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.

  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.

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