Travel-Ing.: Witnessing a nighttime seaside Babtism in Durban South Africa

It was early, very early, around 3 in the Morning. I didn’t sleep for more then 30 hours and felt drowsy. Heavy mist hung over the Durban bay, the beach was deserted except for the small group of people that we where, when suddenly a deep, rolling Drum beat carried over through the mist. At first I ignored it, quite naturaly actually since I was at the beach with a whole lot of girls at my age and no other guys, but the heavy beat persisted and became louder.

Bomm, bomm, bomm … through the fog Silhouettes of slowly walking people appeared. They where all wearing white gowns  no I think those where actually robes! Yes they where wearing white robes as in “ritual gear”?!

Well … bomm, bomm, bomm, … around 20 robed figures marched down the foggy beach towards us. Under the first figures  a guy carried a giant drum in front of his breast. He was madly hammering his samba beater drumsticks left and right against the big membrane …. BOMM, BOMM, BOMM
Slowly and silently  (not counting the drumbeat “boom boom boom”) the procession advanced in our direction. The dense fog curled around the advancing group, sometimes it swallowed part or all of the robed silhouettes. Here and there I could see candles(?) or maybe torches held by the participants of this procession. I must say all in all a couple of cthulhu cults came to my mind, or maybe this is some sangoma voodoo magick ritual going on? All we could see where robes and here and there a black face under a hoody (in South Africa you do not get shot for wearing a hoody no matter if you are black, white or Indian and white hoodies may not be clan).

The Procession came to a halt about 200 m away from us. Women from the group started putting up candles on the beach in a cross like pattern while a group of four men undressed a fifth man. Bomm, bomm, bomm the Drumbeat was still steady and filled the morning air when the men advanced to the waters with their … victim? I really was not sure, they half dragged, carried or led him to the shore and into the water. The Waves where high that morning, maybe 1-2m not far from the shore and over 5m behind the “ditch” you find in Durban.

The Drummer followed the five men into the waves, drumming his beat until he was waist deep and the waves sometimes crashed onto his breast. He held his big drum up and kept drumming. The group led the half naked man into the higher waves and started to throw him into crashing waves. It seemed as if they tried to kill him, honestly that poor man was thrown into the waves by robed figures. As soon as he got back up to his feed they grabed him and threw him back in. This was performed several times. In the Meanwhile the women at the shore had a nice candle lit area prepared where they had food(?) and drink(?) unfortunately this was unclear to see through the mist. Just when we thought we are watching ritual murder they helped the man back out of the water, the drumming stopped -.

Back at the shore every one huged the man, kissed(?) him and the group proceeded to have a meal together. After about 30 minutes the group packed up and dissolved into the mist.

Only days later I found out that this was a christian sect babtising a new member. I guess it was the “LAst Supper” which was held after the babtism. The whole thing was very spooky and it sticks in my mind to this day.


~ by Otto on January 30, 2013.

One Response to “Travel-Ing.: Witnessing a nighttime seaside Babtism in Durban South Africa”

  1. Great website. Lots of useful information here. I’m sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you on your sweat!

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