One of the most unique and precious treasures Colin Campbell bears is that he is one of the few who were accepted, taught and initiated by some of the wisest pre-industrial African knowledge carriers who lived in Southern Africa. Sadly, the teachers he knew and their particular understanding of the world have largely been lost as Western culture (and its associated destruction of natural habitats) infiltrated and consumed indigenous Southern Africa.
His dedicated passion to know and integrate indigenous healing practices has resulted in an unexpected and ironic outcome where two men of Scottish descent, Colin and his younger brother Niall, are amongst the rarest-known custodians of ancient sacred African knowledge systems.
Colin’s education was largely influenced by his travels through Africa with his father Alec Campbell, who was a cultural historian and anthropologist. From the age of 6, indigenous teachers from North Western Botswana, South Eastern Botswana and South Eastern Zimbabwe recognised Colin’s calling as healer and started training and initiating him in their traditions. Another notable influence on his development was a time of 3 years he spent living with his maternal Grandmother, who lived in Harare (Zimbabwe). His grandmother was a legendary healer of great repute who rooted her restorative practices in orthodox Catholicism.
This quality of parallel, yet distinctly separate, cosmologies threads through every aspect of Colin’s education: as he was being trained in indigenous African knowledge systems, Colin attended schools in Botswana and Harare. In 1984, Colin enrolled at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he formally studied Fine Arts at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (1984-1987) and elected to study Western psychology and Ethno-musicology. In his spare time however, Colin worked undercover during the Apartheid regime in South Africa, as an African Medicine doctor with the UCT outreach medical students. In addition to this, most of his university holidays were spent communing with his indigenous teachers in Botswana, as he persevered through relentless and ever-expanding initiations into African knowledge systems.
In 1995, Colin formally opened a practice to treat private clients. His practice includes African divination, creating ritual treatments and counselling in wilderness-based psychology.
In 2000, Colin and Niall Campbell were initiated as Sangomas into the Fondo sangoma lineage. Upon their graduation in 2001 they founded the Ngonyama lineage and school for traditional healers in South Eastern Botswana. To date the brothers have trained about 60 students.
Ngonyama also runs public outreach programs where they teach wilderness-based knowledge systems to prominent politicians, environmentalist and indiginous leaders from all over the world.
Colin is a celebrated public speaker who shares his insights and understanding of cross-cultural existential psychology, ecopsychology and indigenous knowledge systems on various platforms, symposiums and earth concerned gatherings. He delivered lectures at large public events such as the World Wilderness Congress in Gqeberha (previously, Port Elizabeth, RSA), the Edge of the Wild annual UK ecopsychology gathering, the Earth Talks at the Schumacher College (UK) and the South African Association of Jungian Psychologists. He participated in a conference with the indigenous Sami Parliament which led to various wilderness-based training processes in Sweden.
Colin is known for his role as teacher at renowned institutions such as the University of Cape Town, Schumacher College in Devon (UK), the Blue Deer Centre (USA), the Sacred Fire community (USA) and various other earth concerned teaching institutions in both Southern England, Sweden and South Africa. In 2009, Colin participated in a conference with the indigenous Sami Parliament which led to various wilderness-based training processes in Sweden. He also co-taught on ecological field trips to Greenland for the organisation, Active Philanthropy.
Community outreach and environmental activism form a major part of Colin’s practice. Colin is a board member on the Earthlore Foundation and associate of the Gaia Foundation. Here he participates in conferences, he lectures and runs unique wilderness-training processes. Some of these processes have been co-created with his brother Niall for the African Bio Diversity Network. In addition, the brothers co-created the wilderness and indigenous component of the Earth Jurisprudence process with the Gaia Foundation. The Gaia Foundation, in collaboration with Colin and Niall, has created cross-cultural knowledge exchange programs with the indigenous peoples of the Columbian Amazon, Ethiopia, the Limpopo Province of South Africa and the Altai Mountains of Siberia.
Currently, Colin is in process of creating contemporary initiatory training programs, exploring a suitable form (film and/or writing) to contain the knowledge he carries. He is continuing to work with individuals and groups as diviner, teacher and public speaker.