Imithandazo YakwaNtu

‘Imithandazo YakwaNtu’

This two night series will look into the notion of prayer within an African context. In IsiZulu prayer is umuthandazo, if we break this word down to a hyphenated word it becomes umu (becoming)-thanda (to love)-zo (moving). Thus, prayer within this register could be understood as a moving towards the essence of love (towards Umvelikuqala) or becoming love-like.

Another word for prayer is umkhuleko which means to be bound together in spirit. In this sense, these fundamental questions are then of interest: ‘What constitute prayer inAfrica?’ and ‘What is the role of prayer in Africa?’ In seeking to respond to these questions, I invoke Princess Magogo’s lyrics on ‘Onoms’oPhezukonke’ which I regard as an example of an African prayer.

In the broadest sense, Magogo’s piece suggests that, our ancestors (oNtu) based their religiosities on their relationship with the cosmos –– wherein they perceived being as a conversation between both the material and metaphysical worlds. Thus, prayer became a bridge between our immediate world and elsewhere. This mode of parallel existence is evident in African life, hence our ancestors constantly harnessed life through prayer, rituals, libations and song.

This is the background from which the music I am about to present emanated, paired with what is happening to black peoples (and all peoples) around the world. It felt as though we needed a common prayer, and here I present one suggestion.

This prayer will be in four movements each cover in a form of a set. These movements are: Libations, Elsewhere, The Cure and Returning



Nduduzo Makhathini

These thoughts are towards my upcoming presentation in Johannesburg this Friday and Saturday. See link below:

2 thoughts on “Imithandazo YakwaNtu

  1. Hello Baba

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    You have helped me a great deal.

    All the best.

    Ian Watson


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