Traditional healing has been performed for generations in many countries, and many people believe in it, with some dedicating their entire lives to it.
Traditional healers treat sick people with indigenous plants, herbs, and plant roots.
This age-old technique, however, is frequently misconstrued as witchcraft.
Sangomas have long been revered as stewards of their communities, and residents consulted them to heal the sick, converse with the gods on their behalf, and safeguard villages from harm.
They are essentially diviners, serving as a link between the physical and spiritual realms.
They think that through engaging in a unique "calling," known in Zulu as ubizo, they can have access to advice and instruction from ancestors, toss bones, or interpret dreams.
Sangomas are typically stereotyped as naive, illiterate, and retrograde in today's South Africa.
Traditional healers claim that they are frequently mistaken for witch doctors.
Originally, witch doctors were visited to drive away bad spirits believed to have been cast over someone by witches, but the term has taken on a negative connotation since colonial times, and it is now used to refer to those who cast evil spells and concoct lethal poisons.
"The issue is a misunderstanding of what a sangoma is. A sangoma is not a witch; she is pure and works for the greater good. People mistakenly believe that witch doctors, witches, and sangomas are all the same thing due to a lack of understanding."
Another distinction is that traditional healers utilize herbs, plants, and some animal skin in their muthi (medicines), whereas witch doctors are alleged to employ human body parts in their muthi (medicines), making them suspects in murders.
Sangomas believe that a prolonged physical ailment is frequently the result of a spiritual disturbance, which they must first address, after which they are instructed by the ancestors as to what the physical illness is and how best to treat it using traditional medicine.
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