Nzango Artist Residency

Based in Mozambique 🇲🇿


Nacala Healers


What are they doing in this house? What is he doing there?
There’s a clay pot in that house. This is what I explained in Macua. This is how it’s done until the spirit comes and ends up in this house. To make a house like this one, firstly you buy the clothes. We gather food, chicken, and Mapira with those clothes. Then to stop the trance, we have to wash it with this leaf water. Inside that little house, there has to be a clay pot and a chair. Those have to be there. And there are other things we use to do the work. When the spirit arrives, there is water for bathing. This water stays inside the house.
How many spirits can a person carry in their body?
There are many. It depends. There can be seven on the beach. That’s why in Yini, we spend seven days eating during the day, afternoon, and night. We wear red clothes. Now the Macuas, there’s Yini (spirit), Cabuno, Naburo, Nchepa, there’s Nevacule and there are others.
And are all the spirits from here in the north? Or are there any that come from outside the North?
Here, we are dealing with all kinds of spirits. There are also other spirits: there are Indians, there are other Portuguese, there are this type of Yini (spirit).
How do they identify spirits? How do you know that this is Indian or Portuguese?
When they manifest, they start speaking the language. There, we can see that it’s Indian or Portuguese. He starts talking about things he wants to eat.
What do you do when there’s no rain and it’s very hot? What does spiritualism contribute?
The spirits don’t have the temperature to tell if it’s cold or hot today, so I won’t show up. Any day they want, they show up in the body. It can even be when we’re sleeping, at any time.
When it’s not raining or there’s no good harvest? Do you contribute to a good harvest through spirituality?
Yes. When people take Mapira, Mboe, they go to a place, make up, and start asking for rain and other things. That’s why you don’t go there anyway. Even people are scared. And we go there carefully because we don’t know if we’ll survive. Normally these things aren’t filmed.
How long does it take to train as a healer?
Seven days. It depends on the spirits. If you want to be a healer, you don’t have to stay a year or two years. The moment the spirit appears, it tells you what you’re going to do. It could be in your sleep or something that appears to you during the day to give you information: Go to bush x, look for plant x and you’ll be able to treat children or adults who are ill.
On climate change, you had stations where you planted corn or cassava… Does that still happen?
It changed a few things. It’s been a long time since we’ve caught much in the field. But when that happens there, people are amazed and will try to beg in the mountains or in a river.
And do you have the answer?
There’s the answer, when the answer comes, we’re going to have a very big ceremony to give thanks for what happened at that moment. Because it’s not going to end here, we’re going to get there (in the mountains). Now if it’s over, that’s why anything they’re going to take away isn’t going to end. That’s where we go to go and present, so that a person doesn’t get sick or doesn’t get sick. That’s why there’s a chair for us.
When you’re seen wearing these clothes, what do people call you?
We are healers, we are Anamachini. The Portuguese translation is ESPIRITOS. Njombe means dancing.
Do you have a difference between a healer who only dances and doesn’t heal and one who doesn’t dance and heals?
Yes, there’s a lot of difference.
What are the names it has?
For example, I’m not a healer. I don’t know how to take the root and give it to a person to heal, I don’t know. But I have Machini, I have spirits. Yes, it’s very different from mommy, who is our source. She dreams of going to the mountain or somewhere else to look for any root to give to us who are her Mualis so that we can get along.
Regarding these things of asking for rain or not to rain, do you have prayers for the rain to fall or not to fall?
Yes, to make it rain.
At the time of the cyclones, did they pray for it to stop?
We ask. In this case, if it rains a lot, those rulers, counselors gather on the beach and they all go to the sea to do that (pray) to God, to slow down the speed of the rain.
Is the ceremony to ask for rain and for it not to rain similar or change?
It changes, it rains normally.
But is the ceremony you do the same?
For example, (in relation to) this ceremony that we’re doing now? Seedling.
Can children have spirits and heal?
Yes, children can perform rituals.
Do you have children in this house who have that kind of spirit like adults?
No, you don’t have it here. What is it about this kind of disease that we have? It doesn’t.
We’d like to know about the colors of your clothes, white, red and black, what do they mean?
There’s Antonio, there’s Mussa and there’s Maria. These colors have names, for example: Anthony is red, Mary is blue, Augustine is black.
Why wasn’t black used on the beach?
It doesn’t take away. This capulana of ours that we wear, this black one is there for the mountain. Then, there on the beach is that outfit that we wear, that she wore, that he wore: red and white, yes, you have to wear it on the beach.
When is this blue used? On the beach?
Yes, on the beach too.
But in the mountains, can you also wear white or not?
No, on the mountain only black.
Why are there these differences? Do you know why, or are you doing it because you’ve been taught?
No, it wasn’t taught. This is the Yini (spirit) that rules when it comes. Mom, explain it well. Because it happens like this, first they get the goat, the pigeon, then the white chicken. That comes in by day. For example, yesterday was Saturday. We started on Friday. It starts Thursday. Thursday we put on white clothes. Sixth outfit red with blue. Saturday to Black Sunday. The spirit there (beach) has his clothes that he wears. The other spirit over there (mountain), his outfit is this one (black).
What are your songs about?
That Yini (spirit) there, Machena first, then comes Tirupi. For example, the spirit there after leaving here, for me to know him he will have to come my names there, and we need to sing those songs of theirs, so that he recognizes the time that he is coming to visit me. He sings right there, after he gets there he will recognize that someone is coming to visit me. That’s it.
So is the music of that spirit?
Yes, for him to recognize. Yes, there in the woods when you go, you have to take mapira, you have to take rice to cook there. Chicken, when you go there you have to take yoke beans, you have to take things. There you can also take goat, there in the woods. Because things from there are natural things. It’s wine, Macua wine. Smoking tobacco. That’s why we, whenever a person when they’re sick like this one takes so many years. Looking for money, putting it with your family, inviting you… Because there’s work: cloth has work. So you’re looking at this house, this little house here you also have to put cloth inside and outside here, make up there. What I’m talking about is a lot of things. That’s why the Yini (spirit) is not soon, soon (fast). It’s a complicated disease. Fever, fever, fever, even you go (to the ground) and complicate it.
When the ceremony ended, did you find anything? Because we saw that whoever had the spirit was looking for something all over this yard.

The spirit comes and tells me to look for the hidden thing. You can’t just look. The spirit is the one who tells you to look. And the handkerchief is a secret. We’re the ones who know where we’ve found it.