The persistence of the binary of scientific and indigenous or traditional medicine in contemporary South Africa is particularly unhelpful in the context of HIV/AIDS and encourages biomedical disengagement from a potentially helpful cohort of health professionals recognised within their communities. This article offers and discusses ethnographic evidence from Project HOPE, an HIV/AIDS intervention involving African traditional health practitioners (Xhosa: amagqirha) in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The article suggests several possibilities of advantage to the efficacy of western medical interventions in this sort of collaborative approach. Testimony from participants from both paradigms is offered to support this assertion. The article includes a contextual examination of the debate about HIV/AIDS treatment in South Africa which explores the effects of confused interpretations of 'traditional' and scientific medicine in this regard.
Key words: Traditional health practitioners; indigenous knowledge; biomedicine; HIV/AIDS; medical collaboration
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