What Zimbabwe legislators said about traditional medicine- Temba Mliswa


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*HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me an opportunity to also contribute on the report by Hon. Masango, which was seconded by Hon. Toffa.  The major problem is that we are ashamed of ourselves.  We do not follow our culture and the traditional ways that we are supposed to.  There is no culture that is said not to exist – even the Chinese, the whites and the Jews.  If you are to bring snuff, people will dismiss you as a traditional healer.  If we are to visit our cultural practices, everyone does put snuff on their hands but for people to bring snuff into this House, they get ashamed of their cultural practices.

If we look at the Traditional Leaders Act, it empowers people to do things traditionally.  The chiefs are responsible for the various areas.  They are well-informed on the medicinal plants in this country.  They can assist us because they have indigenous knowledge with regards to herbs.  Madam Speaker, during campaigns, I held about six meetings in Hurungwe West and I developed stomach problems. I talked to a certain elder and revealed to him that I could not carry on because I had a terrible tummy ache.  He just went into the bush for three minutes as I wanted to leave.  He asked me to chew a certain herb and the pain stopped.  I had to do three more meetings.  I say this because if we look down upon some of these things we will continue to suffer.

COVID has killed a lot of people in the urban areas and not in the rural areas – why?  That is the question.  Why did we wait for the ravaging of this pandemic so that we start to act?  Our universities in the country have departments that can do something about all these things.  The Head of State urged us to pray so that we have good rains.  Spirit mediums are also in waiting to see us consulting them on what can be done.  Mbuya Nehanda was a spirit medium.  What are we doing as a nation in terms of consulting the spirit mediums that are still alive?  We are doing nothing.  During the liberation struggle, people consulted spirit mediums but today we have gone silent.  We are not doing anything.

It is ideal that we re-visit our traditional practices and consult our elders. How many of us take our children to their rural areas?  That is the first step that shows that you know who you are.  If you look at young girls of these days, we heard Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga giving a testimony that she was once unwell and was treated by traditional medicines.

Right now, we hear that mbanje is a medicine; it is a multi-million dollar industry.  In the rural areas, people used to smoke mbanje and they were not arrested; some people who herd cattle smoke it.  Some actually despise people who smoke mbanje. We should be proud of ourselves and that which the Lord gave us.

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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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