A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw
Edited By George J. Sefa Dei
18. The Kenyan Herbalist Ruptures the Status Quo in Health and Healing Njoki Wane 280
This chapter investigates Indigenous healing in rural Kenya through qualitative interviews withhealers/herbalists and lay people. The central objective of study was to examine the practices and epistemological underpinnings of African Indigenous healing and its contribution to contempo- rary healing knowledge and practices in Kenya. The intent of this chapter and research project is not to produce recipes for healing but rather to make an important contribution to ongoing, albeit lim- ited, debates and discussions of African Indigenous healing. This is in keeping with Aime Césaire’s (2000) call to return to the source. Although Cesaire’s idea was a symbolic call for all Black peo- ple to rally together in relation to their common origin, Cesaire’s notion of returning to one’s histo- ry, culture, etc., speaks of the idea of embracing and reclaiming African Indigenous knowledges and in this particular case, healing practices. There is a substantive amount of scholarship on alternative healing in North and South America, New Zealand and Australia; however, this chapter focuses specifically on scholarship that is related to African Indigenous healing. My analysis is situated in a perspective that examines the total human experience grounded in African philosophical principles which underlie belief systems, values, signs and symbols. In addi- tion, the chapter tries to address the following questions: What is healing? What is traditional African healing? What is Indigenous healing? What is the major difference between Indigenous and contemporary healing? Before addressing these questions I will provide a brief overview on Kenya’s population, health provisions, the...
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