n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Traditional healers and HIV and AIDS prevention and care in South Africa : the case of Mahlabathini District in KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



The majority of populations in developing countries have access to traditional health care and it is widely accepted that about 80% of people in Africa rely on traditional medicine for many of their health care needs. This article presents the roles of traditional healers in HIV and AIDS prevention in the Mahlabathini District in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Through a survey, due to the diverse of traditional healers in South Africa, the study targeted only traditional healers in the Mahlabathini District. The sample selection was non-random but based on the snowball effect. Fifty-five traditional healers were interviewed and the data was analysed using thematic categorization. The findings suggest that healers continue to play a significant role in health promotion in areas where the population has limited access to modern health care. Traditional healers have a crucial role to play in building the health system in South Africa and strengthening and supporting the national response to HIV and AIDS. However, limited integration is a serious indictment of African governments failure to appreciate the tremendous role of traditional healers as significant manpower resource in the fight against AIDS. There is therefore a need for urgent investment and support of traditional healers and traditional medicine - not only by government, but also by civil society and the private sector.

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