Ao, badimo weee!

Ao, badimo weee!

You’ve probably heard and seen the term ‘ukuphahla’ floating around, but have no real understanding of what it is.

The term ukuphahla refers to a process of communicating with your badimo/amadlozi/izinyanya.

There’s ukuphahla that is done by a family elder, for the entire family when there are rituals that need to be observed. These rituals include, but are not limited to, manyalo (weddings), birth rites, death rites, coming of age rites, mekete (celebratory events), jwalo jwalo. This is typically done by the eldest, available family member. Re batho ba setso se fapa fapaneng, ka hoo, ditumelo le melao ya leloko la heno e tla etela taba ena pele.

In some families, there’s a dedicated place for this purpose, such as a room, ntlo/indlu; a space in the yard known as ligandzelo in Siswati or sebaeng/esibayeni. This ligandzelo can be denoted by a plant know as sebatla-badimo or any other plant that is know to bring good fortune and to aid the communication process with badimo. At my paternal great grandmother’s home, there was a small, round stoepitjie that was made of mobu wa seolo le bolokwe ba dikgomo/ inhlabathi yesiduli nobulongwe. As a child, I would innocently stand there and my great aunt would chastise me. I only understood in my late teens that that was the space used to communicate le badimo and to put offerings le ditjheso.

Some people can burn impepho to summon their ancestors, some cannot. Again, ke sedimo le ditumelo tsa lapeng that govern and guide the use of impepho. You’ve probably come to the realisation that there isn’t a right or wrong way of ukuphahla, just following protocol and family guidelines.

There are several places a person can speak with their ancestors and these include: ehlane/naheng/the veld; metsiing/emanzini/natural bodies of water; esidulwini/seolong/an anthill. Every place has guiding protocol, so reach out to an elder kapa mokoma/umngoma if you’re not well versed and don’t want to bhayiza.

As a neutral start, here’s what you will need:

1 white candle

1 yellow candle

1 white cloth

Snuff (any snuff will suffice)

An enamel (mootla-ntja) cup/bowl with water

Silver coins (use 4)


Place white cloth on the floor of your designated sacred space (a room, a corner etc). Place your candles on the white cloth, along with the enamel cup/bowl filled with water. You may place your silver coins inside the water, or on the white cloth. It’s up to you. Call on the clan names that govern your life.

Your 4 clan names/diboko/iziduko/izithakazelo:



Paternal gran

Maternal gran

Not everyone has access to all four clan names, so work with what you have. If you don’t know one of your parents, use the clan names of the ones who have raised you. What’s important is that you have an open mind and heart; communicate openly and honestly with your guides. Tell them what you need guidance with . It will be strange initially, but you will soon get into a rhythm.

Tell them who you are, and whose child you are; call on all the guides bokukhanya/ ba kganya/ those who are vested in your wellbeing and tell ba hlokahetseng ba loya, ba le mona to stand back.

Speak from the bottom of your heart, cry if you must, but be firm and direct. Don’t waffle on about Sebele-bele who did you dirty 16 years ago and and and… Be direct.

Call on the guardians of each of the 5 elements (medimo ya metsi/water, medimo ya moya/air, medimo ya mollo/fire, medimo ya lefatshe/ earth, Moya/Spirit); call on nature guardians;medimo ya mahaha (caves; ya dikgohlo le dikgohlwane; bafatshe le bahodimo; those who go between dimensions, guarding and protecting furiously; those who have ascended to other dimensions and are better equipped to assist you with your human journey; call on the spirits of the east, west, south and north and everyone else that brings you good fortune and protection.

Express your gratitude for what you’re grateful. Ask for what you need (see Johana/John 14:14) believing you have already received it. Incubate it in faith and wait on your entourage to reciprocate. There’s no right or wrong thing to say if you’re seeking light and guidance. If you’re seeking the opposite, I cannot assist with that.

May you be guided in ways that are wholesome and fulfilling.

Ps: we invest emotional energy and time in providing guidance. We’re not endless wells of emotional energy. We get sick. We experience exhaustion just as you do. We’re also pushing through mental illnesses that afflict our bloodlines or are the result of our socioeconomic states. Khanyisa/kgantshetsa ngaka/moporofeta eo o mo tsamayang, as a token of appreciation, where you can. Don’t just siphon ulwazi/tsebo. Ya nang le ditsebe a nkutlwe.

Lesedi bana ba Rantsho,

Nkgono ‘Malepena

Gogo Malepena

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  • Thank you for this. We are grateful for the teachings. Open to learn as well. Some of us are lost and seek to connect with the source and we were never privileged to have elders who instilled Spirituality or have had any spiritual guidance. We’ve always had to rely on Intuition which we are grateful for as a means of spiritual discernment.

  • Thank you for teaching us,some of us,our family don’t believe in ancestors,I grew up not knowing anything about rituals(go bua Le badimo)today I’m 38 yrs old,mother of beautiful twin girls,single mom,I want to learn how to the rituals and teach my kids as well..because I never had the privilege to have elders to guide me…

  • Thank you for light and the guidance you share my question is I don’t know when I try talking or communicating with my ancestors I feel like they can’t hear me especially my Dad,i don’t know how or what to do

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