n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Traditional healers' conceptions of the roles and functions of selected internal body organs : indigenous African healing practices

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



The article is based on the study that investigated the conceptions of traditional healers regarding the roles and functions of selected internal body organs, i.e. the brain, heart, spleen, kidneys, liver and lungs. It was a case study involving one-on-one interviews with the three traditional healers from the New Castle area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The findings showed that some of the respondents' conceptions of the roles and functions of these selected body parts were in concord with Western science. Overall, however, the socio-cultural orientations of the participants had a telling influence on how they conceptualised the roles and functions of these internal organs. In particular, the findings indicated that the interplay between the physical and spiritual realms of human existence was a major platform from which the participants understood these roles and functions. These findings are discussed in the contexts of both possible future actions and further research.

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