Accepted Paper:

The educational role and the perception and attitude of Xhosa diviners towards HIV/AIDS in the 21st century  


Jonathan Mzathu Ncozana (University of Fort Hare)

Paper long abstract:

The involvement of traditional healers in educational campaigns, which focus on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, have already been recognised by medical ethnomusicology. As Gregory Barz mentioned in his book Singing for Life: HIV/AIDS in Uganda (Published in 2006), traditional healers co-operate in some cases with Western medical staff and even function as intermediaries between Western medicine and the people of rural villages.

In South Africa, the diviners, a specific sort of traditional healer in the region of the Eastern Cape, play the role of mediators between the ancestors and the community, and they are seen as solvers of individual as well as social problems. Nowadays they also have to face issues of modern relevance and, as found out during recent research done by the IMOHP (Indigenous Music and Oral History Project), they address diseases such as HIV/AIDS. But even though there seem to be similarities between them and the healers in East Africa, their perception and attitude towards HIV/AIDS and their educational role in South African communities, which are “traditional” and “modern” at the same time, are distinctive – as will be shown.

Panel F3
Literacy, writing and education