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African breathing and spiritual healing

S Edwards
N Makunga
J Thwala
D Nzima


Discerning visitors to Africa typically have an ‘ancestral-roots' experience on encountering
an essential humanity and communal spirituality which may seem lacking in their home
communities. This is scarcely surprising when it is considered that converging lines of
evidence from various scientific disciplines all point consistently to Africa as the cradle of
civilisation for all humanity.
In its original, essential and literal meaning, psychology is concerned with the breath,
energy, consciousness, soul or spirit of life that leaves a person at death and continues in
some other form. Such an essential and spiritual form of psychology, still practiced internationally,
has its roots in African communal spirituality and spiritual community. Today,
such reality remains concretely apparent in the experience of the Zulu diviner of being
“breathed” by the ancestors during the divine healing process (ukububula kwedlozi) and in
the mobilising of spiritual healing power (umoya) by African Indigenous Church faith
The aim of this paper is to make clear some of the implications of this ancient theme of
African breathing and spiritual healing for the promotion of health for contemporary

Keywords: Communal spirituality, divine healing, breathing healing, spiritual

Indilinga Vol. 5 (2) 2006: pp. 135-144