Sangoma: Traditional Healers in Modern Society

Zulu traditional healers and their work in plant conservation and primary health care, including AIDS

directed by: Peter Davis
produced by: Peter Davis, Harvey McKinnon
(1997) 54 minutes
30 min

In South Africa, one of the legacies of apartheid is a two-tiered health system that heavily favours the white population.

Inyangas and sangomas – the traditional healers – have always been regarded with suspicion by practitioners of Western medicine. Dubbed “witch-doctors,” their methods have been dismissed as mumbo-jumbo.

New efforts to integrate traditional healers into primary health care, nutritional education, and AIDS work holds some promise for a public health system under siege. Homeopathy and holistic healing are gaining acceptance as therapeutic concepts which make no distinction between mind and body, individual and society. The lessons of South Africa can be universal.