MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, Ms Sibongile Manana last Tuesday at a seminar hosted by the Traditional Healers Organization (THO) at Mariti community hall, Mpumalanga urged about 500 traditional health practitioners from different districts of the province to consider educating youth and the community at large on the importance of life and respect for human rights. She was saying because many cases of women and children abused daily reported to police and community leaders. We see houses burnt, people left homeless and foreigners attacked on a daily basis, Manana says. There is a growing trend of tribalism that should be combated she continues. She was wondering why healers as custodians of tradition and culture are not standing up against such crimes to humanity. Why should we allow a situation where there is lawlessness and abuse of rights by hooligans who do not want to respect elders in their communities. She further said that we need to know who we are, where we come from and to be proud of our culture in order for us to gain respect from other cultures. Each person has a right to belong to a religion or cultural conviction of their choice without being apologetic, and to enjoy freedom of association. The government is totally against witchcraft based violence and stern measures will be taken against those who perpetrate such crimes. We need to stand together to fight such a scourge. This is more important because witchcraft based violence largely affects women and children who often get displaced during such wars.
In South Africa we have close to 80% of our people who utilize traditional healing forms of health and wellbeing. Healers should ensure that such people are taken care of spiritually, physically and emotionally to give balance to their life. MEC has made a call to all healers to work together and lead communities towards a cultural conscious life which is safe, healthy and respectful of all citizens. Through culture and relevant traditions we have developed our country and able to live together in harmony. Let us uphold the spirit of togetherness, MEC says. More than ever our society needs you the most today to guide and heal them but if correct systems and education is not emphasized we may end up spoiling the good work done by you. Let us put policies and assist government put in place relevant legislations to support and promote our heritage.
The department of Safety and Security said that it is unlawful to accuse another person of witchcraft and to burnt his/her property with the intention and also attempt murder or contribute towards the displacement of another citizen. Should actions happen, people must immediately report to the nearest police station, and if they cannot find help they can contact the department of Safety and Security.
Fighting for human rights and justice
Dr. ND Maseko, the Traditional Healers Organization President, encouraged healers not to tolerate any form of corruption nor injustice. We are equal to everyone and therefore we need to stand up and reclaim our space, Maseko said. Healers are trained and witches are born from parents who practiced witchcraft and therefore it is not proper that people address healers as witches because they have great intentions to health and restore health. We see lots of wrong doing in western healing such as the incident of selling body parts as done by NETCARE Clinics but little is done on them and instead of making them pay large amounts of fine and imprisonment of the Clinic board and leadership the justice system has choosen to only just make them pay a little fine and they got away with murder. As Healers we should respect life and be not involved in body parts trade as in the case of NETCARE. Let us talk to our patients to boycott their clinics and expose their dirty tricks an lack of respect for human life. We want government to talk to them to stop human body trafficking and they should from today hence forth be brought on board to stop such actions through a calculated campaign. Our role should be that of practising pure/ true traditional healing. We need to lobby government to put in place policies and legislations which will promote and protect our indigenous knowledge to stop bioprospecting of our knowledge otherwise we will remain poor and them making money out of our sweat. This is ENOUGH! Let healers work together to establish big indigenous medicine pharmaceutical companies like in China and India. Let us ensure that we put our vote on leaders that have an eye and heart on communities to reduce hunger and continuous poverty. Do not put your vote on politicians who are not working for the community but themselves. Vote with your eyes and ears widely opened to rid off corruption and injustice, Maseko says.