A news story from Sumbawanga, Tanzania, on August 12 announced that the government of the Rukwa Region was urging traditional healers to register their healing medicines. The article does not mention the society the healers identify with, but most of them would probably be Fipa. The healers, members of the Tanzanian Society for Traditional Healers […]

That classic authority on the English language the Oxford English Dictionary (the OED) defines a “war of words” as a journalistic phrase meaning “a sustained conflict conducted by means of the spoken or printed word.” Such a “war” had erupted three weeks ago in news stories about the causes and cures for a skin disease […]

A Botswana newspaper published an interesting piece last week about the dances enjoyed by the G/wi  and the changes they are making in their traditions. The article updates the information provided by the standard ethnography of the people, George B. Silberbauer’s 1981 book Hunter & Habitat in the Central Kalahari Desert. In order to understand […]

A desert plant that grows in southern Africa with the intriguing popular name “devil’s claw” is being increasingly harvested by the Ju/’hoansi for sale on the international market. A news story in a Namibian newspaper last week provided an update on the increasing economic importance of the harvesting business. A report in this website in […]

Recent research on medicinal plant preparations and their uses by a Yanadi community in southeastern India provides insights into their traditions and the efforts to preserve them. Nataru Savithramma and four colleagues published an article a few months ago that describes the medicinal plants used by Yanadi healers in Chandragiri and Gopolapuram, villages in the […]

To judge by the news last week from a village near Sumbawanga, in southwestern Tanzania, the practice of traditional healing continues to be an important aspect of the peaceful Fipa culture. Recent news from the Rukwa Region of Tanzania has covered other stories about traditional healers. Last year, a predatory healer attacked his victims with […]

Last Thursday, the Herbal Folklore Research Centre in India uploaded a 12 minute video to YouTube that describes the importance of preserving traditional healing practices and natural herbal preparations used by the Yanadi in the Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh. Other literature indicates, for example, that Yanadi healers may prescribe for children a powder made […]

Although medicine and peacefulness are quite separate issues for most of the world, in some small-scale societies, such as the Paliyan, traditional healers and botanical preparations still help maintain physical, cultural, and social health. A detailed article describing the healing plants used in some Paliyan villages of Tamil Nadu, in southern India, provides some interesting […]

Witchcraft and traditional healing, long associated with the Fipa people of Tanzania despite their conversion to Catholicism over one hundred years ago, continue to intrigue other Tanzanians, and outside observers. Several police reports last week from the Rukwa Region of southwestern Tanzania, the traditional territory of the Fipa people, concerned the practice of witchcraft and […]