July 25, 2016 16:30 - 18:00

Makgoma: A culture specific illness in a South African community

[Speaker] Makgahlela, Mpsanyana W:1
[Co-author] Sodi, Tholene:2
1:University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa(Republic of South Africa)), 2:University of Limpopo (South Africa(Republic of South Africa))

The Northern Sotho speaking people of South Africa recognise the existence of a condition known as makgoma. This culture-specific illness is believed to be associated with failure by individuals and families to perform culturally prescribed bereavement rituals. The aim of this study was to explore notions of makgoma by local community members drawn from Capricorn District in Limpopo Province. A total of fourteen participants (male = 7; female = 7; aged between 35 and 85) were selected and interviewed using in-depth semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The study found that makgoma is perceived as an illness that may "contaminate" and "pollute" bereaved family members. A cleansing or healing process will rid the individual and family members of this contagious illness. The study is concluded by suggesting that there is a need for existing nosological systems to accommodate makgoma as one of the culture specific illnesses.
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