Sangomas are the traditional healers in the Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa and Ndebele traditions in southern Africa. They perform a holistic and symbolic form of healing, embedded in the beliefs of their culture that ancestors in the afterlife guide and protect the living. Sangomas are called to heal, and through them ancestors from the spirit world can give instruction and advice to heal illness, social disharmony and spiritual difficulties.
Peter Frank has visited the Sangomas in their simple huts of the townships around Cape Town and in the rural environment of KZN . Taking the photographs was a highly spiritual experience in itself, as the powerful presence of the healers was overwhelming. „For the time exposure, the healers had to sit still for 8 to 10 seconds“, explains Frank. During this unusually long exposure time, he used a single lamp to model the Sangoma’s facial features and sacred robes. With this simple technique, he drew light accents out of the darkness, channeling the expressions and literally highlighting the mystical aura of his subjects. „It was a highly concentrated and very conscious process for both the Sangomas and myself“. Peter Frank’s photographs transports the spirituality of the holy men and women with a focussed sensibility.
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