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A Critical Reflection on Complementary, Alternative and Indigenous Knowledge Medicine in Gauteng Province: A Model for Articulation and Promotion

As long as the academy continues to lag behind in investigating, revealing and teaching African indigenous pedagogies, the unrepresentative Eurocentric epistemologies that are disconnected from the African reality will continue to marginalise certain communities and professions/disciplines. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a term that attained popularity in the recent millennium. CAM comprises therapeutic healing modalities that are not part of Western or conventional medicine as its treatment options are centred on medicinal plant, mineral and animal material. Homeopathy as a curative therapeutic system of medicine is classified under CAM and remains relatively unknown in African communities. This is despite being recognised by the government of South Africa as a primary healthcare modality. In this study, a trilogy of decolonial conceptual frameworks by decolonial thinkers and authors is utilised to debunk terms and paradigms that seek to de-link indigenous healing modalities from their core principles. In-depth conversational interviews with homeopaths, African indigenous healers and ordinary everyday people were conducted to explore how these individuals understand themselves and to find out who do every day ordinary people consult when seeking healing. A thematic and narrative analysis was used to give meaning to the collected data. Four categories emerged revealing the need to redress and do justice to marginalised disciplines and communities. The emerging findings paint a picture depicting a failure to use a dialect that is suitable for Black African realities which is a hindrance to the growth of homeopathy. Furthermore, the results indicate that health seeking measures are embedded in the sufferance of Black African people related not to typical diseases as such, but to diseases arising from socio-economic and transnational migratory realities. This thesis engages an African framework and critical social theory to reflect on homeopathy as an indigenous healing modality alongside African indigenous knowledge medicine (AIKM) whose services are not visible given the social and health disparities of many communities.
Keywords: complementary and alternative medicine, indigenous knowledge medicine, articulation, epistemology, homeopathy, indigenous African pedagogy

Full Name
Dr Tebogo Victoria Kgope