Traditional healers In South Africa

Traditional healers In South Africa
 are practitioners of traditional African medicine in Southern Africa. They fulfill different social and political roles in the community, including divination, healing physical, emotional and spiritual illnesses, directing birth or death rituals, finding lost cattle, protecting warriors, counteracting witchcraft, and narrating the history, cosmology, and myths of their tradition. There are two main types of traditional healers within the Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, and Tsonga societies of Southern Africa: the diviner (sangoma), and the herbalist (inyanga). These healers are effectively South African shamans who are highly revered and respected in a society where illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution (contact with impure objects or occurrences) or through neglect of the ancestors.It is estimated that there are as many as 200,000 indigenous traditional healers in South Africa compared to 25,000 Western-trained doctors.Traditional healers are consulted by approximately 60% of the South African population, usually in conjunction with modern biomedical services.

Traditional healers of South Africa

For harmony between the living and the dead, vital for a trouble-free life, traditional healers believe that the ancestors must be shown respect through ritual and animal sacrifice.They perform summoning rituals by burning plants like imphepho (Helichrysum petiolare), dancing, chanting, channelling or playing drums. Traditional healers will often give their patients muti—medications made from plant, animal and minerals—imbued with spiritual significance. These muti often have powerful symbolism; for example, lion fat might be prepared for children to promote courage. There are medicines for everything from physical and mental illness, social disharmony and spiritual difficulties to potions for protection, love and luck.

Although sangoma is a Zulu term that is colloquially used to commonly describe all types of Southern African traditional healers, there are differences between practices: an inyanga is concerned mainly with medicines made from plants and animals, while a sangoma relies primarily on divination for healing purposes and might also be considered a type of fortune teller.

Each culture has their own terminology for their traditional healers. Xhosa traditional healers are known as amaxwele (herbalists) or amagqirha (diviners).Ngaka and selaoli are the terms in Northern Sotho and Southern Sotho respectively, while among the Venda they are called mungome.The Tsonga refer to their healers as n’anga or mungoma.