Indigenous methods used to prevent teenage pregnancy : perspectives of traditional healers and traditional leaders.
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The study aimed to explore indigenous methods used to prevent teenage pregnancy from the perspective of traditional healers and traditional leaders. Furthermore, it aimed to explore with traditional healers and traditional leaders whether these methods have relevance today as form part of teenage pregnancy intervention. The data were collected through conducting semistructured interviews with ten traditional healers and five traditional leaders from the rural area of Umhlathuzane, Eshowe. The interviews were guided by an interview schedule which allowed the researcher to keep in touch with the purpose of the study while having face to face conversation with participants. All interviews were tape recorded and transcribed. The findings of the study revealed that traditional healers and traditional leaders are concerned by high rate of teenage pregnancy within the community. They felt strongly that ignoring indigenous cultural practices due to modernity has led to major non-resolvable social issues such as teenage pregnancy, spread of HIV/AIDS related diseases, poverty, drugs and alcohol misuse. The study findings also revealed that there is a high demand for re-instituting elders' and family roles in addressing the erosion of cultural practices and traditional methods. Traditional practices such as virginity testing, ukusoma (non-penetrative thigh sex), ukushikila (physical maturity examination) as well as traditional ceremonies were identified as indigenous methods previously used to groom girls and to prevent teenage pregnancy. Furthermore, traditional healers and traditional leader were totally against contemporary teenage pregnancy interventions and policies around this issue, and have mixed views towards the idea of combining modern and traditional methods for teenage pregnancy prevention. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations were made regard to collaboration between South African government and indigenous experts so that to deal effectively with teenage pregnancy. Recommendations for further research were also made.