Original Articles

Traditional Healing as Indigenous Knowledge: Its Relevance to HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa and the Implications for Counselors


This article integrates the results of several culture-based studies conducted over the past decade. Specifically, links are made between the continued relevance of the African traditional healer's corpus of knowledge, the efficacy of the healer's cultural authority, and the need for HIV/AIDS-related strategies and interventions that are culturally sensitive, especially counseling. Results of an initial investigation of traditional healing in Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe are integrated with more recent research in Botswana and Namibia. Findings from these studies are meshed with preliminary results of an ongoing investigation of the contextual influences and cultural factors associated with the spread of HIV/AIDS in the southern African region. Outcomes of the combined investigations have supported further examination of traditional healing as an indigenous knowledge system, of its relevance to HIV/AIDS, and of its significance to professional counselors in Africa. Related recommendations are offered for consideration by those working within HIV/AIDS systems of intervention.

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