Healers graduate

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

Negative perceptions about the practices of traditional healing were put under the spotlight at a workshop held in Durban.

Last Friday 40 sangomas - 30 of them women - were awarded certificates after completing their training.

The five-day workshop also focused on primary healthcare and the handling of the ancestral initiation process.

The workshop was held at Adams Mission, south of Durban.

Gogo Ayanda of the Traditional Healers Organisation, a nongovernment organisation that looks after the rights of sangomas, said the purpose of the workshop was to teach the new breed of sangomas how they might link traditional healing with the Western healing systems.

The Traditional Healers Organisation was established in 1970 and has more than 20000 members in South Africa. The organisation conducts workshops across the country.

"Nowadays we are faced with serious diseases such as TB and HIV-Aids," Ayanda said. "Sangomas need to be educated on these issues so that they know when to refer patients to clinics.

"We also teach sangomas to do away with dangerous practices such as razor sharing to prevent the spread of these deadly diseases.

"We believe that traditional healers can use their influence to fight the spread of TB and HIV by encouraging patients to go for tests and by promoting the use of condoms."