The Shepherd

There once lived a family of shepherds, from generation to the next, the secret knowledge of looking after cattle had been transmitted in somewhat mystical ways. After several dreams and visitations by the ones whom have departed — a chosen one in the every generation would disappear into the wilderness to be initiated for the gift.

The initiate would be guided by the elders into a secret place. To this day, the secret place remains unkown to men, even the elders whom acted as guides would not enter but while await from outside, they would pray for the gods to receive the initiate. Nonetheless, due to curiosity and ignorance towards the sacredness of this practice, it is said that some people have made attempts to enter the secret place and have since disappeared from the face of the earth. The elders say, this place can only be reached when one has a calling that in itself is passed on by from the departed ones.

It was know by the villagers that the secret place was a sacred space of the gods. Upon their return, some initiates had shared about a technology that was used during their initiation. They referenced a fingerprint system that was used to transfer information and past histories from the gods to men.

In ritual, the initiates would also be granted gifts of the wilderness. This rite of passage was understood as the process of opening the sixth sense, towards a heightened ability to anticipate danger through the ankles and a method to foresee the future among other things. To complete the training, the last three days initiation would be spent in a dream where one travels to extraterrestrial heights. It’s believed that our earlier ancestors and their gods lived out there.

Initiates would also be given tasks to take into their dream. One such tasks was to learn one common dialect, a spoken language that was understood ranging from humans, animals and right across to plants. Some claimed that the language could also be used to communicate to unseen gods and other divinities of the wilderness.

Many people in the family of shepherds had these gifts. There were also rumors that, over the years, they had super powers to communicate from miles away through whistling. Some claimed that, the family used the whistling technique to steal cows from other tribes. This led to other tribes attacking the family at various times in their history. As a result and the initiate in the secret place was the last in the last to graduate.

When he graduated he came back home and looked after a huge herd of cattle. But after a while, he became lonely as most of his family had died during tribal wars, and the elders in the village were also aging. While he was in wilderness with the cattle, he would invent musical instruments that he played to achieve companionship. Some say these instruments are still found in the mountains, and it’s believed that they create sounds on their own.

After many years of being a shepherd, the chosen one was getting old and gradually loosing his eye sight. It is said that he continued to travel and herd cattle without seeing, he had mastered and internalized the journey. But as years went by, he could not walk. Some say he would be awake at night and sleep during the day, while heading the cattle in his dreams.

He eventually died as he was becoming weaker and weaker. It is said that on day he died the cattle vanished.

Iphupho 21032020

Nduduzo Makhathini

5 thoughts on “The Shepherd

  1. I beautiful narrative of how gifted people were brought to ‘life’ and how umoya uzohlale ukhona. Siyabonga. Usibongele nakuba ninikazi bendaba.


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