Traditional garb costs sangoma initiate a job

healerAn Eastern Cape sangoma initiate was asked to leave his work premises, apparently because he was wearing traditional beads and white paint on his face, the Daily Dispatch reported on Monday.

Zolile Jali, a general worker at Auto Tyres in Cambridge, claimed he was dismissed last Monday for wearing traditional beads, white head gear and white paint on his face, but this was denied by his employer.

“I took leave from work after I became very sick. I could not walk and I suffered numerous asthma attacks. My elders advised me that I was suffering because I was ignoring my calling as a sangoma,” said Jali. He soon recovered fully.

“Last Monday I reported back to work wearing my beads and my bosses dismissed me,” he said.

Auto Tyres branch manager Ivor Richter said Jali had not been fired, but given time off to sort out his image.

“The employee said he would not change his image without getting permission from his superiors and we said he must go and do that…

“We are a company that operates on strict guidelines when it comes to our employees. Customers have raised some concerns with regard to our employees’ dress code,” said Richter.

Jali has lodged a grievance with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). – Sapa