Mutwa's dying daughter rejects his help

Time of article published Apr 12, 2000

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The grand master of traditional healers in South Africa, Credo Mutwa, says he is heartbroken about not being able to treat a daughter who is dying of Aids because she rejects "African medicine".

Mutwa is treating a son who is HIV-positive, but "my daughter, who is in her 20s, has become a born-again Christian and has turned her back on our world".

He also spoke about his battle to build South Africa's first African traditional medicine Aids hospital in the Magaliesberg, and the alleged threat by white farmers who warned him: "Kaffir, we will burn down your hospital."

He was speaking at a traditional healers workshop at the Coastlands Conference Centre in Durban.

The workshop is part of a series of events leading to the 12th International Aids Conference to be held at the International Convention Centre.

In an emotional speech, the 79-year-old internationally recognised conservationist brought his audience close to tears as he spoke about his own battle against Aids.

"My wife told me that one of my sons, who was a soldier in the Bop Army, was HIV-positive. His wife, on hearing this, had decided that she wanted to leave him.

"I went to my son, but he was aggressive, he was angry and very agitated. I calmed him down and told him he had come from a long line of traditional healers. I suggested traditional African treatment.

"Today, he is still alive and reasonably well. I have had some success treating him. But my daughter, who is in her 20s has become a born-again Christian and has turned her back on our world.

"She was raped and now, without any treatment, she is going to die, even before me.

"Children should be burying their parents, not parents their children."

He said he had worked for many years against Aids and decided to use his land in the Magaliesberg.

"I want to build a traditional African hospital, not the kind of clinical, Western claptrap; a place where sufferers can enjoy a change of lifestyle, live on a nourishing diet and where they get love.

"Chemical tablets and medicines are not enough. We have fought many diseases before. There was gonorrhea; it wiped out the Red Indians in the United States and the Aborigines in Australia, but we conquered it in Africa.

"It is our tradition that, once a man is afflicted, he makes his condition known and he goes into quarantine. So did anybody else. They became the responsibility of the community and great care was taken for others not to get infected.

"We need such a facility now in every township, in every village. We need to give sufferers love, a life, but above all else our approach to Aids must have an African face," said Mutwa.

He said the West had no idea of how to treat Aids or HIV.

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