Friday, 26 December 2008

Traditional medicine

Well true to being an African "Xhosa" female from relatively rural eastern cape, I am subjected again to traditional medicine. Throughout my life these have been around me, used on me, used by others. Like the one time my brother and I were subjected by an Aunt- god rest her soul- to River medicine(iyeza lomlambo). What happened was we had some rash and little pimples(for lack of a better word) on our legs and we had to drink a mug of this stuff, of course it tasted bad but what could we do he was 5 and I 11. Now at 28 years of age how do I justify subjecting myself to 3 quarter glasses of horrible tasting stuff.
Well let me explain:
Firstly-as I grow older I realise my parents might just know things I dont, so I listen to them more.
2ndly- I realise sometimes "modern" africans are quick to dismiss our forefathers' ways until someone packages it and sells it for a buck. Take the aloe plant, we all know its healing properties and occassionally use it. Then some bloke puts it in a bottle and calls it Aloe vera what what. Then its cool. right?
So when my dad says "what helps a broken bone heals fast is uMathunga", almost everyone knows about this medicine, cause when they see me in my aircast they enquire if I have uMathunga.
So my dad got the roots and mixed something and now I take the 3 helpings a day. It is horrible. Its like ukrakrayo- the bitter one- a medicine we use to take as a detox-thats too modern a concept man, what I mean is a laxative. It was good just tasted bad.
As I am writing my mother comes "Just bringing you your medicine" she gives me the dreaded glass with a lemon cream biscuit to help with the taste. So much for no junk food.
Anyway on top of leaving room that this stuff helps, I am kinda scared what my parents will think. Believe it or not approaching 30 as I am, what they say or think still scares me a bit. Like the father of my child who has not come to acknowledge his child. Now if I am to refuse to take uMathunga that would just break all relations. I will be seen as not being proud of our traditions and living too much in the modern world.
So I keep quiet and take uMathunga....Yaackkkk

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