Original Research

Aspekte van populere opvattinge oor diareesiektes onder Tswanasprekende stedelinge

J.H. Booyens
Curationis | Vol 12, No 3/4 | a232 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v12i3/4.232 | © 1989 J.H. Booyens | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 September 1989 | Published: 26 September 1989

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J.H. Booyens, Departemenl Volkekunde UPE, South Africa

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Abstract

This article contains a general overview o f cultural perceptions o f diarrhoeal disease amongst infants as expressed by Tswanaspeaking urbanites. Attention is mainly given to the perception o f gastro-enteritis. The research on which this article is based was concluded during 1984. The article indicates that a majority o f respondents maintains the view that aeliologically it is possible to distinguish between three categories o f illness, viz. illness o f sorcery, illness o f the shades or ancestors and “natural” illness or illness that “ju st happens " Within this general aetiological frame, aeious diarrhoeal disease o f infants is tally seen as sorcery related. Contact o f infants with people regarded as ritually polluted is seen as a major causal agency. It is conceptualised as infants being “stepped u p on"by “tracks". It causes an illness known as “phogwane", which can he interpreted as “sunken fontanelle The concept "kokwana", which can be interpreted as "intestinal snake", is however also used to indicate serious diarrhoeal illness. In the case o f "kokwana"it is said that the snake, "sent” to the child through witchcraft, "eats " the child’s fo o d and the child itself. Although many o f the respondents were in doubt, the majority were o f the opinion that Western doctors do not really understand the treatment o f these dangerous illnesses. The author believes that nursing practitioners who are involved in health education services should take note o f these popular conceptions o f gastroenteritis. Knowledge o f these views should be used during education session in a meaningful way, to tactfully dissipate “misconceptions ".

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