The co-founder of the controversial South African Satanic Church, Riaan Swiegelaar, was once a sangoma before he joined the Satanism.
Swiegelaar grabbed the headlines in February when the first Satanic church in South Africa was registered.
He had been a qualified sangoma or a traditional healer for eight years.
“My journey began when I met my tata [father], Dr. Alfred Megwa, in 2008. I was already doing psychic work and he felt that I needed to twasa [apprentice] with him so that l could take my ‘seeing’ to the next level,” he told The Citizen.
After finishing his training, he operated part-time as a sangoma, offering psychic services to clients and rituals to treat emotional and spiritual afflictions.
But after finding out about Satanism, “I no longer enjoyed performing traditional healing.
“In Satanism, animal sacrifice is not practised as you revere life. To take life would be antiSatanic.
“I viewed myself more as a Satanist than traditional healer and so chose to embrace my inner Satanic nature to revere life,” he said.
Satanists do not believe in Satan nor practice devil-worshipping or sacrifices. Instead, the church advocates being true to oneself, unconditional self-love, accepting one’s sinful nature, as well as educating the public on rituals for self-empowerment.
His church does not follow traditional ancestral beliefs, nor does it associate ancestors with Satanism, Swiegelaar said.
“Ancestral worship is not part of Satanism. Ancestral worship would be to revere something outside of yourself and Satanism is about revering what lies inside yourself.
“We accept and understand the place traditional healing holds in South Africa but we separate ourselves from any form of animal sacrifice that might form part of the rituals carried out in traditional healing.”
He said those who believed traditional healing was related with Satanism had no understanding.
“We have in no way said traditional healing is devilish. We find that people who claim traditional healing to bedevil worship and therefore related with Satanism, have a lack of understanding for both.”
Swiegelaar was also once a pastor at a Christian church.