Original Articles

The Meanings of an Animal Wristband (isiphandla) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 21, issue 3, 2011 , pages: 371–373
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2011.10820470
Author(s): Nomahlubi MakungaUniversity of Zululand,, Jabulani ThwalaUniversity of Zululand,, Steve EdwardsUniversity of Zululand,


This study investigated indigenous meanings attributed to the use of an animal skin wristband (isiphandla) in persons in KwaZulu-Natal. The study was motivated by the need for indigenous psychological knowledge in the South African context where western-based treatment approaches, ideologies and attitudes have tended to dominate formal health services. Participants were a convenience sample of 50 persons (male= 25; female = 25; mean age of 45 years; age range of 11 to 91). Main findings revealed that participants experienced the wristband as connecting them with ancestors, their family and custom. In addition the wristband was experienced as a source of hope, security, respect and pride.

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