39-year-old South African herbalist, Sibusiso Ngobese says his 17 big pythons serve as a link to his ancestors. And without them he doesn't think he can do his spiritual job of healing his patients. "My ancestors talk to me through these blessed snakes. The power of healing comes from them. They show me how to treat patients and what muthi to give them," said Sibusiso. He began living with the snakes in 2005 after he became a herbalist. Sibusiso comes from Eshowe, northern KZN.
He now lives and consults in Germiston, east of Joburg, where he has a shrine. He said the snakes became close to him during his initiation process, when he disappeared into a river for three months. "I am a water herbalist as I went through a process under water. I don't have a human gobela. My gobela was a river snake. That's where my relationship with the snakes comes from," said Sibusiso. He followed in his father's footsteps, who was also a herbalist. "My father died in 2000 and I took over from him in 2005. He blessed me with the power to heal people through the snakes and juju," said Sibusiso. He also has 14 big snakes at his home in KZN. Sibusiso is helped with his many clients by nephews Qwephe Ngobese and Nkomane Thuli, who understand the big snakes and juju. "They help me every step of the way by packaging juju and comforting my snakes." Sibusiso said he is yet to achieve his goal. "I was shown in a vision years ago that I should go around the country healing people. So far I have been to Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Mpumalanga, not forgetting my home town in KZN," he said.