Sobonfu Somé was one of the foremost voices in African spirituality to come to the West. Destined from birth to teach the ancient wisdom, ritual, and practices of her ancestors, Sobonfu (meaning "keeper of the rituals") traveled the world on a healing mission sharing the rich spiritual life and culture of her native land, Burkina Faso, which ranks as one of the world's poorest countries yet one of the richest in spiritual life and custom.
Recognized by the village elders as possessing special gifts from birth, Sobonfu's destiny was foretold before she came into this world, as is the custom of the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. "My work is really a journey in self-discovery and in building community through rituals," said Sobonfu. Dagara rituals involve healing and preparing the mind, body, spirit, and soul to receive the spirituality that is all around us. "It is always challenging to bring the spiritual into the material world, but it is one of the only ways we can put people back in touch with the earth and their inner values."
Sobonfu traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe conducting workshops on spirituality, ritual, the sacred, and intimacy. Her work moved African spiritual practices from the realm of anthropology, to a place alongside the world's great spiritual traditions, with a message of profound significance and practical application in the lives of Westerners. Her message about the importance of spirit, community, and ritual in our lives rings with an intuitive power and truth that Alice Walker has said "can help us put together so many things that our modern Western world has broken."
Sobonfu founded Wisdom Spring, Inc., a non-profit organization which uplifts, honors, and preserves the wisdom of indigenous cultures through programs of education, travel, cultural, community, and scientific exchange. In her travels for Wisdom Spring, she raised awareness by speaking about the daunting work required in Africa to get clean water. Sadly, Sobonfu died January 14, 2017, from a weakened immune system attributed to drinking contaminated water. She was only 48 years old.
- Insights into African rituals and spirituality
- Cultural criticism from an indigenous perspective
- Spiritual practices on community, marriage, and family