The South African Vampyre Alliance (SAVA)
What is the SAVA?
The South African Vampyre Alliance is an independent and autonomous organization operating within the South African Vampyre community, which consists of those who self-identify as Vampyres and those who associate with them for their own personal reasons. Our organization is not accountable to anyone for any activity or decision it makes on behalf of its formal membership within the scope of applicable laws.
Membership to the SAVA is free. There are no membership fees or subscriptions. The SAVA holds no bank accounts, does not have any special tax-exempt status, and is not registered or listed with any shinai authority as a “church”, club or any other form of entity. We exist under our own mandate.
The SAVA does NOT condone criminality or criminal activity, and members of our group are NOT encouraged to commit any criminal acts, nor to fulfill any “tests” or tasks which may infringe upon shinai laws in order to become members of the SAVA – nor do we encourage or condone any similar acts within the parts of the community which are not a part of the SAVA. The SAVA performs thorough background checks on all members upon application, and there is no room within our organization for anyone with a criminal record for any activities relating to violent crimes, or crimes involving sexual abuse or other predatory behavior.
The SAVA is not a religious group, but maintains a neutral secular balance. While we respect the diverse religious and spiritual beliefs of all our members, there is no specific religion central to the ethos of the SAVA. We will not tolerate any attempts by members to influence, coerce or associate the SAVA with any religious group. SAVA is a stand-alone and independent group NOT affiliated to any religion.
Internally, SAVA does not teach, proselytize or initiate members in any form of religion or expect members to buy into any religious beliefs.
We are a secular organization, and while we maintain our secularity, we acknowledge that there are many among our members who are indeed religious, and we view this fact with respect and undertake to treat the personal beliefs of all our members with dignity.
We do not set any expectations for new members to become involved in any religious practices, regardless of what religious demographics are prevalent at any time within the local VC or even within the SAVA membership. To the Vampyres represented in this group, being a Vampyre is an identity, not a religion or a ritual practice. Whatever religion they identify with remains an external matter as far as the SAVA is concerned.
True, there are those non-vampyres who play games in which they personify vampire characters, and there are religions where non-vampyres perform rituals and do what Vampyres do as part of their pursuit for enlightenment, or power, or fuzzy white lights or whatever amuses them – but real self-identifying Vampyres have a NEED to do do these things naturally, without ritual, in order to remain healthy. That is their experience, and their belief resulting from their experience. The self-identifying Vampyre does not live a “lifestyle”, just as the average person does not view their own identity as a white male or black female as a “lifestyle”.
As an individual can in part be summarized as the outcome of their life experiences, so do we view a real self-identifying Vampyre. The Vampyre knows his or her needs, and knows the effects of satisfying these needs, as they also know the effects of abstinence. This experience demonstrates to the self-identifying Vampyre the reality of their situation and brings home to them the reality of their identity. This sort of reality transcends ritual and transcends religion in the same way as physical hunger and thirst override platitudes and societal taboo.
This naturally makes the Vampyre acutely aware of his or her nature, and the need to find balance. The SAVA outwardly exists to represent that balance, and as far as possible within the community, to maintain it.
Many make the assumption that Goth or Emo culture is the same thing as our culture, or that it is all part of an extended homogeneous “religion” or spiritual movement – and is often referred to by the ignorant as “evil” or “satanic” – but as with most assumptions, this is completely off the mark.
Vampyre culture internationally is diverse in its nature and eclectic in its make-up – and as a local community body, the SAVA is a secular and impartial middle-ground which seeks to act as a voice for our community, our identity group and culture in this country.
We as the SAVA operate on the foundation of what is to us a deeply held belief that being vampyric is a result of an as yet scientifically undefined natural phenomenon, which occurs regardless of choice on the part of the individual, a belief which in most cases is borne out by personal experience.
The South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA) is a formalized expression of the South African Vampi(y)re Community (SA VC), founded and established in May 2011 by the collaboration of various individuals resident within South Africa, notably: Octarine Valur, Gabrielle Draegan, Nereo, Samael Anathan, Lamia Satanei, Aura Escher, Rose Dantis and others who contributed their input.
Political And Ideological Alignment Within The Global Vampyre Community:
Use of a term like “the” Vampyre Community creates the impression that all Vampyres identify as part of the same global community, when in fact the international Vampyre Community is nothing more than a loose association of smaller geographically sparse community groups based around the world and interacting together for various reasons – often tied together by no more than their root identification as Vampyres.
The SAVA is a community body representing the growing young South African Vampyre Community (SA VC), and our interests both locally and internationally by interacting with other Vampyre communities in other countries.
Some in the global Vampyre Community have in the past assumed that we in South Africa (who have always used the vampYre spelling) are either aligned to one or another vampyric religious/spiritual group (such as the OSV) or that we have been influenced by the teachings of such a group. This is in point of fact NOT the case. We use the “Y” spelling because it is older than the later English “I” spelling. We use the older version of the word to describe real self identified Vampyres who experience the condition we call being vampyric. Conversely, we use the newer version to describe the fictional stereotype we see in myth, legend and fiction – and because when the media talks about Edward Cullen and Damon Salvatore, they talk about “vampires”. We are not a community group for “vampires”, but for self-identified real Vampyres.
This is a matter of perception and local and even individual preference, and some communities around the world use these specific terms to describe both fictional and real vampyric beings the same way we do, while others do the same by interchanging these terms in opposite meanings. It is important to clear up the detail that there are different sets of reasons why people use these terms in contradiction to each other, and not necessarily just because of what ideology or faction in the global VC they support or associate with.
The Constitution of the SAVA in essence gave the fledgling SA Vampyre Community a face, forming a body to achieve the aims laid out within the original SAVA Constitution.
The SAVA essentially functions as a committee to address the interests of the membership of the SAVA in terms of community development, social events and other matters which affect our culture.
The SAVA represents a more organized and formalized Community of real self-identified Vampi(y)res in South Africa, but in no way lays claim to being a self-appointed governing body for the whole of the South African Vampyre Community. There is no means of enforcing a centrally made decision upon the extended SA VC, nor any means to “force” extended SA VC participants to join the SAVA. Participation in the SAVA has always been, and remains, entirely voluntary.
The SAVA glyph, which features cyphers of each of the nine Halos in the outer band. This has been in use since February 2012, and has superseded the earlier sigil from 2011.
The South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA) co-operative, working together as an umbrella body within the South African Vampi(y)re Community (SA VC) for the purpose of giving structure to the Community and promoting the ethics, norms and culture synonymous with more established Vampyre Communities around the world, as well as promoting the culture of safe participation of individual members and non-members in the region of South Africa in collaboration with each other, acting together as the expression of the members desire to associate with each other as a unique body within the context of the greater Vampi(y)re Community.
Our goal is to actively seek out undiscovered existing groups and individuals within South Africa, to approach them to participate according to our group vision and according to accepted norms and safety guidelines and protocols, in the SAVA, the international VC, and to encourage and foster their growth and development as part of the local Community.
Statement of purpose:
The collaboration of groups and individual members in the South African Vampi(y)re Community for the purpose of building and strengthening the social structure of the SAVC, encouraging increased social activity and of developing and cultivating the Vampyre culture in the region. Achieving the goal of making the SAVC a safer place by means of consensus and general agreement and by joint co-operative actions to promote a positive image of the South African Vampi(y)re Community as a more visible and socially acceptable sub-culture.
Vision: A growing and developing SAVC as a safer environment for all members of the South African Vampi(y)re Community where participation in the international or greater VC is encouraged.
The focus of the SAVA will be on
i) Encouraging the growth of the Vampyre subculture by
a) Reaching out to the Awakened and encouraging them to join the SAVA and to participate in the local community, both in real life and online.
b) Encouraging members to form their own functioning and active groups (Houses, Covens, Temples etc).
c) Encouraging members to attend or host events, private or semi-public to boost social activity in the community.
d) Encouraging members to take an interest in the Vampyre culture by educating themselves about it.
e) Creating awareness among members and non-members of what it is to be vampyric, and an appreciation for the uniqueness of our culture.
ii) Promoting public tolerance for diversity and the Vampyre Community by
a) Disseminating accurate information about Vampyres, the vampyric condition and vampyrism, clarifying misunderstandings, countering propaganda, dispelling and busting myths about our kind.
b) Co-operating with other minority social groups in order to counter institutionalized ignorance, prejudice and persecution resulting from disinformation campaigns, deliberate acts and propaganda on the part of external hostile groups.
c) Answering bigotry and inaccuracies, deliberate or incidental, in the media by the submission of letters, articles, or direct contact and face-to-face interviews by delegated persons.
iii) Preserving the uniqueness of the South African Vampyre Community by
a) Ensuring that Vampyre ideologies, religions and cultural concepts or devices developed in foreign communities do not usurp or replace those of the local community.
b) Ensuring that foreign VC groups seeking a market for their books, ideology, religion, or other wares, and to exclude the pre-existing local community structures, do not gain a foothold in the local community in South Africa.
c) Interacting with Vampyre communities and groups in other countries and by adding our unique insight and contribution to the global Vampyre Community.
How Does The SAVA Work?
The scope of the SAVA covers the whole of South Africa. Each of the nine provinces is referred to as a Halo in SAVA. In the past, these Halos were regarded as separate territories managed by the SAVA, but now they are regarded simply as part of the commonage of the SAVA membership, each with its own unique vampyric cultural name and character.
When building something from the ground up, it is often worth considering using something that worked for other groups in other similar circumstances. In South Africa there are today many solitaries – individuals who have no sense of belonging to a larger Vampyre Community. Since its foundation, it has been the aim of the SAVA to change that.
When SAVA was established at the end of May 2011, much was in flux. Since then, SAVA has been working towards the goal of establishing a uniquely South African Vampyre Community. Instead of continuing to use the Mundane (or Shinai) name of each province coupled with the term “Halo”, it was decided to choose a unique name for each Halo – and instead of using Latin names – essentially Old World terms – to describe what is essentially places in the “New World” of Darkest Africa, it was decided to turn to a more esoteric method.
In general, all things vampyric in our culture globally, tend to be named in Latin. This tradition of using Latin has to do with the purported origins of the first recorded vampyric sub-cultures – the so-called “blood cults” in ancient Rome (cults of Mithras, and even early Christian groups). According to some sources at least, it appears these groups gave rise to what has become known in popular gothic fiction as the vampire “hunter” – mercenaries hired by the Roman government to infiltrate them and to kill all the members. This grim reminder of ages past appears to indicate the reason behind the Latin connection to our modern culture, but it does not mean that it is also necessarily the best path for a new Community in a place as unique and diverse as South Africa to follow.
It was decided to use something different – star names. Some of them are Latin, yes – but many are Greek, Aramaic and Kemetic. The southern hemisphere is filled with stars, some of the brightest known – and so it was decided to name each Halo after a star in the night sky of the Southern Hemisphere. The list of suitable stellar names was presented, and the original Magisters who were placed in charge of the development of the culture in the Halos operating at that time, chose a name from the list which they felt was suitable for their Halo, with the rest of the Halos being named in February 2012. The one exception to this convention was Ilyatha Halo, whose name was inspired by the goddess Lilith, a deity of special significance to Vampyres – and also to the first Magister of that Halo, Jhenephyr Phoenix Liliam.
- Adara Halo (Limpopo)
- Atria Halo (Northern Cape)
- Avior Halo (Western Cape)
- Gacrux Halo (Gauteng)
- Ilyatha Halo (Mpumalanga)
- Mintaka Halo (Eastern Cape)
- Naos Halo (Northwest)
- Turais Halo (Kwa Zulu Natal)
- Zaurak Halo (Free State)
For more information about Vampyres and Vampyre culture in South Africa, consult the SA Vampyre Culture Center website.
For inquiries or to contact the SAVA, please email email@example.com