Traditional African healing is perhaps the oldest and most distinctive therapeutic system in the world. Primarily, this holistic health care system involves a plethora of aspects which include spiritualism, divination and herbalism.
Interestingly enough, Ancient African healing methods started to blossom even before the Western civilization managed to record their own histories. As a culture, the African civilization antecedes all known written records which make it relatively challenging to ensure actual dates or knowledge during particular periods.
Medical practices and knowledge through ages were passed down through oral traditions from within one tribe, clan or family to the next generation. As a matter of fact, it is believed that every region in Africa at one time in its history had a form of traditional medicine that is deeply connected to their specific cultural context.
Ancient Africans believed that humans are comprised of many degrees of being which work conjointly to keep everyone at full health and if any of these components are imbalanced, the person will suffer physical and spiritual diseases. In other words, Old Africans characterized diseases to be social or spiritual disorder of someone’s internal or external being.
Historically speaking, Ancient Africans classify their traditional healers into two specific categories particularly the Sangomas and Iyangas.
The Iyangas are known to be herbalists that are well-adept in the medicinal combinations of regional plants whereas Sangomas are thought to be spiritual healers which connect with ancestral spirits to heal their patients.
At present, the term Sangoma is used popularly for both titles of iyanga and sangoma and more often than not, a sangoma executes both duties as a healing practitioner.
In most cases, traditional African healers used a variety of diagnosis that include questioning, touching, dream interpretation, divination and observation to determine the disease and the healing process which needs to be employed.
The victims of the Muti killings often consist of young or elderly male and female. They are primarily killed by removing their labia, eyelids, lips and scrota.
Mutis is responsible for preparing and sourcing spiritually curative medicines that will be utilized by either the sangoma or iyanga on the healing procedure.
While traditional African healing is still practiced by some tribes, most regions in Africa have banned the act due to its association with witchcraft.