About Us

The Society for African Occult Research (Pty) Ltd, (TASFOR) is an organisation aimed at the scientific research of Ngoma/African Spirituality. It argues for a truly academic comparative study of Ngoma across the social sciences, that privileges African thinking on what constitutes spiritual orthodoxy and rationality.

TASFOR intends to synthesize the scattered information that Sangoma’s of antiquity have placed at our disposal to explain the mysteries facing us in this phase of Africa’s spiritual evolution. In order to adequately achieve this, we believe that it is important to place the study of African spirituality upon a scientific basis, and for those who are collinear with this approach this marks the beginning of scientific research into the metaphysical regions of Africa. Forging an affinity with science is one crucial way in which Ngoma can gain cultural currency in its project of ‘refashioning African spirituality’. This new science-Ngoma idea in particular, will co-opt the language of science and stake a strong claim to rationality while at the same time undermining scientific naturalism as a worldview and rejecting the rationalist assumptions upon which it depends. The science-Ngoma contract which TASFOR seeks to elucidate more thoroughly with its points of contact, as it is represented textually and in embodiment, will be the future aspect of African Spirituality. Establishing African Spirituality as a contemporary source in which to find scientific research on metaphysical philosophies is to argue for a truly academic comparative study of African spirituality across the social sciences that privileges African thinking on what constitutes spiritual orthodoxy and rationality.

Where the Physical Researchers consider themselves to be making fresh inroads into scientific knowledge, and correcting their materialist direction in so doing, TASFOR endeavors to investigate thought relating to a science loftier than any dealing exclusively with phenomena perceptible to the physical senses. Our purpose is to reveal that living men might actually develop faculties qualified to operate freely on that superior plane of Nature beyond the reach of the physical senses which had been generally supposed accessible only to the spirits of the dead.

A strong reconciliation between science and ngoma is crucial for the study of the unknown. We intend to gather and systemize the oldest tenets of ngoma together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole. Throughout our publications the movement and survival of Ngoma will be conceptualised and expressed in terms of ‘currents’, ‘discourses’ and ‘languages’ with different African Occultist’s across Africa. This affords the opportunity for intelligent discussion and criticism, both of Ngoma and of plans for its reform to formulate a distinctly new conception of Ngoma fitting for the modern and new spiritually-attuned age of civilization, that is engaged in reconstructing this category of ‘life’. Through an intellectual and sociological approach, we intend to prosecute scholarly attention to the place of Ngoma in the cultural scene, and to challenge the assumption that African Spirituality represents an anachronistic fault line in civilisation and modernity either best glossed over, or needing to be exposed and condemned. This mid-nineteenth-century combination of imperialism and evangelism has vigorously subordinated the African Occultist and related him in mind to peoples who bow down to idols and represent the religious aspect of human savagery and ignorance’ belonging ‘in their main principle to the lowest known stages of civilization, and the lower races, who have not partaken largely of the education of the world. A blasphemous parody on Religion, for it found only trivial formal distinctions between its philosophical institutions and the Bantu’s.

Through an intellectual and sociological approach, we intend to prosecute scholarly attention to the place of African Spirituality in the cultural scene, and to challenge the assumption that African Spirituality represents an anachronistic fault line in civilisation and modernity either best glossed over, or needing to be exposed and condemned. This mid-nineteenth-century combination of imperialism and evangelism has vigorously subordinated the African Occultist and related him in mind to peoples who bow down to idols and represent the religious aspect of human savagery and ignorance’ belonging ‘in their main principle to the lowest known stages of civilization, and the lower races, who have not partaken largely of the education of the world. A blasphemous parody on Religion, for it found only trivial formal distinctions between its philosophical institutions and the Bantu’s.

We believe African Spirituality is undergoing a renaissance of its own, a “spiritual revival” if you will. Moreover, what is demonstrated is a movement away from an identification of African Spirituality as a historically and geographically remote cultural practice to a current and local one. The movement shows itself to be concerned with subverting degeneration (the scientific, materialistic and technological paradigm and its encroachment upon the spiritual or religious sense of life) and pursuing regeneration (spiritual enlightenment), in socio-scientific terms, of the social mainstream, a trend which is also detectible in wider culture. That this surfacing, at this time, must be understood as part of a narrative of changing religious sensibilities.

TASFOR proposes that, in its systematic identification and addressing of cultural and social needs, general and specific, African Spirituality should be viewed as closer to the social mainstream than is presently appreciated. Moreover, that the Sangoma’s efforts towards individual and cultural regeneration, take place within a broader cultural movement away from social thought dominated by degeneration, and towards thinking directed towards regeneration.

In rebranding African Spirituality, we are faulting anthropologists that pervaded academic scholarship at the pinnacle of colonial expansion for their implicit theories of history that still remain in vigour today. They have made it difficult for ngoma to remain as a valid in institution in its own right, such that there still remains to be prepared a study which reads African Spirituality with attention to its own terms of engagement and description. The writers of this website have toiled to express ideas of this order in terms intelligible and true to the African intellectual personality. They have determined to approach the subject with a method different to those of “historians”, and by this, uncover an unappreciated view of African spirituality.

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