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Understanding Tsonga tradicional [i.e. traditional] medicine in the light of Jesus' healings..

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Religion and culture always go together. From the very first day a new person is brought out into this world, s/he starts learning how to live with her or his people, and starts learning their beliefs and values. The person grows up with this knowledge, and it forms a part of his/her life. These beliefs and values are unquestionable from the perspective of that person. They are accepted as natural and normative. If s/he, for example, is brought up in a culture in which kneeling is a form of showing respect, s/he will internalise this, and will always kneel when the act of showing respect is required. For another person who is brought lip in a different culture where standing lip, for example, is regarded as the way of showing respect, kneeling or sitting before a respected individual or occasion can be regarded by a such person as an impoliteness. As we can see, cultural values are subjective, and they are appropriate for the people of a specific culture in which they were fashioned and accepted as normative. What often happens is that when two different cultures meet there is a collision between them, and what often happens is that the one which is supported by power smashes the other and imposes its normative rules on it. When Christianity came to Africa, it was full charged by European way of viewing the world, and in its worldview, anything which was not within the European cultural nornlative frame, was something to get rid of Consciously or unconsciously, Christianity was used as a powerful tool for the West's cultural domination over Africans. The Church demonised African culture, and regarded it as a prototype of anti-Christianity. To become Christians, Africans were required to forsake their life style and assimilate the Western style of living. Things such as drums, xylophones, which were part of African culture, were associated with the demons and thus banned from the lives of the "faithful" African Christians. The memorial ceremonies, which were held for our ancestors, were understood as being a form of idolatry, whereas the church's memory of the saints was regarded as something very Christian. And, if the African culture and practices were abominable for the Western Christian missionaries, its traditional health care system was seen as the ultimate manifestation of the evil. [t is with the desire of reclaiming the legitimacy of African traditional health care system for Africans that 1 set out to examine healing from a cross-cultural perspective, and above all healing in the Bible, and specially Jesus' healings in order to see what is abominable with African traditional medicine.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2002.


Theses--Theology., Tsonga (African people)--Social life and customs., Healing--Religious aspects--Christianity., Traditional medicine--South Africa., Tsonga (African people)--Religious life and customs., Spiritual healing.