Rights of Traditional Practitioners and patients
07 April 2020
Makhuduthamaga, Sekhukhune
By Mmabore Mogashoa

Medical doctors and nurses are allowed to work while Traditional practitioners had put their work on hold because of COVID-19. Is it because we don’t trust our own people? Or we are ashamed of who we are? Our fore fathers lived using their indigenous knowledge and herbs, they lived longer and healthy. Lot of people do consult traditional practitioners and now for them not to work is just to rub salt on an open wound. This has brought lot of confusion to the people and traditional practitioners. Flue related illnesses were healed using different herbs. There is lot of herbs and most of the people take years using them without even going to clinics or hospital. There are patients who were taking treatments before the lockdown and now they are frustrated. Some were sick or had problems that only traditional practitioners can cure or sort. Traditional practitioners not only heal people but guide people on how to live, sort family problems and to keep ancestors happy. Traditional practitioners are part of our heritage as they still advice and help people to do rituals according to their culture. What will we be without traditional practitioners? Is this a way to force everyone to go to medical doctors? There are problems that western medication cannot solve. Traditional practitioners also have rights to work as this is what put bread on their tables. Some are born to protect our heritage.

Traditional healing is also a way that keeps people together. Most of traditional practitioners are well educated this days but because traditional healing/calling is ‘a precious gift’ that we inherit from our ancestors it continues. Traditional practitioners are being overlooked when coming to serious issues of the country.

They use different methods to check the source of a problem and how it can be solved, then why can’t the government ask them for help? Some of them know in time before things happen. Are we ashamed of our own culture or where we come from? Or we don’t think traditional practitioners have what it takes to cure the Corona Virus? People have a right to choose between medical and traditional treatment.

Traditional practitioners don’t need huge machines, laboratories or huge funds to find a cure. Then why don’t government ask advices from them. As every human being they have a right and equal powers or even more than medical doctors. According to medical reports ‘there is no cure’ for COVID-19 for now. What if the cure is right under our noses? Covid-19 cases are increasing, do we fold hands and let the medical doctors struggle while Traditional practitioners can help? Africa if rich when coming to indigenous knowledge, why can’t we use what we have if we are proud Africans to save the whole world and our heritage? People are scared out there and we are losing many lives.

Some of traditional practitioners know their work 100%, have no degrees or a primary school education. Instead of stopping them to work it is better to collaborate with them or give them training on safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. They are found all over the world and can heal different ailments in villages or urban areas then why do we have to struggle for so long without asking for their help? In olden days rituals where done to prevent diseases from entering certain areas and this was done by traditional practitioners. In Sepedi they say ‘Tau tša hloka seboka di šitwa ke nare e hlotša’ meaning if we are not united we won’t be able to solve a problem no matter how small it is. Traditional practitioners cannot wait for food parcels while they have a gift that can save the world! Let them throw the bones or use whatever they have to save the people. They should be given permits to operate and collect herbs, or is western treatments better from our own? If not why do traditional practitioners have to fight to be recognised? They don’t need to have masters to do their work, it is their gift.