Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One mountain, many lives

Her name is Shahnaaz and she’s a healer. We met this afternoon over a bright pink cloth on a saint’s grave on Table Mountain.

I was walking past the mosque on Signal Hill and Shahnaaz was about to enter the mosque with her family. I asked her about the pink cloth, which had not been on the saint’s grave a few days before. The graves are called kramats and there are about 6 or 8 of them around the mosque.

She explained to me that making an offering to the saint buried there could include placing a new cloth, called a chadar, on the grave. “There are many layers of cloth on top of the grave, placed there over a long time by many people.”

Then Shahnaaz told me that she was there to make a special offering to the saint under the pink cloth. He had been a healer and so was she, offering reiki and reflexology and all kinds of other alternative treatments.
She had fasted for two days and now, as the sun set, was about to break her fast with some dates and nuts.
Shahnaaz, the healer about to break her fast.
I said goodbye to Shahnaaz and then noticed a group of cyclists who had met in front of another kramat. One of them leant his bicycle against the grave. “Um, this is a sacred spot,” I said without thinking. “Oh it’s just a dead person,” the man said. One mountain, many lives.
Rumours of rain. When a cloud hangs over Lion's Head like a lacy Catholic mantilla veil, it will rain tomorrow. Really.


Wendy Morgenrood said...

And it did rain. Thanks, Judy!

shahnaaz said...

hi judy thk u so much for posting my pic and ur comments. hope to meet up with u soon. regards shahnaaz