Home > Research > AIDS and Society Research Unit > Publications > Publications All > Pub home > Myths, masks and stark realities: traditional African healers, HIV/AIDS narratives and patterns of HIV/AIDS avoidance.

Myths, masks and stark realities: traditional African healers, HIV/AIDS narratives and patterns of HIV/AIDS avoidance.

Year: 2008
Working paper number: 209
Author: Wreford, Joanne
Unit: ASRU
Abstract:

Based on field evidence from anthropological research with Traditional Health Practitioners in the Western Cape Province, this paper presents narratives that demonstrate the use of myth and camouflage in popular responses to HIV/AIDS, as experienced by Traditional Health Practitioners. The narratives are analysed from the perspective of the traditional healers in order to interrogate biomedical assumptions that traditional health practitioners are largely to blame for encouraging denial and non-disclosure, or wilfully undermining western medical efforts to deal with the epidemic. The paper explains the effects of popular explanations of HIV/AIDS on traditional health practitioners, and suggests that they do not simply endorse these accounts, but are prepared to be sceptical and to challenge them when they arise.


Publication file: WP209.pdf
TOP