The Bird of Heaven
The Story of a Swazi Sangoma, by Peter Dunseith
Home | Synopsis | Extracts | About the Author
The Bird of Heaven
takes the reader on an exciting journey into the world of Swazi magic and ritual, a reality full of wonder in which the mystical and the mundane overlap and interact. This is a world immediate and alive in Africa today: where tangoma (diviners) keep the world in balance by expressing the will of the Ancestors through prophecy and ritual, while batsakatsi (wizards) ride on baboons, strike at their enemies with lightning, and seek to steal the souls of the living as a sacrifice to their dark masters, the Ancient Ones.

A young apprentice sangoma (diviner) is chosen by the Ancestors to oppose the witchcraft that threatens the Swazi nation. Mandla, whose name means 'strength', must first find the muti bag that contains his spiritual inheritance of courage, imagination and truth. Then he must capture a bird of heaven and use its power to destroy the forces of darkness. But the umtsakatsi (wizard) and his fiendish servants will do anything to stop him. When Mandla participates in the ancient ritual of the Incwala, the ceremonial strengthening of the Swazi king, he faces a number of tests and challenges, leading to his final confrontation with the umtsakatsi in the arena of the Royal Kraal.
Published by Tafelberg. Available at Websters Bookshop in Mbabane and Manzini.
Contact Peter Dunseith