The future registration of the White traditional healer in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act (Act No 22, 2007) in South Africa

Andre Duvenhage, Gabriel Louw


The dilemma of the White traditional healer is an unexpected outcome of the intent to use the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) to adhere to the ANC’s cultural rights declaration of 1969, which stated that they aim to bring the indigenous traditional healer into the South African health care sector. The traditional philosophy of a ‘calling’ and the unique way of practice that life as a traditional healer entails, ask for guidelines to address the matter.

The study aims to determine if a White person can be accommodated in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) as a traditional healer in South Africa.

This is an exploratory and descriptive study that makes use of an historical approach by means of investigation and a literature review. The emphasis is on using current documentation like articles, books and newspapers as primary sources to reflect on the South African White traditional healer and his position in the traditional healing fraternity. The findings are offered in the narrative form.

Various ways have been identified in which an individual, including Whites, can become a traditional healer other than that of the traditional ‘calling’ to be a traditional healer and the customs and ceremonies.

Although the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) emphasizes a traditional philosophy and underwrites unique practice rules and customs for the traditional health practitioner, it harbours, although vaguely and unspecific, descriptions that point to the end of the exclusively holistic traditional approach to healing. It would be possible in future to insert medical science into the traditional healer’s healing principles. The White person, without the ‘calling’ and not necessarily underwriting the pre-modern traditional philosophy, its customs and habits, can surely be a traditional health practitioner under the auspices of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 of 2007 in South Africa.
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