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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Zulu Ritual Immunisation in Perspective
Authors:Jolles, Frank
Jolles, Stephen
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:South Africa
colonial law
folk medicine
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Health and Nutrition
Abstract:This article arose out of an attempt to quantify the risk of transmitting bloodborne diseases, in particular hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS, through the Zulu practice of making incisions ('umgcabo') and punctures ('ukutshobha') in the skin for the purpose of introducing medication ('umuthi') into the human body. The intention was to examine means of containing the risk. It soon became apparent that the practice of these therapies was inextricably bound up with legal and economic issues arising out of the impact of colonialism on Zulu medicine. Any endeavour to contain them would first have to address these fundamental issues. The article takes a step in that direction by 1) examining in detail some of the practices of diviners and herbalists in their historical context, and 2) analysing how colonial and postcolonial legislation has affected traditional healers and their clients in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The article, which is based on interviews conducted with Zulu traditional healers in 1997, shows that legislation initiated with the intention of curbing those aspects of traditional medicine that were most at variance with Western medicine ended up opening the floodgates to many of the practices it was intended to suppress. South African legislators should strive to set economic incentives in such a way as to protect the interests of the historically disadvantaged patients. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.