Ngakabae: The Culling

Subsequent to completing my initiation to become Ngaka ya Setšo, I assumed that life would soon return to the way I had left it. An expectation I also had, was that the relationships which took many years to cultivate would remain unchanged. Eisan, I was fooled by the fallacy of time, completely delusional in my thinking. Years alone were not enough to justify some friendships. The types frequently visited by jealousy and envy. My foolishness gnawed at my soul for quite some time as this was an extremely difficult reality to process.

Of course people have spiritual differences and that is okay, I mean there is enough space under the sun for all of us to exist. But to simply pull a Houdini on a homie was a complete prick move and to conjure up the classic “I don’t believe in those things” story, left a rather bitter after taste in the mouth. It took a while to get over this little saga, mara ke grand nou ska wara kanna.

It would be dishonest to say that building social capital isn’t important. It is natural for humans to want to climb up the ladder and social capital is one of the shortcuts to achieving this.

However, a clear distinction needs to be made between building a healthy and sustainable social base and building a social base which has its foundation built on the ego. The ego is a very fragile thing and shatters rather easily. Knowing important people or even being the important person in a room, is a very popular party trick. The question to be asked is this “what happens when these important people, whose names you evangelise like the gospel, don’t come to your party?”


Yes, it bites and yes it can get depressing, however a lovely gift was delivered to me, I did not to have to work too hard to figure out who wasn’t on my team. With this came the opportunity to conduct a social audit. Taking a close look at each and every friendship to ask the question, is this worth it? The answer “no” came up so many times that I was left wondering “dude are you sure you are not bitter, why are you losing so many friends?”. I arrived at an unexpected revelation as well, bitterness wasn’t the issue, the fear of letting go was. Out of nowhere this fear had once again found its way into my psyche, although short lived, it was there nonetheless.

What to do?

You see it wasn’t as a result of some special supernatural ability that I realised that I had taken on more than what I could carry socially. Many of the friends I kept drained me of my vitality and let me be real, I knew these friendships had no real value to them. They were quickly downgraded to junk status because they were merely social props to make a person look good on the streets.

I too had contributed to the mess, I was a willing participant to all of it, so it is unfair to put the blame solely on other people. The challenge brought on by the fear was gladly accepted. There was absolutely no reason to waste such a lovely opportunity by chickening out. I continued with the culling process, a slow and brutal process. The fear was conquered eventually and once again I am in full control of the guest list to my party.

Take this with you

Removing toxic people out of your life isn’t difficult, the difficulty lies in identifying who these people are.


Photographer: Vus Ngxande