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Traditional medicine 'not just scientific-based, but also spiritually informed'

20 September 2020 10:43 AM
Tags:
WHO
Sangoma
African traditional medicine

Sangoma Gogo Khanyakude talks to Sara-Jayne about how traditional medicine is making an impact globally.

Did you know that the traditional medicine industry in South Africa is worth an estimated 3 billion rand a year, moreover up to 80% of the population uses traditional medicine for primary health care, asks Weekend Breakfast presenter Sara-Jayne King?

Earlier this year the World Health Organisation said it welcomed the role of traditional medicine in the search for potential treatments for Covid-19, adding that it has a long history working with African countries to ensure safe and effective traditional medicine development on the continent.

In July, the WHO joined forces with the African Centre for Disease Control to enhance research and development of traditional medicines for Covid-19 with the launch an expert advisory committee to provide independent scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine.

Sangoma Gogo Khanyakude chats to Sara-Jayne about how traditional medicine is gaining global recognition.

He explains that the WHO definition is scientifically based, but the practice goes beyond that and he adds his own indigenous understanding.

As a sangoma or as traditional health practitioners, we understand that healing is not just something that is scientifically based but is also something that is spiritually informed.

Gogo Khanyakude, Sangoma and CEO - Ukudloza: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and African Healing Modalities

He says this may be difficult to reconcile between the WHO and the scientific world and indigenous peoples.

I am a sangoma, so I have received a calling from my ancestors which is a spiritual calling.

Gogo Khanyakude, Sangoma and CEO - Ukudloza: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and African Healing Modalities

He says this teaches initiatives healing from a spiritual perspective but also adds ethnomedicine approaches that have a scientific basis to it. It is intermarriage of the two he adds.

He explains that there are different categories of healers.

He acknowledges that the WHO has always recognised the use of traditional medicine across the globe.

But I have always felt there has been an undervaluing of the importance of traditional medicine because it has been placed in a traditional or cultural context.

Gogo Khanyakude, Sangoma and CEO - Ukudloza: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and African Healing Modalities

The WHO's shift in relation to Covid-19, he says now challenges this.

Now in light of Covid, it has challenged this superior attitude of Western allopathic medicine and forced world leaders to seek solutions outside of circlularism.

Gogo Khanyakude, Sangoma and CEO - Ukudloza: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and African Healing Modalities

He sees the move as a positive step but questions whether a scientific system will not attempt to force traditional medicine to conform to the rules of science.

When we look at indigenous knowledge is qualitative, and not just a quantitative approach.

Gogo Khanyakude, Sangoma and CEO - Ukudloza: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and African Healing Modalities

South African law does include the South African Health Practitioners Act of 2007, he notes.

It enshrines the rights of traditional health practitioners.

Gogo Khanyakude, Sangoma and CEO - Ukudloza: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and African Healing Modalities

Listen to the interview with Gogo Khanyakude below:


20 September 2020 10:43 AM
Tags:
WHO
Sangoma
African traditional medicine

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