Health And Wellness
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SOUTH AFRICA: SOWETO HEALER/FORTUNE TELLERS


English/Nat

There is little doubt that the African National Congress will win South Africa’s second democratic elections on Wednesday.

But there are some people living in Soweto who know for certain that the Mbeki ticket will hold sway.

Two Soweto fortune tellers threw ‘the bones’ on Saturday and found all the answers.

In consulting her ancestors to find the answers, Nomadlozi Khumalo and her trainees went through ancient traditions to reach the answer.

She was informed by her ancestors that the African National Congress would win the elections and that the vote would be peaceful.

SOUNDBITE: (Zulu)
“My ancestors, we are asking you, since we’re gonna have these big elections, who’s gonna win? You my ancestors you know because you are spirits. We do not know.”
SUPERCAPTION: Nomadlozi Khumalo, traditional healer

And with a clap of her hands predicted no violence

SOUNDBITE: (Zulu)
“The elections will be peaceful.”
SUPERCAPTION: Nomadlozi Khumalo, traditional healer

SOUNDBITE: (Zulu)
“The ANC will win.”
SUPERCAPTION: Nomadlozi Khumalo, traditional healer

The other Sangoma, Vika Nduku, who has been a professional healer since 1994, threw the bones and clearly saw a large victory for Mbeki’s A-N-C, but his bones also revealed that trouble was expected in some areas.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“As you can see in my bones here, there will be some problems on election day. You can see it here.”
SUPERCAPTION: Vika Nduku, traditional healer

And as the herbs burned he added some more insights.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“ANC will win in a large way. In the end everything’s gonna be OK.”
SUPERCAPTION: Vika Nduku, traditional healer

Many Westerners view traditional healers as voodoo practitioners or charlatans preying on the ignorant and superstitious.

But more and more of the medical community now acknowledge that African healers, particularly herbalists familiar with local diseases and conditions, provide a significant service.

The World Health Organization (W-H-O) estimates up to 80 percent of Africans — or more than a half (b) billion people — visit traditional healers for some or all of their medical care.

Governments seek to register them and regulate their medicines, and some health insurance plans in South Africa and other countries reimburse the costs of traditional treatments.

At the same time, healers have been forced to accept changes.

Dwindling sources of medicinal plants and animals makes healers worry about preserving and replenishing them.

While some healers stubbornly hold to superstition-rooted practices of old, others like Tokamalirawo have started adopting modern teaching and methods to deal with maladies like AIDS.

There are an estimated 250-thousand traditional healers in South Africa whose herbal remedies practises the government is studying in order to incorporate their work into officially sanctioned medical standards.

Using knowledge passed down for generations, they diagnose common ailments — from malarial fevers and skin rashes to depression and hypertension — and treat them with natural remedies often mixed with superstition.

Methods range from herbal teas, enemas, poultices rubbed in cuts in the skin and inhaling fumes to bizarre rituals and potions made from animals and even human body parts intended to rid patients of evil or unhappy ancestral spirits.

Chameleons are prized for potions that bring change – such as winning back a wayward lover – because the reptiles can change color.

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