A sangoma is a practitioner of herbal medicine, divination and counselling in traditional Southern African societies (effectively an African shaman).
The philosophy is based on a belief in ancestral spirits. Men and women can be called by the ancestors (a consequence of refusing the calling is usually ongoing physical or mental illness). The trainee sangoma, or twaza, trains under another sangoma, usually for a period of many years, performing humbling service in the community. At times in the training, and for graduation, a ritual sacrifice of an animal is performed - the spilling of blood seals the bond between the ancestors and the sangoma.
"Remind people that there is a great wisdom in Africa that will be lost soon. In Africa we used to know that all things were interconnected. Like a spiders' web in the early morning shiny with dew, we knew all people were connected because we all come from the stars."
Credo Mutwa (elder, author, sangoma)