As some of you know, we recently shared news about Umsebenzi WeThongo – an African ancestral retreat created by Makhosi Noentla Khumalo, taking place this month of May in Magaliesburg, Gauteng.

In this article, the gracious woman and healer behind the retreat shares a personal reflection on the rocky journey that eventually led her to create this medicine for the larger community.

This is the short story of an alchemist.

Read on…

As written by Makhosi Noentla Khumalo

My name is Noentla Khumalo, born Gugulethu Hazel Khumalo, a name I no longer use except for official documentary. Born to a Swati mother (Nkoyoyo, Mbabane, ESwatini) and Zulu father (Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal). I also acknowledge my maternal ancestry of Shangaan decent (Tzaneen, Limpopo) as well as my paternal maternal ancestry of Zigua (Hadeni, Tazania).

I look at the intrinsic manner in which spirit has to travel to create a soul. If you ask about my background, I was born from a very eclectic mix of lineages which has created adventures, travel and the bridging of gaps. I have collected many stories and existences in this one lifetime purely from the places I have been to and people I have loved. I have had to learn the art of reinvention as well as rebirth to become the women I am today. There are many places that I can call home, so much so that I know I am my biggest home.

My journey to become a healer began at a time when I was in search for a home that could hold all of me, a sense of belonging and an answer to end the suffering that I had so long felt. All of these feelings created a lot of panic and chaos around, and within, me. I grew anxious of the many things I was holding and my capacity had been reached. When you feel like everything challenging happens to you, you ask yourself ‘why always me?’ I was not prepared when I unknowingly surrendered to a path that was instead going to answer the question ‘why not me?’

It was an immediate ‘yes’ when I discovered that ubungoma was my destiny and calling, I was willing to do just about anything that would end my misery. The complete unlearning and undoing of ukuthwasa was gradual and it took some time for me to understand what I was doing. It challenged how I related to the parts of myself that I thought were valuable, it asked me to sacrifice more than I ever thought I’d be willing to give up. It stripped many labels that I had attached to and the roles I thought I should be fulfilling. Because if not me then who? And if not then, when?

Ithongo never gave me a choice or a moment to question because it was always meant to be the way it happened; my entire life’s journey was predestined to be what it was and what it was becoming.  In all of this there is a moment of free will when the universe awaits your choice and mine was to dive deep into the unknown. I stepped into a world where I was a complete fish out of water. In that moment I knew I should follow what felt most natural and embrace my journey of becoming anew. I am a sensitive being; my greatest and worst characteristic is that I am I mostly governed by my emotions. A lot of my choices have been in the moment. Living like this requires a lot of acceptance and assurance, so I had to learn how to accept and embrace all the light and dark parts of my being. Most importantly, I had to be at peace with the fact that everything is as it should be. It was a challenging experience that pulled me apart to bring me back together.

Life for me changed forever. I gave it all up to become whole again and embraced all the parts of myself I wanted to rid of. With that came the inspiration to create Umsebenzi WeThongo – a safe space for breathing, release, and cleansing for those that are intentionally looking into ubungoma and alternative healing methods to better themselves. I wanted to create an environment that was safe to let go in and unlearn all the limitations we place on ourselves. As we all know, the process of intentionally healing can have its lonely moments. The retreat is to help along in this process that need not be done alone.  It is also a great opportunity for me to build community with other healers, proving that we can stand and work together by holding space for each other’s gifts to shine in one light as we shine individually.

The retreat is for anyone that needs help with understanding the purpose of connecting to our ancestors and spirit guides.  During the retreat we open up the portals of communication physically and within, we teach about the mechanisms needed to cope as you heal and we remove the negative energies that are blocking progress. We, together in community, hold each other by going straight to source through doing the work and using the tools.  We, together, go to the depths of the road less travelled.

Image by: Mzuvukile Nhlabatsi

This is very much an ancestral guided process, including the healers invited to guide sessions and the flow of the entire weekend. The inception of the retreat was divine guidance from the ancestors to expand the way in which I approach holding space for healing to take place. I am learning to be open and vulnerable about my own journey. I’m ready to share and bare my own flaws. In order to go far, we need to do so in community. In order to make real change and impact, we need to all align ourselves by holding space for each other as we heal.

The retreat is here to act as a catalyst to open up the passageway to walking in the light with our ancestors.My ancestors have shown me that my body is more powerful than I ever gave it credit for, they showed me I have the capacity to make lasting impact with those I have the pleasure of meeting. They have taught me that in the wake of adversity I am able to come out the other side a better person. They have taught me to embrace, even when I’m in pain, and that grace is always there as the softest landing. They will always show up to hold me when no one else does. I have learnt to trust in my own capabilities and ability to make my visions come to life.

I leave you with this: The work of the ancestors is always happening around us whether we participate or not, so rather be an active participant and master of your own destiny.


Umsebenzi WeThongo retreat by Makhosi Noentla is taking place this month of May. See the details below:



Transformative Spiritual Retreat  

The art of living with spirit is the expression of creativity where we can learn to solve almost any problem. The creative act is one of the greatest gifts to self. By expressing your creativity you take steps to overcoming your limitations. Freely express the vibrations of your highest self.


Date: 27 MAY – 30 MAY 2022



*Transport, accommodation and all meals included*



  • Ancestral ceremony and drumming
  • Guided meditation
  • Importance of writing and journaling
  • Life coaching and self expression
  • Ashtanga yoga energy and trance healing
  • Mushroom journey – shadow work


To book/For more info: 


Read more about Umsebenzi WeThongo here: 




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