Home ZCC Services Moria

© 2020 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Badimo - a service for the Ancestors

The ZCC do not hold Setlhabelo (Sacrice Services) like other types of Zionist churches, but when they slaughter a beast they invite all Z.C.C. congregations in the district to attend the Badimo Service. This pleases Badimo(Ancestors), who can then mediate between God and Man. This is obviously reflecting a traditional attitude to Badimo and slaughtering. At these services, because God is pleased, the Prophets are given Spirit to "see" problems and forewarn the individuals concerned to enable them to take protective actions.

This Badimo service was held by a family who were not themselves Z.C.C. Members . It was being held for their grandfather, who had died 12 years before and it was he who had been a member. He had told them that every year on the anniversary of his death they were to kill a fat ox for him as a sacrifice to the Badimo (Ancestors). By doing this and holding a feast, the Ancestors would be pleased and continue their support to the family to enable them to continue to prosper.

This service was held at the family's Cattle-post. When I arrived the ox had already been slaughtered in the traditional ZCC way -. first Holy Water had been sprinkled on it before its throat was cut. The meat was then cooked in the usual Tswana way in a big  iron pot.

Food for Badimo feast being cooked in iron pots in cooking area. Apart from the meat, samp (maize grains), pumpkin and gravy were cooked.

Meat of slaughtered ox hung in one of rondavels. Some was cooked for the feast and remainder distributed to neighbours and relatives. This “spilling of blood” attracts the  attention of Badimo and  the feast and sharing of the feast and meat pleases them so that the family will continue to prosper.

There was a serious thunderstorm when we arrived during the afternoon, so everyone took shelter in the cattlepost rondavel houses. One of the Baruti (Church leaders), took the Holy whip and cracked it around the yard, reciting a special prayer to drive away the lightning. He then took water from a bucket of Holy Water and sprinkled the fence posts and entrances, inside the houses, and all the people sheltering inside,  with this water. This was to protect them and the Cattle-post from the destructive lightning. All the time he was reciting the protective prayer. Then he took pieces of Holy paper from his Bible in his breast pocket. He set these alight and then dropped them around the house and the yard, again all the time reciting the prayer.

There are obvious parallels here between the method of this  Moruti who sprinkled the entrances, and the traditional doctor cleansing a bewitched yard when the same areas will be doctored. Similarly whilst the Moruti was reciting his prayer it was comparable to when a traditional doctor recites his incantations - people continued with their social conversations, they did not reverently remain silent.

(During this thunderstorm one Moruti “received” a prophecy -  one of that family was to be struck by lightning. (When we returned to Kanye the next day it was found that one of the married daughters' houses had been struck and totally destroyed. She and her husband were not Z.C.C. members themselves, but when they later consulted a traditional doctor they were told that the land where they had built was bewitched and he advised them to move away from the kgotla completely and build in a different area. They did this. From this example it can be seen that Baruti and traditional doctors are working in the "same area of concern".)