Turning to Sangomas, Ancestors and Traditional Doctors Because God “Has Failed”


I was born in a family that religiously used sangomas, ancestors and traditional doctors. My father and my grandfather on my mother’s side, were both sangomas or traditional doctors. At some point in my life I wanted to become one as well. My whole family practiced this part of our culture religiously. I am sure this part of my life represents a situation that quite a number of black people grew up in and still live in. We relied on sangomas, ancestors and traditional doctors for every part of our daily lives. Our reliance was most especially on ancestors. We thanked them for when things were going well and we appealed to them when things were not going well. We spoke to them, sacrificed to them and cut our bodies for them. Sangomas and traditional doctors were simply vessels that connected us to our ancestors.

Who are sangomas, ancestors and traditional doctors?

There are a number of verses especially in the Old Testament that deal with the topic of sangomas and traditional doctors. Obviously the Bible does not call them using those words but rather uses words like mediums and necromancers. Mediums are those people who consult the spirit of the dead and necromancers are those people who allow the spirit of the dead to occupy and use their bodies. Mediums and necromancers represents more or less what we understand today, and have always understood as sangomas and traditional doctors. I am saying this because sangomas and traditional doctors, just like mediums and necromancers, consult the spirit of the dead as the main part of their work. Some allow the spirit of the dead to speak through them.

Ancestors are dead people whose spirit can allegedly be consulted for whatever purpose. They apparently have interest and are believed to can influence what goes on in life.

What does the Bible say about Consulting the Spirit of the dead?

There are a number of verses but I will only use some to make the point.

In 2 Kings 1:1-5, We lean about Ahaziah who fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria and lay sick. He sent his messengers to inquire from an idol god called ekron. This idol god called baal-zebub, was to tell Ahaziah whether he shall recover from the sickness. While on the way, God send an angel to Elijah to tell the messengers, to tell Ahaziah that because he went to enquire from an idol god instead of from the true God, about his sickness, he shall surely die of his sickness.

In Isaiah 8:19, God through Isaiah asks, when people say let us go an inquire from mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors, and they will tell us what to do. Should people not actually ask God instead for guidance? Should the living ask guidance from the dead? God is asking this question because mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors, consult the spirit of the dead to get guidance, which they then pass on to those that consult with them. This is why God asks whether the living should ask guidance from the dead. The answer is that people should not consult mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors, but instead they should consult God for guidance. The living should not consult the dead for guidance. If you doubt this, look at the following verse Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

More verses

In Deuteronomy 18:10-12, God gives a command to Israel and by extension to us that there shall not be found among us, mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors, or anyone who inquires from the dead. God says whoever does these things is an abomination to Him.

In Leviticus 20:6, God says those who turn to mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors, will face His judgement and will be cut off from His people.

In 1 Samuel 28:6-7, Saul did exactly what we have been discussing above. When God did not answer him, Saul resorted to consulting a medium. In 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, We are told that Saul died because he breached his faith by doing two things, firstly, he disobeyed God and secondly he consulted a medium seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from God and as a result, because he chose to seek guidance from a medium, God put him to death and gave the kingdom to David.

What do we learn from these verses?

Firstly we see that God forbids/prohibits anyone from consulting mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors. God forbids anyone from consulting or inquiring from the dead. The reason why sangomas and traditional doctors are also forbidden, it is because they also consult the spirits of the dead. Anyone who consults the spirit(s) of the dead is an abomination to God and will face God’s judgement.

Secondly, we see two people, Ahaziah and Saul. Ahaziah was sick probably for a while and wanted to know if he will recover. He consulted an idol and God punished him with death. Saul was facing an army and was afraid. He consulted God, God did not answer him, he then decided to consult a medium and, God punished him with death.

Practical Lessons

Whether we are facing sickness or life troubles, consulting mediums and necromancers, in our case sangomas and traditional doctors, will bring God’s punishment upon us. God makes it very clear that we should only inquire from Him for guidance, whether He answers us or not. The very lives that they were trying to save by consulting idols and the spirits of the dead, they ended up loosing them.

So, I am appealing to you today, if you are a christian, stay away from those who consult the spirit of the dead, stay away from sangomas and traditional doctors, stay away from idols. Trust only in God.

I was recently asked a very good question and though I should update this message to reflect the answer I gave. If the person who is involved in consulting the spirits of the dead, sangomas and traditional healers, is someone you cannot stay away from, example a spouse, child and so on, then if they are Christians, you need to remind them at every opportunity, why this practice is sinful and pray for them always. If they are not Christians, preach the gospel to them with the hope that God may change their hearts and they may come to the knowledge of the truth. Guard yourself to ensure that you do not find yourself falling into the same sin.

Read the message on the Word of God

The 1st Commandment, Ancestors & Sangomas or Traditional doctors

Posted in Christian Attitude and Behaviour, Christians Attitude and Behaviour, Discernment, Exposing Sin, God's will, Selected Scriptures, Sin.


  1. Now if my husband whi was born again 8 years ago, decide to backslide and consult with Sangomas how do I stay away from him?

    • Hi Thandi
      Thank you for the question. Please don’t stay away from your husband simply because he has sinned. We all sin including yourself. What you need to do is to remind your husband that consulting sangomas is contrary to the word of God and therefore he should repent of that and trust in God. Pray for him always for God to help him out of this. There must be a reason why he resorted to Sangomas instead of trusting God. Pray that God can guide him back. In the meantime be the best wife you can be (1 Peter 3:1-6).

  2. Why should we get punished with death when we took wrong directions? You have been suffering with sickness for a very long time and you try second opinion, and God is here to guide us, and to be a true leader to us.

  3. I’ve been struggling with spiritual attacks for many years since i was a child.I grew up a born again Christian…many churches,many pastors,prophets,evangelists,apostles,deliverance prayers,fasting,whole night prayers,bible studies…im 28 years old and the attacks are so unbearable i hate night time,i cant sleep alone.What do u say about that???ive done all the prayer books by powerful men of God lile Olukoya…against ancestral spirits,marine spirits and still no change.

    • Hi

      Thank you for your comment. I am very sorry to hear about your situation. Given the sensitivity with which your issue must be handled, I don’t consider it proper for me to respond based only on the information you have provided. I would need a bit more information from you, than what you have provided, for me to be able to give you a meaningful response. I also consider your issue to be one where a face to face discussion might be the best in handling this issue. This platform is certainly not the best platform on which to assist you.

      However, if you are willing to let me know whereabout in South Africa you are, then I can look for a solid Bible believing church around you and ask you to approach the Pastor there to discuss the matter further.

      Hope you find my response helpful.

    • God is willing to deliver you ,i’ve seen such cases and worse cases were people will have physical encounter with demonic entities and this experience sometimes you can’t tell anyone .The power of God is willing to deliver you just have faith. If you need any help or prayer just connect with me .

  4. Why you say is wrong to consult traditional doctors? At the same time we are allowed to consult western doctors offwhich they use same medicines from the soil. Look what Madagascar have done regarding covid 19 cure and yet it is not a western medicine solution. Now the west want to disapprove it. Tell me why shouldn’t we use traditional medicine.

    • As for your first question, please read my message as the answers are there. As for your second question, you are asking the wrong person. I said nothing about traditional medicine in my message. Have a blessed day.

    • Hi Kabelo
      i also had a similar question but i think traditional healers get their powers and ideas from a wrong source which is the ancestors. but all in all there’s nothing wrong with medicines from the soil.

  5. Yhooo…Im in a dilemma. Im a born again christian who have backslided due to lack of fellowship, npt praying and reading tje Word. The lockdown made it worse even…I know about God’s grace and how i can go back to Him…but for some reason have no motivation to….and Im recently considering consulting a sangoma just to find out about the stagnancy in my life…I know it not good but feel ive long left God’s “circle” what harm can 1 more sin do…crazy I know. But life has hit me hard… Im in a confused state.
    Yes I could ask God himself, but I think He doesnt speak to me anymore…and I just need to know. How can u advice me?

    • Hi,
      Thank you for asking the question as it allows me to address several issues. What I am about to say maybe hard, but it is the truth. To avoid writing a long message, I will not copy the bible verses, but I will reference them.
      The first thing that concerns me about your question is that it reveals that you might have an incorrect understanding of what it means to be a born-again Christian. Let me address this issue first: No one chooses to be a born-again Christian, it is God who saves us, we do not save ourselves nor have any part to play in that (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5). We do not even have the ability to choose to be born again (John 6:44). We are born again from above (John 3:3) and we are born of God (John 1:12-13). When God gives us new birth, He removes a heart of stone from us and replaces it with a heart of flesh, then He washes our sins and gives us the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:24-27). Once we are born again, Paul tells us that He who began this work in us will bring it into completion (Phil 1:6) and Jesus says that those whom the Father gives Him, He will not loose even one (John 6:39). Therefore, what this is teaching us is that we are born again because of God and by God, and once born again, we can never ever stop being born again. In fact John says those who stop being born again Christians, it is proof that they were never born-again Christians in the first place (1 John 2:19).
      Now, with this information, looking at what you wrote in your message, I am concerned. You say that you backslided, you have no motivation to go back to God, you feel you have long left God’s circle, and one more sin would not do harm. If I take all of these together, they tell me that you might be saying that you have stopped being a born-again Christian, and you do not even have the motivation to become one again and see no problem with one more sin. This might be an indication that you are not a born-again Christian and you never were. If I am wrong and you are indeed a born again Christian who is confused as you say, then you can expect God to discipline you back in line because, God says He disciplines those that He loves and are His children (Hebrews 12:3-17). He will never allow you to get out of line and stay that way. God is loving, merciful and gracious but He says He will punish those who are guilty (Exodus 34:6-7). If we go on sinning deliberately, knowing the truth, Paul says we can expect a fearful expectation of Judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries/enemies. This verse is so important that I will quote it:
      “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26–31, ESV)
      It is truly a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
      Secondly, God does not speak to people verbally like when two people talk to one another. He speaks to us through His word. When you want to hear God speak, you must read the bible. God also uses preachers, to preach His word to people, and He then uses that word to save them. Do not expect God to speak to you in any other way but through His word.
      God is speaking to you now through me and His word. I appeal to you not to anger the Lord anymore than you have already have. I urge you to stop sinning. I urge you to confess all your sins to God. I urge you to acknowledge that God has the right to punish you for what you have done. I urge you to ask God for mercy. I urge you to put your trust only in Jesus no matter what. I urge you to live a life of obedience. Jesus asked and is asking you today:
      ““Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46, ESV)
      I pray that God has mercy on you. If you are not truly a Christian, I pray that He changes your heart and gives you heart of flesh and gives you the Holy Spirit. I pray this in Jesus name, amen.

  6. I truly believe in God his power and in the name of Jesus. I am only 24 years old. My mother however, is in between, she goes to church sometimes but sometimes she wants to use muthis and consult sango as.. Now the problem is that she thinks there is something wrong with me and if things do not always work out well for me.. She suggests I also colsult sango as, and use muthis to protect my self.. How do I deal with this situation without disrespecting her. How can I show her that God can protect me withoiut using traditional medicines and sangomas

    • Thanks for the question. The biblical principle is that you must always obey the highest authority. The Bible commands us to honor our parents and obey them. However, if obeying God means disobeying our parents then, we must continue to obey God. Your first priority is God, then your spouse, then your children, and then everyone else. You must and are commanded to stay faithful to the Lord at all times. Only God can change your mother’s heart and open her eyes. Your job is to preach the gospel to her and to pray for her and to love her. God will do the rest. So I urge you to remain faithful to the Lord and not to concentrate on proving anything to your mother.

      Hope this helps


  7. Wow Tshepo, thank you so much for the post on sangomas. My daughter recently said that she has undergone initiation into a sangoma. I’m against this because 1. I’m a born again God fearing child of God; 2. In our family, there’s never been such a thing; 3. She lives with her mother from whom I am divorced and says the spirit is from her mother’s side.

    I tried to make her see sense but she told me it’s her decision. I keep praying for her and my question is what more can I do except to hand the matter to God?

    • I hear your heart and pray for your strength, courage, knowledge and wisdom from God at this time. Please continue praying for her and please continue to share the gospel of Jesus each time you have an opportunity. Please don’t try to force her into anything but, through prayer, allow the Lord to maybe grant her repentance. Keep your focus on the Lord knowing that He is ultimately in charge. Blessings

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