Original Research - Special Collection: Social Memory Studies

The status of traditional healing in the Limpopo province of South Africa

Resenga J. Maluleka
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 4 | a6103 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.6103 | © 2020 Resenga J. Maluleka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 May 2020 | Published: 30 October 2020

About the author(s)

Resenga J. Maluleka, Department of Information Science, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Traditional healing and the use of traditional medicines were historically banned by the South African apartheid government. The dawn of democracy saw a change in the laws, which gave freedom to the traditional African practices. Nevertheless, many South Africans are still divided between Western- and traditional African philosophies. This qualitative study, therefore, employed the hermeneutic phenomenological method to investigate the status of traditional healing in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Data collection was done through interviews, and data were analysed thematically. The results suggest that the work done by traditional healers remains marginalised and undermined despite them contributing to the country’s healthcare system. Traditional healers remain unregulated and often left to work on their own under difficult conditions. It is recommended that government play an active role in ensuring that healers are formally incorporated into the country’s healthcare system, which will benefit both the healers and the communities they serve.

Contribution: The study investigates the current status of traditional healing in South Africa and highlights that despite having laws that support traditional healing in the country, the practice remains marginalised and healers are working on their own and not within the country’s healthcare system as it is supposed to be. The study is linked to the scope of the journal because it investigates a topic that borders on oral history and indigenous religious practices of South Africans.


traditional healing; traditional healers; healthcare system; indigenous knowledge; Traditional Health Council; traditional healers associations; Limpopo province; South Africa


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Crossref Citations

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