The functions of dreams and visions in the ibandla lamaNazaretha at Inanda.
This study investigates the function of dreams and visions in the Shembe church at Inanda. It looks at who Isia Shembe (the church founder) and his lineage are to Shembeites, the nature of the relationship between Shembe and the amadlozi (ancestors) and what roles they play in Shembeite life. The data was collected using qualitative methodology - in-depth interviews that were transcribed and where necessary, translated. The study is best understood within a structural-functionalism framework, which accounts for the social and cultural aspects of the religion. The study concludes that Isia Shembe and his lineage are generally thought of as prophets through whom God works. Shembe and the amadlozi often work as a unit and perform the roles of converter, purveyors of good fortune and guides or directors. In addition, Shembe solely performs the roles of cultural leader and mediator between Shembeites and the amadlozi and between Shembeites and God. Dreams and visions function to guide Shembeites, as communication with the spiritual realm, as a method of conversion and as re-affirmations of faith.