Stroud travels to Zululand to meet with a Sangoma – a female African Shaman – to experience the rite of passage known as scarification. The Sangoma meets with Stroud and puts him through a series of rituals to determine where his inner ailments lie. They believe these inner ailments need protection; this is achieved through physical scaring and the ingestion of extremely bitter, nausea-inducing herbal medicines. The process is extremely painful and normally experienced by land hardened African Zulu natives. Scarification is a long and painful process, and a permanent modification of the body, transmitting complex messages about identity and social status. Permanent body markings emphasise fixed social, political and religious roles. Facial scarification in West Africa is used for identification of ethnic groups, families, individuals, but also to express personal beauty. It is also performed on girls to mark stages of the life process, such as puberty, marriage etc. They can assist in making them more attractive to men, as the scars are regarded as appealing to touch as well as to look at, but also as testimony that women will be able to withstand the pain of childbirth. The Zulu’s methods of traditional hunting will be learned by Stroud, as well as the deadly sport of stick fighting.
With award winning, never before seen ceremonial and survival footage, Les Stroud crafted this stunningly beautiful and compelling series about connecting to the earth through survival and ancient ceremonies with indigenous cultures around the planet.