On Wednesday, 05 February 2020, the Director Community Engagement, Prof Vhonani Netshandama together with nine (9) students; six (6) from the University of Venda (UNIVEN) and three (3) from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) visited the Muhlava Traditional Health Practitioners Association at the Muhlava royal house. The visit was in response to the invitation from the association which aimed at exploring areas of collaboration.

Some of the group members posing for a photo in-front of the Muhlava royal house

The meeting began with a set of songs that are in appreciation to the chief and the ancestors for their protection and guidance, and then followed by a prayer. Ntate Masia, the Chairperson of the Muhlava Traditional Healers Association indicated the purpose of the meeting as being an effort to get people to know each other and to explore the link between interests of Traditional Health Practitioners -Traditional healers, students and UNIVEN researchers. Amongst
others, Traditional Health Practitioners shared their challenges and areas of collaboration as follows:

• Lack of practicing facilities – When patients make follow ups, they either admit them in their homes or traditional healers travel to the patient’s home daily;
• Patients are forced to remove their traditional beads before they get help from medical practitioners;
• Lack of recognition, standard and certification;
• Stigmatization;
• Lack of documentation and compilation of portfolio of evidence;
• Lack of recognition.

Amongst other things, students learned that as young indigenous knowledge practitioners, they should admit that learning should go beyond boundaries; there is a need for knowledge holders to be informed about ways of interacting with researchers and other stakeholders in a manner that does not make them vulnerable; there is a need for traditional healers to be informed about intellectual property rights to prevent them from constantly becoming victims of the loss of their innovations and knowledge for commercial purposes.

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 22 May 2020