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The contribution of traditional healers to halting the spread of HIV and AIDS in South Africa: The case of Soshanguve township in the city of Tshwane

Blessing Mbatha


This article gives an overview of the importance of traditional healers in HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment  and care in Soshanguve Township, City of Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa. Answers to the following questions were sought: What are the HIV and AIDS practices of traditional healers? Why do people consult traditional  healers in seeking a cure for health problems? What are traditional healers’ perceptions regarding their  collaboration with biomedical health care providers? What are the most significant problems faced by  traditional healers in their interaction with the South African health system? A qualitative approach was adopted, in which focus group interviews were held with traditional healers. The data was analysed using thematic categorisation. The findings demonstrate that healers considered themselves to play a significant role in helping the community to improve its health and quality of life. Their role would be further reinforced if they were to receive proper training and were to be fully accepted into the health system.

Keywords: Traditional healers, HIV and AIDS, traditional medicine.