Original Research

Perceptions about Epilepsy in the Limpopo Province of the Republic of South Africa

ML Mangena-Netshikweta
Curationis | Vol 26, No 4 | a877 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v26i4.877 | © 2003 ML Mangena-Netshikweta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2003 | Published: 28 September 2003

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ML Mangena-Netshikweta,, South Africa

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In rural African communities, there are widespread beliefs that epilepsy is due to possession of bewitchment by evil spirits or the devil. There is also a belief that the transmission of the disease is by physical contact, such as by saliva (Osuntokun 1990:106). In central Africa, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa, epilepsy is attributed to the presence of a lizard in the brain, and epileptic fits occur whenever the lizard moves ( Haddock 1993:118 ; Nyame 1997:143 ). Such perceptions toward epilepsy and a person with epilepsy, in indigenous Africa, are invariably unfavourable and unfounded as they reflect mythical beliefs about the disease.


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