n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Indigenous healers' diagnostic and treatment methods for some illnesses and social dysfunctions : indigenous African healing practices

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



Calls for the recognition of indigenous healers have been made nationally and internationally in view of the positive role that these providers of alternative health care can play in the treatment of various forms of illness. In South Africa, the Draft Policy on African Traditional Medicine for South Africa lays the foundation on how collaboration between indigenous healers and modern health care providers could be realized. This article focuses on the healing methods that are used by indigenous healers in South Africa. An overview of the diagnostic methods and the therapeutic procedures used in the treatment of some illnesses and social dysfunctions is presented. Case studies are presented to illustrate how two indigenous healers interpret and treat "senyama" - a form of psychological dysfunction. Some psychological and public health explanations are advanced to understand this culturally defined health condition can be understood from the Western health perspective.

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