Health and traditional African belief systems

Last week The Star newspaper in its front page ran an article that a 15 year old Grade 10 pupil from Sunward Park High School in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni experienced victimisation and discrimination at school as a result of her wearing traditional African beads at school after she had undergone training in 2018 as a traditional healer.

On her return this year, she was then allegedly called names (Demon) by a few teachers and the principal, and ordered to wear Jersey to cover the beads from being exposed, even on very hot summer days.

We have a concept called cultural syndromes, which are illnesses to a large extent are influenced by culture and belief systems. Not much has been written about these especially in our literature, but there is a lot of work that is being done especially in our Universities. People need to read more about cultural syndromes and professionals in the health space need to do more research and publish more articles about it.

— Dr Fundile Nyathi – CEO of Proactive Health Solutions

Most practices that traditional black Africans had before, most people do not really feel like they could openly embrace them because of the association. Some people think its evil, however, the literature around African traditional belief system is that, at least 60% of black Africans in South Africa believe in the African worldview that is the presence of the ancestors and practice rituals associated with that.

— Dr Fundile Nyathi – CEO of Proactive Health Solutions

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural and Linguistic Communities Chairperson, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva has urged the pupil’s parents to lodge a complaint with CRL as she says the school is violating her Cultural Rights as enshrined in our Constitution.


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