[DEBATE] : UKZN & sangomas
helena.sheehan at dcu.ie
Tue Sep 11 13:49:14 BST 2007
I read this story on News24 yesterday. I just heard a discussion of it
on SABC. Is there any debate about this at UKZN?
*Sangomas to counsel students
Sep 10 2007 05:23:49:370PM
/Traditional healers and sangomas will be on call to attend to the needs
of students attending the University of KwaZulu-Natal. /
Durban - Traditional healers and sangomas will be on call to attend to
the needs of African students attending the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Mercury reported on Monday that the "indigenous counselling"
initiative would complement Western forms of counselling provided by the
Student Counselling Centre.
It said plans are under way to build traditional huts for the healers,
following a proposal by the deputy dean of students Bheki Ncgobo.
"The need for indigenous healers to diagnose illnesses, prescribe and
prepare herbal medicine, provide counselling and offer spiritual support
cannot be overemphasised," Ncgobo was quoted as saying.
He said that the project should be seen in the context of "reclaiming
"Indigenous counselling attempts to restore the African way of life,
primarily to African students. As an institution that upholds African
values, we are endeavouring to bring the suppressed culture to
students," he said.
The proposal says that many students, primarily African students,
experienced problems that required the special skills of traditional
The Mercury reported that "some of the problems experienced by students
included being possessed, being chosen by ancestors to stop formal
education to be trained as a traditional healer, being unable to
concentrate on studies owing to bad spirits or spirits that required
purification and cleansing, and madness caused by bad spirits that
needed to be exorcised".
Ngcobo's proposal says that an initial sum of R20 000 would be set aside
for the project from the Student Development Fund.
It is envisaged that each consultation would cost R20 a student.
A sangoma, who has been practising at the university's Howard College in
Durban, told the Mercury that more than 250 students had come to her for
help since her arrival a few weeks ago.
Professor Helena Sheehan
Dublin City University
Dublin 9 Ireland
e-mail: helena.sheehan at dcu.ie
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