Exploring and identifying the indigenous healers of madwaleni and their relationship with ethnobotany and healthcare

May, Thandokazi (2019-04)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

Rationale: The use of indigenous medicine is widely known in South Africa. In fact, it is estimated that 80-85% of black South Africans consult with indigenous healers in both rural and urban communities (Moshabela, et al., 2016). Despite increased academic interest in indigenous health knowledge (IHK) in the country, there is still interest in studies that are aimed at documenting the indigenous practitioners as well as their herbs and plants. Suggestions have been made to fill this knowledge gap by conducting ethnobotanical surveys of the plants used by indigenous healers as well as to identify who are these healers that use these plants. Aim and Objectives: The main aim and objective of this study was to explore and identify the indigenous healers of the Madwaleni, including the illnesses these healers manage, and which herbs are used to treat each illness. Other objectives were to: catalogue the ethnobotanical diversity used by these healers, and to identify the precise botanical environment that these herbs grow as well as the relationship these healers have with these environments. Lastly, the study explores the relationship between indigenous healers and the biomedical health care system in the area. Method: This is a descriptive, ethnographic study that used qualitative methods of data collection. The data was collected through participant observation, where participants took part in interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). There were 37 participants and key stakeholders, 30 being practitioners of indigenous medicine, 5 being biomedical health professionals, and 2 being traditional leaders. Both in-depth interviews and FGDs were used to collect data, totalling up to 6 interviews and 15 FGDs. Life stories were documented as part of exploring methods that could be used in the reconciliation process. The plants used by the indigenous healers of the area were documented transcriptionally and photographically. Findings: • The indigenous healers of Madwaleni can be categorized in five categories: (1) amaGqirha (indigenous doctors) and (2) amaXhwele (herbalists), (3) elite older Xhosa women and (4) amaTola (older elite men), and (5) abaThandazeli (faith healers). Intersectionality and partnerships between these groups of healers was welcomed and encouraged, although some unresolved tensions exist between the healers due differences in philosophy and practice. • The relationships between the individual, the community, the natural environment and the ancestral spirits all play a pivotal role in maintaining health in Madwaleni. Therefore, health is attained when the complete balance between mind, body and soul is achieved through the maintenance of solid relationships between all members of society, including the ancestors and the natural environment. When sickness results because of rifts in these relationships, indigenous medicinal plants must be administered to treat the illness and to regain the normal state of health. These plants are believed to be imbued with the spiritually healing powers of the natural environments in which they grow. Consequently, indigenous amaBomvana medicines have not only a healing function, but also have an apotropaic spiritually protective function. • Tensions continue to dominate the landscape between indigenous health knowledge and Western knowledge in Madwaleni. Biomedical professionals in the area cite the lack of empirical evidence for the pharmacological functions of indigenous medicines as the reason behind their refusal to accept IHK as a valid health system. Conclusion: Considering the cultural understanding of well-being and the determinants of health, the amaBomvana prefer to utilize diverse health management strategies when it comes to managing and treating illness. The health strategies of the amaBomvana people are exceptional and have the potential to help unlock some of the medical challenges of the modern world. The existence and endurance of various indigenous healers and their IHK strategies in the face of the threat of biomedicine is attestation to this. There exists a lot of unresolved tension between the various groups of healers in the area, due to differences in ethnomedical practice and philosophy. Before a partnership can be formed with the biomedical field, the indigenous healers themselves would need to share and acknowledge each other without taking any position of superiority over each other. The unresolved relationship between biomedicine and the indigenous health system creates spaces of confusion for the patients of Madwaleni, often resulting in bad health decision making and mismanagement of disease. A reconciliation process model is recommended by the study in order to repair this.

Rationale: Die gebruik van inheemse medikasie is alombekend in Suid Afrika. Feitlik, daar word voorspel dat 80-85% swart Suid Afrikaners graag inheemse geneers in beide stedelike en landelike gemeenskappe (Moshabela, et al., 2016). Ten spite van die akadiemiese belangstelling in inheeinse gesondheidskennis in die land, is daar ‘n belangstelling in terme van studies wat bedoel is om inheemse geneersers to document sowel as hul plante en kruie. Voorstelle was gemaak om die kennis gaaping hoe om etnobotaniese opnames van die plante wat gebruik deur inheemse genesers so wel as om te identifiseer wie hierdie genesers is wat hierdie plante gebruik. Doelwette en Objektiewe: Die hoof-en objektiewe doel van hierdie studiewas om te verken en te identifiseer wie die inheemse genesers van die Madwaleni, insluitend die siektes wat hierdie genesers behartig, e nook watter kruie gebruik word om hierde siektes te behandel. Ander objektiewe was om etnobotanise diversiteit wat deur hierdie genesers gebruik word, te identifiseer en die presiese botaniese omgewing waar hierdie plante groei, die verhouding of verwantskap wat hierdie genesers het met die omgewings. Laastens die studie ontblood die verewantskap tussen inheemse genesers en die biomediese gesondheids sisteem in die area. Metodie: Hierdie is ‘n beskrywende, etnographiese studie wat kwalitatiewe metodes van data wetenskap versameling. Hierdie data was versamel deur deelnemende observasie, waar deelnemers deelgeneem het in onderhoude en Fokus Groep Besprekinge (FGB). Daar was 37 deelnemers en sleutel aandeelhouers waarvan 30 praktisyne van inheemse medisyne was, en 5 biomediese gesondheids praktisyne en waarvan 2 tradisionale leirs was. Beide in-diepte onderhouse en FGB’s was gebruik om data te versamel, wat in total tot 6 onderhoude en 15 FGB’s was. Lewens verhale was gedokumenteer as deel van die bloodstelling-metodes wat kon genruik word in versoeningsprosesse. Die plante wat deur inheemse genesers gebruik was van daardie area was transkripsioneel en fotografies. Bevindige: • Die inheemse genesers van Madwaleni kan in 5 katagorie gedeel word: (1) amaGqirha (inheemse geneerhere) en (2) amaXhwele (kruie doktor), (3) elite ouer Xhosa vrouens en (4) amaTola (ouer elite mans) en (5) abaThandazeli (geloof geneeshere). Interdepartementele en venootskappe tussen hierdie groepe van geneerhere was verwelkom en gemotiveer, alhoewel sommige onopgeloste spanninge tussen hierdie genesers bestaan het as gevolg van die verkille in filosofie en praktyk. • Die verhoudings tussen die individue, die gemeenskap, die natuurlike omgewing en die voorouerlike geeste het alles ‘n draaidende rol in die instadhoudings gesondheid in Madwaleni gespeel. Darrvoor, gesondheid was bereik wanneer die volle balans tussen die brein, liggaam ensiel bereik was deur die instandhouding van soliede verwantskap tussen alle lede van die gemeenskap, insluitend die voorvardelike en die natuurlike omgewing. • Waneer siektes verorsak word gevolg van die valley in hierdie verhoudings, inheemse mediese plante moet geadministreer word vir die behandeling van hierdie siekte en om ‘n normale gesondheidstoestand te herwin. Daar word geglo dat hierdie plante gevul word met geestelike genesings krag van die natuur omgewing van waarin hulle groei. Gevolglik, inheemse amaBomvana medikasie het nie net ‘n genesings funksie nie, maar het ook ‘n opotropiese geestelike beskermings funksie. • Spanning het voordurend die landskap tussen inheemse gesondheids kennis en westelike kennis in Madwaleni gedomineeer. Biomediese professionele in die omgewing noem die gebrek van emporiese bewyse vir die farmakologiese funksies van inheemse medisyne as die rede agter hulle weieringnom Inheemse Gesondheids Kennis (IGK) as ‘n gedeldige gesondheid sisteem te aanvaan. Gevolgtrekking: Oorwegend die kulturele verstaanbaarheid van gesondheid en die bepalings van gesondheid, die amaBomvana verkies om diversiele gesondheids bestuur te uteliseer wanneer dit kom by die bestuur en behandeling van gesondheid. Die gesondheid strategie van die amaBomvana gemeenskaap is uitsonderend en het die potensiaal om sommige van die medikasie uitgapings te ontdood van die mediese uitdagings van die modern wereld. Die bestaan en uithouvermoe van verskillende inheemse genesers en hulle Inheemse Gesondheids Kennis (IGK) strategie in die oe vir die behandeling van biomedikasie is ‘n verklaring van hierdie. Daar bestaan ‘n klamp onopgeloste spanning tussen verskullende groepe van genesers in die omgewing, as gevolg van verskille in etnomediese praktisyne en filosofie. Voordat ‘n verwantskap gevorm kan word met die biomediese veld, die inheemse genesers hulself benodig om mekaar te aanvaar en erken sonder om ‘n posisie van gesag oor mekaar te bewys. Die onopgeloste verhoudinge tussen biomedisyne en die inheemse gesondheids stelsel skep ‘n gaping van verwaring vir die pasiente van Madwaleni, lei tot swak gesondheids besluite en wanbestuur van siektes. ‘n Rehabiliterings proses modul, gesentreerde mediese pluralisme, is aangewys deur die studie om alles hierdie te herstel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105739
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