Fascinated by the kinds of totalities embedded in African indigenous languages and words, for several years I have ventured on a pilgrimage to find alternative vocabularies for the work that one is involved in. Quite recently, I have found a word for the genre of work/music I partake in and co-create, together with the work I have been tasked to do by my ancestors.
Here are some key indicators to the genre of work I’m involved in; ritualistic in nature, strong healing properties, power to produce meaning[s] through divination, links to outer-space and capacity to evoke the spirit of an ancestor.
All the above signifiers and more are captured in this hybrid Zulu word ‘ingoma-sbhulo’. On the one hand, Ingoma is a word used in multiple contexts ranging from song, healing, a ritual to a drum. On the other hand, ukubhula (throwing of bones) is a process of diving. It is an ancient technology that uses objects to unpack meaning[s].
I believe that somehow if our genres of work like our mountains and rivers are named in more deliberate ways, it channels are particular energy to the work.