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Title:Traditional healers' conceptions of the roles and functions of selected internal body organs: indigenous African healing practices
Author:Imenda, Sidwala
Periodical:Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (ISSN 1683-0296)
Geographic term:South Africa
indigenous knowledge
Abstract:This article investigates the conceptions of traditional healers regarding the roles and functions of selected internal body organs, i.e. the brain, heart, spleen, kidneys, liver and lungs. Fieldwork involved one-on-one interviews with three traditional healers from the New Castle area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The findings show that some of the respondents' conceptions of the roles and functions of these selected body parts are in concord with Western science. Overall, however, the sociocultural orientations of the participants have a telling influence on how they conceptualize the roles and functions of these internal organs. In particular, the findings indicate that the interplay between the physical and spiritual realms of human existence is a major platform from which the participants understand these roles and functions. These findings are discussed in the contexts of both possible future actions and further research. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]