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New Era Newspaper Friday February 9, 2018

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10 FEATURE Friday, February 9 2018 | NEW ERA Paulina N. Moses Swakopmund Division: Post designation: Post: Salary Scale: Salary Notch: Knowledge fading on the healing power of herbs Long ago, our forefathers treated illnesses with stems, roots and leaves. Even though it is now referred to as alternative medicine, African traditional medicine existed long before the modern pharmaceutical medicine currently at our disposal. While not widely used anymore, some of our people, especially those in rural areas, possess an in-depth knowledge of the use of medicinal plants and some still make use of traditional medicine when they fall sick. The Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s Strategic Framework on African Traditional Medicine stresses that each member country should have legislation in place to control and promote the use of traditional remedies. Therefore, Cabinet has acknowledged traditional healing in Namibia and about four years ago discussed the introduction of a Traditional Health Practitioners Bill. The Bill, which falls under the Ministry of Health and Social Services, aims, as stipulated in the document, to “provide for the establishment, constitution, powers and functions of the Traditional Health Practitioners Council of Namibia; to regulate the registration of traditional health practitioners and the practising of traditional healing”. With the passing of the Bill, traditional healing would be made legal. Amongst other communities who reside in the Erongo re- those around the Rooibank area, are predominantly famous for their use of indigenous plants for medicine. This community is famous for the use of the aboriginal food plant, the !Nara. Here we met with a herbalist, elder woman Katrina Haoses, who gave us a discourse on the use of the !Nara in her community, which is clear testimony that African herbs are still prominent in rural areas. “The roots are pounded and placed into a tight-lid container to be used in cases when someone is sick,” explained Haoses. Traditional healing is not REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA MINISTRY OF SAFETY AND SECURITY NAMIBIAN CORRECTIONAL SERVICE Pharmaceutical Services (Pharmaceutics) Minimum Requirements: Responsibilities not limited to: Directorate: Security Division: Sub-Division: System Post Designation: Senior Chief Correctional Salary Scale: Post(s): Minimum Requirements: Key responsibilities not limited to: CLOSING DATE: 23 FEBRUARY 201 exempted from urban areas. We travelled to the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund to witness the practice of an Oshiwambo traditional healing method, called ‘okufulwa’, which is similar to massaging. Okufulwa is a healing method used to treat ‘endjandja’ which is a stomach ailment. The patient, Ndapewa Erastus, said: “I hear that the massages are more effective and helpful as opposed to going to the hospital. Because if you go to the hospital and get an injection you might end up disabled. That is why I decide to go for a massage. They say you should not take pills for endjandja.” Traditional herbalist, Anna Makanda, said she inherited the trade from her grandmother. “I was always around my grandmother, observing how she gave massages. I then imitated her and that is how I learnt to give stomach massages,” reminisced Makanda. Around the Omatjete area, which is an Ovaherero settlement, we visited farm Okonjainja Otjoruharui in the Daures constituency, which a sanctuary for medical plants. Here we were welcomed by Madam Gertze, who took us on a tour around the settlement. She explained that the roots from the Onduraturaua tree are used to treat diarrhoea in children while adults who suffer from the same ailment are treated with leaves from the mopani tree. The leaves from the Omumborombonga are used to treat cold and fever. The Omuzema tree is ideal for cleaning teeth. Gertze explains that for instance when people have problems with their legs and feet, elephant dung is boiled in water. The diseased leg is then placed in the elephant dung mixture for healing. There is another aspect of traditional healing which involves the use of spirits. It is this spiritual aspect of the healing that has many sceptical of traditional healing. Many believe it is nothing but witchcraft. The indigenous medicinal plants are used to treat not only the physical symptoms but also go deeper by treating what is believed to be the spiritual origins of the disease. Elephant dung as explained by the elders is used as a remedy during spiritual healing. Around the Usakos area, we also met with elder man, David !Xabiseb, who took us around Pointing to a seemingly dead tree, he explained: “The roots of that tree over there are for are coughing. They are very which is located in the location, !Xabiseb prepared an aloe vera mixture, which he says is ideal for many ailments, including the common cold. !Xabiseb was accompanied by traditional leader, Ben !Xuiseb, who stressed the importance of recognizing these remedies nationally. “I believe that our leaders in cabinet should support traditional healing, and allow us to bring these discussions at a platform. If these discussions of how we used to survive do not take place, our traditions can die. Even if you are in the bushes and your head aches or your stomach aches, you do not know which herbs to take. But our ancestors knew and used the herbs. They knew which branch to break off and chew to heal themselves.” Plants like devil’s claw, which is indigenous to Southern Africa, has now become a great medicinal asset to the western community. This plant is used to treat illnesses such as arthritis, but is mainly packaged as aspirin and is the most used over the counter painkiller called ibuprofen. Regrettably while the rest of the world is recognising the value of these medicinal plants and African remedies, the unfortunate situation is that the indigenous people are losing the healing methods and knowledge that are part of their generic heritage. In 2012 Namibia reached a milestone by nalising the much-needed Traditional Health Practitioners Bill, which will not only legalize traditional medicine but also regulate and promote the practice. The Bill is of importance because it will integrate the essential parts of our traditions and history into the country’s development. The government is concerned about the welfare of the people and that the Bill is not intended to ban but regulate the practice of traditional healing. Cases of dubious healers or ‘witchdoctors’ who deceived their patients are not rare in reports in the local media. Leaders have spoken out about the dangers of these unscrupulous healers who do nothing but of people who approach them for services. The main aim of the act is to give power to the formation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Council of Namibia. The council will function by registering traditional health practitioners and keeping a register in respect of the different categories of traditional healing. The council’s objectives are to protect and serve the interests of the members of the public who make use of, or who are affected by, the services provided by registered persons.

Friday, February 9 2018 | NEW ERA 11 Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Ngavirue gives latest on genocide talks New Era journalist Kuzeeko Tjitemisa, yesterday sat with the Namibia Special Envoy on Genocide Dr Zed Ngavirue to get an update on the ongoing negotiations between Namibia and Germany. This is what he had to say: NE: What is the status of the current negotiations between the two governments? ZN: “We have had six rounds of negotiations so far and our mandate was based on the motion of parliament, which expected Germany to acknowledge that they committed genocide, to give an apology and to pay reparations. So far we have been able to get them to accept that what was committed was indeed genocide. Germans went on to say that they are prepared to give an apology at the highest level from their side and also here in Namibia. We can say we have advanced to that point of them not contesting that indeed what happened was genocide and that they are prepared to give an apology. The sticking point now has been reparation because a document that we submitted, we quoted a quantum that they felt was unrealistically high. We later submitted another one of which they did not say was unrealistic but they went about suggesting what they are prepared to give on the understanding that they say it’s not reparation but ‘healing the wounds’. As you know the word reparation in Germany is a byword, a sensitive word that they will never want to be in use because of their history. So we said, let’s not ponder on the word; we should put our focus on getting them to understand our situation. We also indicated that, “Okay you want to heal the wounds … you can’t be a doctor sitting in a to a patient that is in Namibia. Let’s get together and work out what we can do because you are refusing to accept our content”. So they agreed to the idea of working in technical groups; that will sit looking at the situation together here (Windhoek) before we have the seventh round.” NE: And when will the seventh round be held? ZN: “The seventh round is conditional upon how soon the working technical groups report back to us…” NE: What have been the personal highlights of your involvement in this matter, especially against perceptions that this is too big a job for you? ZN: “(Laughs)… I don’t know what that means to say the job is too big for me. First of all I have had the honour of being involved in international negotiations before. You may very well know that I was self-chosen by the Seventy Seven Countries of the African, of States (ACP) as a Chief Ambassador or spokesperson when we were negotiating trade and economic cooperation with the European Union which then had 15 members for the two years I was the Chief Ambassador. Also, during the same period when I was Ambassador from the history of ACP there was a major disagreement between Central Africa and Southern Africa as to who was going to produce the secretary general of the ACP. And I was chosen to negotiate that issue… So when one says this is a big job for me, what is it based on? But with regard to highlights, it has always been teamwork, I wouldn’t want to say it is my personal highlight.” NE: How has the ongoing genocide court case in the US affected, if at all, current negations between the governments of Namibia and Germany? ZN: “So far our counterpart has not told us anything about what they are doing, so negotiations are continuing.” NE: Do you, as Namibia’s envoy on genocide, consult or take advice from the two local genocide committees? ZN: “No, that’s very easy to answer in the sense that one of the committees is already part of our committee. They have representatives on the technical committee; they have representatives on the negotiation team, and whether we meet here or in Germany they are part of the team. But you know that there are those that stayed out and they have been unwilling to cooperate because they feel the whole thing has to be changed.” NE: There were talks last year of a N0 billion settlement agreed with Germany. How credible is this information? all I can say.” NE: Can you perhaps share with ZD: “No I don’t have such a right.” NE: When last did you have any engagement with your German counterpart regarding Namibia Special Envoy on Genocide Dr Zed Ngavirue this matter? ZN: “It was 28 -29 September last year.” NAM-MIC Financial Services Holdings Bursaries – 2018 Bursary applications invited for studies in the following fields: BACKGROUND Eligibility for the Nam-mic Financial Services Holdings bursary: Applications can be forwarded to: Manager: People Development Or hand delivered to 9 February 2018 NE: If any reparation is paid, hopefully in the near future, to whom would that money go and what would it be used for? ZN: “Again this is also not a very have not reached that particular point of the modus operandi. We have discussed in general knowing that Germany has been involved in reparations before and they more or less will want to use models that they have used before like money going into a foundation. They have talked of a trust for particularly the affected communities. Those are the ideas they have put on our table. But we feel that once we agree on this important issue, the modus operandi is a subject in itself where there would be consultation knowing that also this is based on the resolution of parliament. But we have not reached that point.” NE: What necessitated the genocide outreach programmes currently ongoing, and is this admission that there was no proper consultation with affected communities before engaging Germany? ZN: “On the contrary people talk as if there wasn’t any outreach work. There was an outreach from the word go. But initially we relied on getting information not only from the people sitting on the technical committee from the communities, but also at the Chiefs’ forum. But we realise generally that there were questions from the public. We feel that the public needs to be informed more and also it provides an opportunity for me to go out and look at the environment.”

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New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167