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. [...]
[...] “Ideologies and Institutions in Precolonial Western Equatorial African Therapeutics.” The Social Basis of Health and Healing in Africa. Ed. Steven Feierman and John M. Janzen. Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press Laderman, Carol and Marina Roseman. “Introduction.” The Performance of Healing. New York and London: Routledge Magesa, Laurenti. African Religion: The Moral Traditions of Abundant Life. Paulines Publications Africa. Course Reader REL244F, Part 3. Makinde, M. Akin. African Philosophy, Culture, and Traditional Medicine. Ohio University Center for International Studies Monographs, Africa Series (53). [...]
[...] In fact, as previously mentioned, traditional healing addresses the nature of illness in a fuller sense which then provides a more satisfying way of dealing with the problem for the patient: In rigidly confining medical explanation within a scientific paradigm, wider aspects, notable those normally associated with religion, are excluded, and as a result, the really fundamental questions such as the meaning of life and death are simply not addressed. More particularly, the important ‘purpose' questions which inevitably arise in the mind of the patient—why me? [...]
[...] One of the problems with attempting to use traditional healing methods in the modern world is that it they are intimately bound up in religion. Although their efficacy is increasingly being recognized in dominant medical ideologies, they continue to be suppressed in favor of the Western biomedical approach, and even where this approach is challenged, notably in postmodern thinking, the religious context is often denied or simply ignored. In replacement, an economic context is imposed on traditional medicine which is extremely problematic, as placing traditional medicine in the modern capitalist marketplace robs it of its very essence and in so doing reaps great financial reward. [...]
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