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African Traditional Healing in Today’s World

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Laura C.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Western medicine and traditional healing
  3. Traditional healing
  4. Traditional healing and globalization
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

With the advent of postmodern theory in the mid-to-late twentieth century, Western thought has come to realize the need for a more complete view of human knowledge and being, one that does not fall prey to the modernist Enlightenment fascination with ?rationality' and ?objectivity' which claims to have a monopoly on truth. In the realm of healing, this has led to the development of a fuller conception of human subjectivity, the so-called ?biopsychosocial' model, which acknowledges that biomedical treatment is alone not adequate for the health of an individual (Fox 5). Instead, a more holistic approach is required, in fact, the kind of approach used in traditional healing. Despite the seeming compatibility of these two views, integrating traditional healing practices into the ?modern' world has turned out to be quite problematic due to the prestige enjoyed by Western scientific medicine, the religious nature and context of traditional medicine, and the dangers of exploitation of indigenous knowledge in the modern, globalized capitalist system.

[...] This reading of the illness at two different levels can be seen in the Zulu division of the traditional healers?a division also found in other Southern African groups such as the Xhosa, Northern and Southern Sotho, Venda, and Tsonga?into either inyanga or isangoma. The inyanga is an herbalist who is usually male and normally not mystically called. Instead, he either learns the trade from a family member or decides to apprentice himself to some other established herbalist (Thorpe 104; Hammond-Tooke 104). [...]


[...] ?Relationship Between the Sources of Traditional and Western Medicine.? Indigenous Knowledge and Its Uses in South Africa. Ed. Hans Norman, Ina Snyman and Morris Cohen. HSRC Co-operative Programme: Affordable Social Provision and The Institute for Indigenous Theory and Practice. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council Mazur, Robert E. Indigenous Knowledge Movement: Global Support for Local Resource and Decision-Making Control.? Indigenous Knowledge and Its Uses in South Africa. Ed. Hans Norman, Ina Snyman and Morris Cohen. HSRC Co-perative Programme: Affordable Social Provision and The Institute for Indigenous Theory and Practice. [...]


[...] ?Introduction.? The Social Basis of Health and Healing in Africa. Ed. Steven Feierman and John M. Janzen. Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press Ferreira, Monica, Karen Charlton and Lauren Impey. ?Traditional Medicinal Use of Indigenous Plants by Older Coloureds in the Western Cape.? Indigenous Knowledge and Its Uses in South Africa. Ed. Hans Norman, Ina Snyman and Morris Cohen. HSRC Co-operative Programme: Affordable Social Provision and The Institute for Indigenous Theory and Practice. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council Fox, Nicholas J. [...]

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