John Lockley
Founder of “The Way of the Leopard" Teachings & Sangoma (African Shaman)

John Lockley is one of the first white men in recent history to become a fully initiated sangoma (traditional African shaman) in the Xhosa lineage of South Africa. He was born in 1971 into a divided apartheid South Africa, with the mark of the sangoma on his face — a band of white birth skin around the eyes. 

At 18, John was serving in the South African army as a medic when he had a strong, prophetic dream calling him to train as a Xhosa sangoma. He immediately began to suffer from the thwasa, a severe period of ill health that is inherent in all ancient shamanic cultures and which can only be cured through apprenticeship to a shamanic teacher.

Because of the restrictions of apartheid (which ended in 1994), it would take John seven years to find a Xhosa teacher. During the early days of his calling he trained as a Zen student under renowned Zen Master Su Bong, completing an intensive 3-month Kyol Che in a Buddhist monastery in South Korea. He was then invited by Zen Master Dae Soen Sa Nim to join his “monk army,” but the strength of his sangoma calling drew him back to South Africa.

Eventually, post-apartheid, John met MaMngwevu, a well-known Xhosa sangoma medicine woman, in one of the poorest townships in South Africa. She had foreseen his arrival in a dream and began his 10-year apprenticeship, giving him the initiated name Cingolweendaba, meaning messenger or connector between people and cultures.


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