Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

The story of the traditional healers from Oaxaca (mhh… I wonder how this word is pronounced) immediately caught my attention. These healers have struggle for recognition by official associations and the benefits that have accrued to indigenous women are now quantifiable. I found additional information on these awesome healers at http://oaxacatramed.blogspot.com/2010/02/cemito.html.

Reading about these women, I marvel how different yet the same we human beings are and I would like to share a story about encounters of a similar kind in South Africa. In South Africa Sangomas (traditional healers - sometimes called witchdoctors) are revered and trusted in rural communities and play multiple roles as spiritual guide, healer and counselor. Inside a dumba in village in KwaZulu Natal, Miriam Tembe sits on a mat on the floor, staring intently at a small pile of bones on the ground. Strings of beads run around her neck and across her chest, and on her head sits a cap made of leopard skin. The dumba is "where the ancestors live," and it is Miriam’s consulting room. The walls are hung with a traditional healer’s paraphernalia – gourds, animal skins, and a string of teeth. A wooden cupboard with a glass door is packed to capacity with an assortment of tins, bottles and jars full of powders and liquids – Miriam’s pharmacy.

A few feet away, 30-year-old Alfred Nyawo sits quietly on the ground, eyes downcast, waiting for the verdict. After reading the bones, Miriam announces that Nyawo is well. Nevertheless, she pulls on a pair of latex gloves and examines him. True to Miriam’s pronouncement, Nyawo is not unwell; in fact, he is feeling much better today than he was a month ago, when he first come to see her complaining of persistent muscle pains in his shoulders and legs, and frequent headaches. Today he has come back to pay her, and to thank her because he is no longer in pain.

Sangomas are a revered and feared group, and 60% of South Africans consult them nevertheless. Nyawo clearly holds Miriam in high esteem. When he arrived, he first stood quietly at the entrance of her dumba, waiting respectfully for permission to go in. When he was allowed, he entered on his knees, clapped his hands in greeting (a sangoma’s hand is never shaken) and went to sit quietly opposite her. But he does not seem uncomfortable in her presence, and responds easily when she speaks to him. (go here to see a picture of a sangoma at work)

Miriam is one of 80 sangomas in Umkhanyakude District, KwaZulu Natal, taking part in an AMREF programme to enhance management of HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections by developing the knowledge and skills of traditional healers. AMREF wants sangomas to keep providing spiritual succor and basic healthcare, and also to use their influence and authority to promote HIV-testing and modern medicine in areas where many people are distrustful of hospitals, clinics and ARV drugs.

Mexico’s case study looks at how conventional medicine can learn from traditional healers. South Africa’s case study looks at how traditional healers can learn from orthodox healthcare. There are clear synergies between social development and indigenous knowledge.

Views: 51

Comment by Paul Holze on April 28, 2010 at 4:22am
Enjoyed the connection you relayed between not just the two groups but between social development and indigenous knowledge.
Comment by NANGAR SOOMRO on April 28, 2010 at 8:04am
Awesome !


You need to be a member of Urgent Evoke to add comments!

Join Urgent Evoke

Latest Activity

Meghan Mulvey posted a blog post

Fourth of July on the Lake

This past weekend was the annual celebration at the lake house in Connecticut. It is amazing that the lake is still so clear and beautiful after all these years. The watershed association has done a wonderful job protecting these waters from the damaging effects of development.The wood grill was finally ready to cook on, so we didn't miss the propane tank fueled grill anymore. The food actually tasted fresher than in the past and was easy to keep fueled.Dad was very proud of the solar hybrid…See More
Jul 6
Asger Jon Vistisen posted a blog post

Stinging Nettle

In this blog post I will focus on a plant that is abundant in our nature, and which is immensely nutritious. It's of course the Stinging Nettle. Let's start with the chemical constituents of this plant:37 % Non-Nitrogen-Extracts19 - 29 % Ash9 - 21 % Fiber4 % Fat22 % ProteinOnce the leaves are drid, their protein content can reach an astounding 40 %, which is much higher than beef, which even under the best of circ***tances can never exceed 31 % protein. In addition the Stinging Nettle consists…See More
Apr 13
Jonathon McCallum posted a blog post

The meal

It is 7'oclock, I was late home from work due to an assignment that i wanted to get ahead on. By the time I get home I am feeling extremley tired and I cannot be bothered to make a proper meal. I walk to the fridge and open it to see what there is for me to eat. All of the out of date foodstuffs have been automaticaly thrown away by the fridge, they will be recycled tomorrow as animal feed or something. I see i have organic local eggs and some local cheese. Foods are vacc** sealded for easy…See More
Mar 10
Jean Paul Galea shared a profile on Facebook
Mar 1
Kevin posted a blog post


FutureToday is 2020/1/1. It is just like yesterday. The war is still continuing. It has started since 2010. In 2010, that year was a horrible year. Almost every energy ran out. Every country’s governments were crushed down at the same time. There were riots everywhere. All of the big company’s bosses were killed xdeadx in the riots. Troops fought each other everywhere. Food was bought up xawayx at once. There were no more food supplies in any shops. The economy was all crushed down. All the…See More
Jan 1
Namwaka Mooto posted blog posts
Jan 13, 2016
T D updated their profile
Sep 3, 2015
Brook Warner posted blog posts
Aug 25, 2015
Santiago Vega posted blog posts
May 5, 2015
Santiago Vega commented on Santiago Vega's blog post Act 8
May 5, 2015
Santiago Vega posted photos
May 5, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted blog posts
May 2, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted a photo

public servants

The exchange works directly for state and public workers and servants. It gives them credit in exchange for the amount of public work they contribute to the community. The more constructive they are based off a base rate the more credit they recieve.
May 2, 2015
Brian Hurley posted blog posts
May 2, 2015
Brian Hurley commented on Brian Hurley's blog post ACT: Future of Currency
May 2, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted a blog post

Where I will be in ten years.

Ten years from now I will be in a political job assisting with people in the midlands of South Carolina particularly the rural working class and farmers. As the class of people that feed the nation I find that it is imperative that we assist with making sure they produce as much food as possible. I would like to support local scientists as well that are leading in research on how to produce food more efficiently. I will also be participating in missions to foreign countries to help people with…See More
May 1, 2015

Follow EVOKE on Twitter

Official EVOKE Facebook Page

EVOKE RSS Activity Feed

© 2020   Created by Alchemy.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service