Demystifying Imphepho

Imphepho is a sacred African herb, often used for ceremonies small and large, like Umembeso – a ritual where the groom presents the bride’s family with gifts before the wedding. Believers say lighting the herb and smelling its aroma puts them in touch with their ancestors and fills them with peace and calm. 

But many modern believers don’t have time to draw on the herb in their daily life. Enter Gugu Majola, a sangoma,  who was inspired by the frequent use of Impepho at her initiation school, and wondered what else it could be used for. After feeling she’d got the go-ahead spiritually, she started experimenting and found the herb can be consumed, as well as used in candles and soaps. 

Now she has a thriving business that aims to help believers use the herb every day while also combating the negative stereotypes associated with it. 

It presents a small opportunity to cleanse the bad energy away and start every day over.  So, everyone, go and buy as many candles as you can: we need to collectively cleanse the country’s energy, ASAP. 😂

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 24 June 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates