Boss tells trainee sangoma: drop your culture or get out

by Alfred Moselakgomo

TOUGH CHOICE: Letjatji Mothoa’s employers say he must not wear traditional cloth. PHOTO:SIPHO MASOMBUKA

A student sangoma who wears a traditional cloth to work as part of his training has been forced to choose between his calling and his job by his employers. Now Letjatji Mothoa of Kameelrivier near Vaalbank, Mpumalanga, has approached the equality court alleging unfair treatment.

Mothoa told Sowetan that his bosses told him he would have to take off his traditional sangoma trainee garb or face the axe. He is a driver for Capacity, which is contracted to Tshwane municipality to collect rubbish in the city.

“Everybody at work knows that I am a student sangoma and doesn’t have a problem with me wearing motjeka (traditional cloth).

“I was surprised when our site manager, Connie Smith, called me to the office and told me that municipal officials were not comfortable with me coming to work wearing it,” he said. Mothoa said he tried in vain to convince his employers that he was abiding by the requirements of his calling to wear the cloth.

“They told me that I should either take it off or stay at home despite assuring them that my wearing this cloth would not in any way affect my efficiency at work,” Mothoa said. He has been working at the firm since 2007 but was forced to go for training as a sangoma in October last year after a series of “spiritual upheavals”.

Attempts to get comment from Smith drew a blank. Johannes Maepa, an administrator at the Pretoria equality court, confirmed yesterday that they had received a complaint from Mothoa.

source: Sowetan newspaper

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