Should traditional medicine and traditional religion be included in the school curriculum in Zimbabwe?
MetadataShow full item record
In this study, spirit mediums were interviewed in Mashonaland Central Province and in Harare during the period 2001 to 2007 in an attempt to demystify traditional medical practices in Zimbabwe. This led to the documentation of the hierarchy of spirit mediums, their responsibilities, their training, and the relationship between traditional medicine and traditional religion. In Zimbabwe, the traditional medical practice is under the influence of traditional religion, with practitioners in well defined strata governed by the powers and sources of the spirits that possess the spirit mediums. Training of traditional medical practitioners involves rigorous traditional education similar to apprenticeship systems but without instituted research and development procedures. Spirit mediums suggested that traditional medicine be included in the school curriculum to assist the population appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of traditional medicine as practised in Zimbabwe. They argued that this would put the people in a better position to decide whether to consult traditional healers when the situation demanded. They also revealed a willingness to collaborate with the mainstream medical system researchers to develop traditional medicines for their mutual benefit, but feared that bio-medicine might use its powerful research machinery to steal their medicines. Therefore, this researcher poses the question on whether, indeed, traditional medicine and religion should be part of the Zimbabwean school curriculum.