Edutainment mix: Wisdom buried in mythology: An Alchemic experience at the Nyamatsatse festival

I write this article feeling like an anthropologist; that is someone who is interested in the study of cultures and the dynamics of spirituality as a driving force.

Out of interest, I have since been meeting different artists and individuals who speak of how they have become spiritually woke and aware.

This is a powerful experience of the realisation of being spiritually gifted and strong, and as Africans our essence has been driven by the deeper spiritual which we lost as a result of colonisation, which eroded many cultural practices.

One critical factor is also putting into cognisance the effect and the impact of religion as a dynamic that corroded the true values of African culture and aesthetics, as we are now but a reflection of the West and not that of our olden ways.

We are in the month of celebrating the mbira which I also consider a highly sacred month as the mbira on its own is a sacred instrument which is used by the Shona people during their ceremonies.

 I recently attended the Nyamatsatse Festival which was on its second edition under the theme “Water, Women and the Stars”.

My specific day of attendance was premised on presentations that related to water and the stars being interpreted from a Shona perspective, with me giving a performance that was related to the fusion of elements and issues of alchemy.

In a great many times we have misconstrued festivals using the picture of large crowds that dance to music, listen to poetry, and watching a dance or theatre play.

But my experience at the Nyamatsatse festival was one of learning deeply about the aesthetics of Shona mythology, and in the process having a diverse experience of how we can transform ourselves spiritually leading into the physical, which I feel can help us as creatives and individuals.

What I learnt from the festival was how when we look into the stars they represent the journey of a hero, relating to how a true hero always shines and also illuminates.

The image of the stars and their glow also remind us of how our history is something that follows a story, and this story is enmeshed in deeper mythologies and spiritual aura.

As artists, we are like our stars and the story that we tell through our different art forms shines radiantly like the stars that illuminate the night.  That is the reason why artists are called superstars because their role is to shine and prove a different and unique point through their art.

A predominant issue of interest that was also addressed at the Nyamatsatse festival was the issue of water and  women which related to the issues of femininity.

As a gender and policy studies major, the issues that relate to the sacred feminine continue to mesmerise me a lot.

This is so because the “sacred feminine’ takes precedence in the everyday of our lives.  I will relate this to the dictum “musha mukadzi” which shows the central role of the women within the household and also the wider society.

It reminds us of the need to respect, cherish and love the women around us as they are the ones who help bring life, nurturing and nourishment to us humans.

The female and water have a correlation as within the female body the amniotic fluid is the water that protects the unborn foetus and water breaking is the sign of labor leading to birth.

Women and water also have a relationship because it is the water that they collect from the river or well that they use for cooking, washing the children and washing clothes and bathing.

This connection is of essence as it reminds us of the importance of the need to preserve water and cherish it as in our current generation we are now feeling the scourge of climate change and a shift in weather patterns which have made the rainfalls become lesser and less.

 I liked the facilitations presented by Klara Anna Rosa and her team as I was enlightened on a different number of issues that connect with self transformation with a deeper connection to the spiritual.

 Unfortunately our society has become afraid of the journey of spiritual transformation as they usually associate issues of water and stars with occultism, which is not the case.  At times society too has to observe and analyse how “churchnity” has taken prevalence were we prefer to blindly follow charlatans that masquerade as pastors and prophets than looking for the spirit and truth.

This is one of the hardest pills to swallow, but many artists and creatives lack a sense of true spiritual growth because of their failure to work on their spiritual hygiene.

Bradon Peterson who is a biologist, healer and shaman gave a deep talk on re-embodiment, spiritual hygiene and spiritual activism at the Nyamatsatse festival.

 The talk on spiritual hygiene was linked with how reconnecting with our body was at the core, and unlike how many perceive it, this is never really about going to the gym.  For example, ecstatic dancing and being in sync with your body can be something that can enhance spiritual hygiene and balance the emotions.

The question of spirituality is also something that can be understood from different paradigms such as deep meditation and introspection.

It was during this session that there was a yoga session which was helping the participants to reconnect with their body and the self. For theatre students particularly, I feel that this remains of essence as it can help them to relax and be connected with the character that they play.

This also can work for musicians with stage fright so as to enable them to relax and be free. Peterson’s talk on spiritual hygiene also touched deeply on the art of forgiveness and the removal of negative energy which enhances the creation of a free mind. This has to be enmeshed in understanding how the body is mysterious, supernatural and a vessel we need to safeguard, and in the process keep it healthy.

One important aspect I enjoyed about the festival was with regards to the preservation and the understanding of our African traditions.  Many of us may claim that we do have an understanding but the understanding is not engraved in research.

 The Nyamatsatse festival was also about the strengthening of supernatural consciousness and being spiritual activists by connecting the body, mind and soul.

The talk on aliens by Fungai Makoni also drew my interest as I have ignorantly interpreted it from the Eurocentric perspective from what we see in the movies.

His talk was premised on the water stars, aliens and conspiracy theories from the traditional Shona perspective.

The talk was informative and I got to learn of how in the Shona culture there is the discussion of aliens and giants that roamed on earth as substantiated by the rock painting and very abstract architecture such as at the Great Zimbabwe.

There was talk on conspiracy theories which remains relevant particularly in our generation, which has fallen victim to misinformation and hence in a great many times is fed with lies.

As I was on a learning expedition, Klara Anna Rosa also retold the story of Mwedzi and Nyamatsatse which was an interesting analogy of how the universe came to be and it explained the gist of the festival in how it seeks to promote spiritual renewal.

Adding to this, my performance at the festival was engraved in the depth of mysticism in the power of expression.

 Intuitively, I had a powerful joint performance with Klara Anna Rosa on the violin as I played the guitar and mbira.

For me the fusion of elements was in the fusion of energies and frequencies into creating a deeper synergy of art as a tool that can enhance spiritual growth and nourishment of both the body and soul.

  • Raymond Millagre Langa is a musician, orator, writer and the founder of Indebo Edutainment Trust Follow Millagre Ray Langa on Facebook #Millagre Ray L, e-mail [email protected]. You can reach out to  Indebo Edutainment Trust on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter [email protected]

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