About the Institute

Icamagu Institute or “Icamagu” was founded in 1998 by Dr Nokuzola Mndende who is an academic, a diviner and above all, a practitioner and leader of African Indigenous Religion. During the time of the establishment of Icamagu Dr Mndende was a lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town.

Camagu is a Xhosa term that is used in all the activities that are associated with ancestors. Camagu broadly means, “Be honored”, “Thank you”, “Let it be so”, “I have heard”, “I promise”, “Give respect, dignity and spirituality in the African context”. In essence, Icamagu Institute aims at teaching the communities about the ways of giving honor to Qamata, the Creator and to the ancestors as intermediaries between the living and the spiritual world. Icamagu also aims to revive indigenous African spirituality as a basis to moral regeneration in the country and beyond. Icamagu also uses the family values as a unifying factor and a measuring rod for all community affairs.

Icamagu ‘Heritage’ Institute is situated at Wakeni Location, Ngxakaxa A/A, Dutywa in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The site is + – 8 km from Dutywa and is on the N2 between Dutywa and Butterworth towards East London. It was given to the Institute by the local chief, Nkosi Mthetho ‘Ngubesizwe’ Sigcawu to promote rural development and Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

The institute consists of an academic wing and offers workshops and a diploma in African Traditional Religion. Schools visit the institute for lessons on African culture and spirituality. The institute also consists of a nursery, vegetable garden and a demonstration garden for Indigenous trees and herbal medicines


To revive African Traditional Religion and indigenous spirituality in a post-colonial country.


  • To conduct some research on African Traditional Religion and African spirituality
  • To publish books on indigenous spirituality as part of sacred texts in a changing society
  • To promote moral values as a basis for African way of life.

The aims of the nursery and the garden are:

  • To promote integrated sustainable livelihood programs such as tree-planting, cultivation, protection of species and a food garden.
  • To bring awareness about climate change and global warming.
  • To use Icamagu as a demonstration garden to have a nursery and to plant indigenous trees and some herbal medicines that are highly used for family rituals and for minor ailments.
  • To encourage the youth and women to participate in tree planting activities and related environmental education programs.
  • To promote rural development

The demonstration garden consists of the following:

  • Indigenous trees
  • Natural medicines for minor ailments
  • Vegetable garden