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© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Traditional Medicine and Beliefs

In this section Tswana Traditional Medicine Beliefs and Practices will be outlined.

Emphases/Functions of Tswana Traditional Medicine

There are four main emphases of traditional Tswana medicine. The first function is protective i.e. to protect an individual, his family or property against the various dangers present in the Tswana Universe. These can emanate from baloi (sorcerers),dissatisfied and angered Badimo (ancestors), dikgaba (the anger of an outraged living elder), or from the adverse effects of ritually “hot" people or dibeela (abominations, e.g. unburied foetuses).

The second function of traditional medicine is curative i.e. to cure the results of the actions of any of the above-mentioned dangers. The curative methods vary according to the divined causes of a problem (including illnesses).

The third emphasis is productive. A main aim of many African societies is to promote fertility both of humans and in agricultural enterprise (livestock and crops).

The fourth emphasis is destructive, this not only includes the destructive intentions of sorcerers, but the function of protective measures may also have the effect of reflecting the evil intentions of a sorcerer back to the sorcerer. Also, traditionally, during the eras of inter-tribal war, a Chief could use this method against his enemies as an alternative to war, or again he may use this method against a tribal rival.

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