Dr. Livingstone discovered Malawi in 1859. The small state is changing with the rise of modern medicine but 80% of the population continues to live in the mountains. Bernard Fontanille travels to Chikwawa to meet Kachepa Bulumeni.
Traditional doctors often move to find new patients. In Colonial times, traditional doctors were not allowed to practice; they now work with the hospitals. Bulumeni examines a patient he sent to the hospital with eye problems; cataracts are common in Malawi.
Bulumeni's assistant Malita Evasoni examines a woman with genital wounds and a fever. Bulumeni determines a treatment for gonorrhea; the fight against gonorrhea is one of WHO's priorities. Bulumeni discusses the importance of training traditional doctors.
Evasoni and her children live a self-sufficient lifestyle away from the village; she prepares nsima. Evasoni had visions so she apprenticed with Bulumeni; one of her children will become a traditional doctor.
Healers create a social bond with Malawi residents. Evasoni and Fontanille visit an elderly patient who lives alone; Fontanille discovers he has slight cataracts. Evasoni prepares a remedy for his aching joints.
The skills of traditional doctors are linked to traditions; the Nyau preserved culture with secret rituals. Evasoni and Bulumeni gather Chadzera roots for a Nyau ceremony. Fontanille explains the Gule Wamkulu.
Bulumeni performs the pre-dance ritual for the Nyau ceremony. Villagers gather to watch the dance. Bulumeni explains that traditional medicine and black magic must coexist.
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Nicknamed the “Warm Heart of Africa,” Malawi has a reputation for its inhabitants’ smiles and for mystery. Throughout the country, the Bantu people, descended from the former Maravi Empire, practice ancestral rites within secret societies called “Nyau." Bernard Fontanille travels to this little known country, to meet its healers. Their approach to care is guided by a concern for adaptation and integration. An increasing number of traditional doctors are becoming intermediaries between the gradually emerging modern system of treatment, and the impoverished population. Bernard discovers the complex role of traditional doctors alongside Bulumeni “Blueman" and his assistant Martha.
Length: 26 minutes
Copyright date: ©2015
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