Zimbabwe Medicine Man Visits Mount Union College

April 01, 2010

Differentiating between spirituality and religion is complex, according to Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa, a medicine man from Zimbabwe, who visited Mount Union College on Thursday, October 11.

Mandaza, known as a peacemaker, is a medicine man who relies on his dreams to heal his patients and carry peace throughout the world.

Mandaza was in the area as part of a larger tour and agreed to share some of his time with Mount Union students. His tour of Ohio is co-sponsored by Pathways Foundation for Peace and Healing and Mandaza's non-profit organization IHC/Tatenda. This sponsorship provides an opportunity for African healers to speak to schools, collaborate with other healers and provide information to people in different parts of the world.

Dr. Ivory Lyons and Dr. Michael Olin-Hitt, professors at Mount Union, encouraged the audience to be open to new ideas.

Mandaza spoke primarily on the two topics of 'spirituality' and 'religion.' He posed the question, 'what is spirit, and what is religion?' He said these two abstract ideas are called different names in different languages throughout the world. Depending on the culture, he said, 'some call spirit God, some call it Allah, some call it the creator. In Zimbabwe, we call spirit 'muari,' 'sanatenga,' 'musiki,' and 'musikavahu.'' He also classified religion as an aspect of spirit, and spirit as 'love, peace, truth and justice.'

'In different cultures prayer may be called rituals, mass and stories,' he said. 'In Africa we have visions. All of these are forms of prayer, connecting all of us to the Great Power.'

Individually, he connects with the spiritual realm through dreams. 'This doesn't just mean going to bed,' he said. 'I can have dreams during the day, and feelings also. Some people have the gift of seeing wide awake.' For an example, he used an incident that had happened to him the morning of his visit.

'Earlier today, I felt an unhappiness. I looked at the clouds and felt sadness.' He was referring to the October 10 school shootings that happened in Cleveland, Ohio.

He also spoke of what could block humanity from spirit.

'Human beings have been trained in religion and through tradition to never pay attention to dreams,' he said. 'Now we are becoming unconnected to the great power.' The result is conflict in societies, creating violence everywhere and humans rejecting each other.

'Spirituality is everywhere, in the trees and in the water. If we throw garbage in the water, there is no more spirituality. There is no love in pollution and it causes disease. If we continue to act in this manner, we are in the process of polluting spirituality and religion.'

Those who do pay attention to dreams and feelings are those searching for the truth. 'When you are connected to spirit, you become the medicine for the world,' Mandaza said. 'This is why you have chosen to communicate with spirit.'

His personal dreams have included seeing a woman leader for the United States and the United Nations as the only way to actually have world peace. Mandaza reasoned that all human beings are created and nourished by the woman, and she carries the pain of love, which is medicine to heal the child. Therefore, 'woman is the mother of peace and love, two of the aspects of spirituality.'

The lecture ended with a traditional healing exercise. When asked about his personal religion, Mandaza said. 'My religion is to do good to all religions. I belong to a religion that sees different colors as beautiful. We are different flowers in the world of spirit. Spirit loves beauty, but not only loves it, it is beauty itself.'

In addition to healing, Mandaza has also co-authored two books with Michael Ortiz Hill, 'Gathering in the Names' and 'The Village of the Water Spirits.'

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