, that these people are normally people of a different race or culture to him. ‘People misunderstand us and misinterpret our rituals, because of the sounds we make and the way we dress,’ said Marhwa.  He went on to say that they are not harmful to society but rather helpful and that they are the eyes and ears of their ancestors. They deliver messages and warnings from ancestors and help you if needed.

Dark magic can be right in front of you and you may not realise it. Whether such things are true or not, it has affected the lives of many vulnerable people in need of guidance. 

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