"As a born and bred Durbanite (from Umhlanga Rocks) I have a great passion for the culture, the colour, the vibrance and humanity specific to my home-town and I love to share this enthusiasm for my hometown."
Sea Level Soul Level
In Durban, at sea level in the presence of the warm Indian Ocean one is given the opportunity to take an authentic step towards ‘knowing ourselves.' Mahatma Gandhi arrived here as an esteemed young lawyer. He left a sustainable spiritualist. Mahatma Gandhi spent twenty years in South Africa, eleven of which was in KZN. This has been known as his apprenticeship to becoming a ‘Mahatma' or ‘Great Soul.' Satyagraha (meaning truth and firmness in sanskrit) is the philosophy of non-violent resistance. The Satyagraha movement was born on 11/09/1906 in the Empire Theatre Johannesburg were Gandhi chaired a meeting of more than 3000 people. This meeting produced the fourth revolution where Indians resolved to go to prison rather than submit to the ordinance. “Thus came into being the moral equivalent of war,” Gandhi said. In 1910 he founded Tolstoy farm near Durban , a co-operative colony for Indians. In 1914 the government of SA made important concessions to Gandhi's demands and he returned to India . A salt march walks the streets annually to this day in his honour and as a symbol of the great change in life he experienced in this very location. Nelson Mandela came to KZN as a leader taking up arms against injustice. When he left he was prepared for peaceful protest and the statesman qualities of compassion and forgiveness he later displayed. Durban has offered me much healing and change. Under every light bulb there is probably a story of healing and personal transformation. Throughout time traditional African people have traveled to these shores to pray and bathe in the rivers and ocean. Within these waters, people are re-birthed in the presence of God or uNkulunkulu. uNkulunkulu is translated to mean ‘that which is greater than greatness itself' illustrating a metaphysical comprehension of God as the ‘Source Field', or infinite and eternal consciousness, that is ALL. One of the great assistances in the path to becoming yourself unique to this region is the people of Kwa Zulu Natal. The philosophy of being of Kwa Zulu Natal is often described as ubuntu which is translated to mean ‘people depend on other people to exist as people.' In other words we are ONE on the body of uNkulunkulu
Traditional Musics of Durban
The direct translation of sangoma is ‘person of the drum.' Music and healing is synonymous. Ngoma is also the practice of participative community performance of drumming accompanied by dance. This is an unlimited musical format and every region of KZN has a unique ngoma. A person is always a participant in ngoma, whether dancing, playing, clapping or foot stamping. It is an organic music, built on the relationship of rhythm and breath. And it heals, illustrating how wholeness is the essence of healing.
A great example of humanities one-ness is the ukusina sacred dance composed by Isaiah Shembe. In this music, warriors play huge drums, steady, steadfast and sure; they beat out the rhythm of human hearts, entraining one to the all. Large spaces claim their silence between these powerful drum beats. Giant steel horns (invented by Isaiah and called vuvuzela today) are played by vast orchestras of young men in perfect unison. They play a single note chant. The women dance according to their era. The maidens dance together moving poetically with shield in one hand. The widows dance together matching the maidens' playful moves with a subtle ingenuity. The simple manipulation of an umbrella into opening and closing becomes an expression of pure grace and joy. In a harmonic people everybody has their place and purpose and sacred dance reaffirms that. The sacred dance is a micro-cosm of the macro-cosm. As planets and universes move in and amongst each other in a ‘music of the spheres,' so people's and communities have the opportunity to create a harmonic interaction; and when we are in perfect health the cells and organs within our bodies dance together harmoniously.
The Zulu people live today in Southern Africa, Kwa Zulu Natal. Zulu comes from the word Phezulu, meaning above. The Zulu believe they are people from above, from heaven. Common to each healing situation are the healer, the sick and the song. For example the Zulu word for healer, iSangoma can mean that which is like music / dance. Maskanda means a virtuoso instrumentalist who plays traditional music on the Western instruments. Maskanda' was termed after the Afrikaans word ' musikante ' to mean musician. Many words in Zulu are adapted from Afrikaans such as (tafel). Maskanda is music played by the man on the move. We used to say someone who was just walking playing his guitar was “umakikele okwahe,” cutting it in his own way. Maskanda has become strongly associated with the guitar. The guitar (isiginga) could have been introduced by Portuguese explorers as early as the 1880's through the sailors on the ships through the port city of Durban. . The ikatari is the homemade version of the guitar. Many great musicians began their careers on such an instrument. The first style a guitarist learnt to play would be the style most commonly heard in his home area, the style of his roots.