Original Research

Conceptualisation of African primal health care within mental health care

Neo E. Nare, Abel J. Pienaar, Ditaba D. Mphuthi
Curationis | Vol 41, No 1 | a1753 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v41i1.1753 | © 2018 Neo E. Nare, Abel J. Pienaar, Ditaba D. Mphuthi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2016 | Published: 22 March 2018

About the author(s)

Neo E. Nare, School of Nursing Science, North-West University, South Africa
Abel J. Pienaar, School of Nursing Science, North-West University, South Africa
Ditaba D. Mphuthi, Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


Background: It is believed by western education systems that the first contact should be with the nurse in primary health care. However, it is not the case. Therefore, the researcher attempts to correct this misconception by conceptualising the correct beginning of health seeking behaviour in an indigenous African community, namely African Primal Health Care (APHC). ‘Primal’ was coined during a colloquium by Dr Mbulawa and Seboka team members; however no formal conceptualisation took place, only operational definition. Due to the study scope, conceptualisation is narrowed to mental health, but this concept is applicable in the broader health context. The research purpose was to contribute to the body of indigenous knowledge systems to advocate towards co-existence of primal health care and mental health care.
Aim: Formulate APHC within a mental health care context.
Objectives: To explore philosophical grounding of APHC and describe epistemology of APHC. To analyse and crystallise the exploration to establish understanding within mental health and conceptualise APHC within mental health care to enhance co-existence.
Methodology: Narrative synthesis, concept analysis (qualitative design). Lekgotla was used as a method of data collection and data were analysed using Leedy and Ormrod’s five steps of data analysis.
Results: APHC is a health care system that existed in Africa prior to the introduction of the western health care system. It is based on the African belief system and practices. The practices come from the community, for the community and are authenticated by the community. APHC uses a holistic approach and the family and community are involved in the healing process.


Primal Health Care; Mental Health Care; Primal Mental Health Care; Indigenous Healer; Conceptualization


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