Traditional health practitioners’ understanding of spirit possession in Gauteng province, South Africa

Health SA Gesondheid

Field Value
Title Traditional health practitioners’ understanding of spirit possession in Gauteng province, South Africa
Creator Thobakgale, Ellen M. Ngunyulu, Roinah Mulaudzi, Mavis
Subject — spirit possession; understanding; phenomenology; hermeneutic; spiritual illness; traditional health practitioners; culture; religion
Description Background: Traditional health practitioners (THPs) understand spirit possession as a cultural or religious spirit occupying a person, while the mental healthcare providers understand it as a mental illness. The different understanding is based on manifestations that mimic that of mental illness, such as seeing and hearing things that others cannot see or hear. Spirit possession holds different meanings in different cultures and religions that could be either beneficial or detrimental. Furthermore, spirit possession is understood as a channel of communication between the living and the dead or God or a supernatural phenomenon in which a spirit owns a person.Aim: This study explored and interpreted THPs’ understanding of spirit possession in Gauteng province, South Africa.Method: Hermeneutic phenomenology study explored and interpreted the THPs’ understanding of spirit possession in Gauteng province. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 12 THPs who were selected through snowball sampling techniques. Data analysis followed Heidegger’s and Gadamer’s philosophies and Van Manen’s six steps of the analytic approach.Results: The findings revealed that THPs understood spirit possession as spiritual illness, ancestral calling and demonic spirit or witchcraft.Conclusion: Traditional health practitioners’ understanding of spirit possession could promote mental health and prevent mental illness by providing support to a spirit-possessed person and referral to mental healthcare services.Contribution: This study contributed that not all manifestations presented by persons with spirit possession are actual and clear-cut mental illness, but could be unwritten cultural and/ or religious illnesses that needs cultural and religious services also.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Contributor Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and NRF
Date 2024-03-21
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — —
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/hsag.v29i0.1887
Source Health SA Gesondheid; Vol 29 (2024); 7 pages 2071-9736 1025-9848
Language eng
The following web links (URLs) may trigger a file download or direct you to an alternative webpage to gain access to a publication file format of the published article:
Coverage — — —
Rights Copyright (c) 2024 Ellen M. Thobakgale, Roinah Ngunyulu, Mavis Mulaudzi