SPIRITS OF AFRICA

Cave of Fertility

In november 2012 we went to the Cave of Fertility to make a documentary about this sacred cave and its inhabitants. The Cave is located in the mountains along the border between Lesotho and South Africa at an altitude of almost 2000 metres.
It has been inhabited for centuries by sangoma’s, holy men and women who heal and advise the pilgrims that come to the cave.We had contacted two of these sangoma’s, Mantsoe and Moloi (or Ezekiel and Josephine, as they identify themselves to westerners) during research. They had invited us to come and stay with them and allowed us to film their daily life, their rituals and the way they heal people.

 

Filming with Josephine


 

We also became friends with two other sangomas who live in the Cave, Dumisizwe and Mamohato.We did a lot of filming, accompanied by our translator David, and on saturday and sunday we witnessed the arrival of many pilgrims who spent the night at the Cave. All night long there was singing and dancing. I danced and sang with the pilgrims and filmed at the same time. Very soon no one even noticed that I had a camera with me. The atmosphere was one of great inspiration and spirituality, as if we were all together in a place out of time, a universe in itself. The huge dark cave full of fires and candlelight, of drums beating, songs and chants, and outside the stars and the great African night sky...it was a fabulous experience.  

 

with Dumisizwe

All the time I was trying to understand what the essence of the healing powers of these people is. It is the central question in the documentary. It is not enough to record the cave, the dance, the sacred huts, the special outfits and the rituals. In the film I try to find out why these people are inspired by the spirits and the ancestors, how they talk to them and how they transmit the force that heals. Certainly the trance is central to the channeling of powers, and we witnessed and filmed several trance healings.

 

Josephine and Ezekiel

Altogether our stay at the Cave was very inspiring and we were deeply impressed by these people, their purity and their spiritual strength. I hope you will have a look at the resulting documentary (20 minutes in length). I want to thank all our sponsors. You made this possible! If you want to donate or be part of a future expedition, please mail me.

Sincerely, Ton van der Lee

In Memoriam: it is with great sadness that we announce the unexpected death of Ezekiel in early 2013. This film is dedicated to him.

 

view of part of the Cave

 

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