What Zimbabwe legislators said about traditional medicine- James Munetsi


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HON. MUNETSI:  I want to thank you for giving me this time to just pick on a few items that I feel are of importance and people must know about our traditional medicine.

Traditional medicine is there and it is real.  I want to cite a few examples where we do not use colonial medicine, where we use traditional medicine and we do not have an English equivalent for anything like that.  I want to give an example of what we call in Shona runyoka.  We do not have any pill that can heal runyoka except if you go to a traditional healer.

If you look at someone who is mentally retarded, if you want that person to be cured and healed forever you go to a traditional healer.  Look at some things like toothache. They say the best medicine to cure your teeth is to remove it but we have got traditional medicine that can cure ailing teeth and they remain in your mouth without removing them. It was done to me practically. I do not know and if I may ask – there are some women and when someone is pregnant they go to our old mothers and get some medicine from them, which we do not find anywhere within the English society. That is the reason why the first pregnancy, you send your wife back to their parents so that they can be given that type of medicine. I do not know what it is called but the old ambuyas know what I am talking about.

If you ask Hon. Kwaramba, maybe she knows those traditional waters that are given to young women when they want to give birth during their first pregnancy. Look at nhova – we have something called nhova in our culture which is also healed traditionally. In the event that one is affected by STIs, it is also healed traditionally. We have in Shona what they call guchu which you are given by our traditional fathers. You drink it for two to three days and it all goes off traditionally. We also have some medicine for back-ache which is also given and it is not found within the English framework. Here in Harare, there is an Indian just opposite OK near Leopold Takawira and next to Kingstone who heals traditionally.

All the medicine that you get there is traditional and the place is packed every time because traditional medicine does a lot just here in Harare. I do not want to talk about human beings only. If you go to our domestic animals, they heal our cattle traditionally. If you put gavakava in water, it heals chicken – what they call chitosi and all that is done traditionally. It is so much that tradition has done. If you give cattle chin’ai soot, it heals the whole system of the cattle.

Even during the war, tradition worked and if you ask the Chimurenga gurus, they can tell you. I was a mujibha during the end of the war. They can tell you about how this bird called chapungu was used during the war. It is all traditional. So, we have several methods of our tradition which work so well, but we have neglected them because we want to be English. We can never be English and a leopard can never change the colour of its skin.

You cannot walk forward when you are looking backwards, never. What we should know is that we have a tradition which we must follow. I do not even advocate for some laboratories for our medicines. Let us use it the way we used it before. We should go to the mbuyas, sekurus and to our n’angas wherever they are –that is our lab and we get our medicine from there just like that. I thank you.

(20 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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