When the student is ready the teacher will appear, when the student is truly ready the teacher disappears


Sikhulekile emakhosini, sikhulekile koo gogo noo mkhulu, sikhulekile kwa gobela !

Those words are said at the gate of the guide when a student is brought to begin the journey of ubungoma. Of course, the journey begins in different ways for different initiates, but the gist of it is surrender. We surrender to the laws of the environment we are entering.

As the guide proceeds to phahla at the gate welcoming the initiate, introducing them to the ancestors in charge, it then becomes an agreement between the ancestors, the guide and the initiate. Not of ownership, captivity or total loss of all that is sane, but acknowledgement of the rules that govern both the initiate and guide.

So there are rules governing u gobela too ?

Andiyikholelwa ke le ! What ! Ewe tyhini, there are rules governing u gobela. Yithi uya dlala, how come then uma singena e phehlweni, only the initiate gets red imithetho ya se dlozini and not one talks about u baba and his conduct?

Maybe then we should look at that, I think it would lessen the confusion or slow development of ithwasa e phehlweni. I mean, I think for the longest of time it is extremely emotional, confusing and painful. Emotional in that you haven’t quite let go of the life you are from and from time to time you throw yourself a pity party and ball your eyes out with tears. You often hear yourself saying “I can’t wait to get back to the life I know”. He hoooooooo, think again weee thwasa. Life as you’ve know it, will never be. If you leave here the same person you were when you came in, you have learned nothing. Intwaso is a complete paradigm shift. Invest in books of leadership, Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen R Covey comes to mind.

Confusing in trying to incorporate this red skirt attire and behaviour it commands with the slay queen tendencies you’ve know. There is no incorporation la, the other takes precedence. Indwangu ebomvu signifies warriorship, obedience in becoming the sacrificial lamb of the generation you are in and the one you represent. The white shirt signifies purity of mind, light – the torch you are handed as a baton to guide your path, and the calmness of mind – the peace within, a new clean slate that wipes off all impurities encountered in your past. The different animal prints ndwangu signifying the strengths you represent.

Painful, he hayi ke the blisters that develop on your knees from the crawling that becomes your new walk. Also significant of the baby stage edlozini that you are in. the ugly you see in the mirror from litsoku on your face and hair ( kwaaaaa aren’t some of us lucky), leaving you to constantly search yourself from the person in the mirror. Painful from the lonely that settles from being isolated from family and friends. Constantly being on your phone does not achieve that and rather defeats the purpose! You are required to be still and listen, for only your thoughts which will be communication coming from your ancestors to prevail. Forget bikinyana ka boyfriend/ girlfriend torg maan, they will be there, or not when you return. And that should not be a concern, for if they are there, they’ve managed to grow with you, kudos to them for they vibrate at a high level and if not, it does not make them bad people but a season in your life that has come to an end.

I’ve always maintained, tell me all truths and my conduct or decisions will then come from an informed platform. When everyone knows what is, I believe it then becomes easier to assume roles as they should be. These emotions should be discussed e phehlweni together with the significance of the conduct and attire, as part and parcel of imithetho yase dlozini to alleviate the turmoil of the first weeks.

Let’s get back to the rules that govern u baba, these you will hear in passing when your guide is angry and lashing out and the most popular would be “ I am not the initiate, I completed my journey, you are here for you and not for me “ a loaded sentence…

But how is that a rule ?

When the student is ready the teacher will appear…

It means, when the student strips himself of his ego and realises that he knows next to nothing (
crawling), and has a burning desire to accumulate knowledge continuously( purity of mind ), the teacher will appear to him. Only when the student is present and presence requires consciousness, awakening of the mind, surrender, will the teacher then reciprocate and teach. Teaching though is in many forms, u baba can give classes and baba also teaches through behaviour.

Rules that govern u baba;

  1. As u baba wakho I can only respond when I see your presence, active participation in your journey.
  2. As u baba wakho, remember I am also led by my ancestors who forms a relationship with yours, to open paths of communication but that will only happen when you summon them here through uku phahla and your presence in this process.
  3. .As u baba wakho I am not a miracle worker, when you are silent, so your ancestors become, when you are absent the further they drift. Who then gives guidance ?For you see intwaso is not a one size fits all.
  4. Thwasa angilona idlozi lakho , u thwasa abantu ba kini under my guide, awuthwasi mina, and that is what it would mean If I do for you how it was done for me, sibe sesishiya idlozi lakho phandle. You go out and things go south bese uthi ubaba uku valile.
  5. Keep my behaviour in check, I am not saying lay the law ku kwam la. But speak up if idlozi liku thumile. Don’t lie child for whether I know then or later, but I will know.

In my view these rules together with imithetho ya se dlozini red for the initiate should be read the same day, creating a framework, point of departure. The initiate learns to constantly seek idlozi and be dependant on idlozi hayi u baba. This is important because the hierarchies ze mpande we fall under are made of beings not perfect with human issues like all of us. When you’ve learned to put idlozi lakho first, you then understand not to judge but use each instance as your teacher and an opportunity to teach ahead. The initiate then becomes independent while entwasweni and it does not become a foreign concept when out creating unnecessary dependencies stifling your growth.

……………………when the student is truly ready the teacher disappears

Ng ‘ayabonga gobela wam, ngi yabonga gobela , ungithwasise nzima, namhla ngi yi nyanga ngiyayibon’impumelelo ! Ng’ayabonga gobela wam !! and so the song goes. A very emotional time for both u gobela and thwasane, the song often goes with tears of memories of the journey you’ve been through. The song acknowledges the strengths it took from both to get to the point of graduation. Most importantly, the song acknowledges that you are now a full inyanga going into the world where you may not always have the benefit of quickly consulting with u baba, to ask so now how. It is very scary and the emotion is real, I still feel it as I wright, it can send you right into hiding.

It also comes with a sense of pride, relieve, warriorship of the accomplishment achieved. In full view of this, nobody owes anyone, the work is done, siyabonga mpande yase khaya as you wish me well watching over me from the shades as I conquer and continue spreading, Lesedi, kganya le kgotso ! Akaku koloti, u baba is not obligated to do things for you, the job is done, cut the apron strings, yes the bond is that of a parent and a child and will remain as a point of reference.

Thokoza Sangoma welcome to the jungle……….!
………………………………………………………………And the teacher disappears.

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