Human Rights Month Dialogue on African Traditional Medicine
Director of the Department of Science and Innovation-National Research Foundation Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS) at UKZN, Professor Hassan Kaya participated in a panel discussion hosted by SA FM and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in the run-up to Human Rights Day.
The dialogue centred on the nexus between African Traditional Medicine and Human Rights and celebrated the legacy of Mama Charlotte Maxeke, an activist in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid, known as the “Mother of Black Freedom in South Africa”.
Issues raised included the interaction of traditional and Western medicine, the decolonisation of religion, and racism related to “natural medicine”.
Kaya emphasised that traditional medicines need to contribute to global knowledge, and said sangomas and inyangas do not need validation from Western medicine as they have ‘been practicing for centuries.’
He said that colonialism and cultural marginalisation have ‘reduced our indigenous languages to just a means of communication – not knowing that they are repositories of a rich diversity of knowledge systems.’
Other panellists included the President of Icamagu Spirituality Dr Nokuzola Mndende; expert on Xhosa culture Mr Mlawu Tyatyeka; and Senior Lecturer: Department of Pharmacy Practice at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Dr Nontobeko Mncwangi.
SA FM presenter Ms Phemelo Motene facilitated the discussions broadcast from the Steve Biko Centre in Qonce (formerly King William’s Town) in the Eastern Cape.
Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer