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    Victory Amah
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      The African prehistoric health care was not just grounded in physical health, it also extended to mental health. They had their ways of dealing with the issues of mental health especially when it came to PTSD. It was believed that after men fought wars before a warrior could be accepted back into his society, he had to live with his shaman for three months, carrying out some spiritual cleansing.

      Africans had strong beliefs in chi, the human spirit, auras, and other spiritualities, they attributed the events in the physical world to the invisible world. It was believed that after the war, the human spirit became unbalanced and to balance it back, a warrior is supposed to undergo some ritual to restore it to consonance with nature and the community.

      A ritual where a horn was used to draw out stagnant and dysfunctional blood to the surface was carried out; this ritual resembles modern-day cupping. This was one of the rituals that were performed to cleanse the warriors of any mental illness and the trauma they may experience in life after the war. This process was called the “African suction cup”. This process was carried out long before it was deemed a Chinese invention.

      There was another ritual indigenous to Africa that has been used in an attempt to anchor peace. This ritual was instituted in some communities in KwaZulu-Natal. This ritual was not only closed off to warriors, survivors of violent experiences underwent this ritual. Some of these violent experiences included mass violations of human rights, displacements of some members of the community, and deaths of loved ones or families especially in the 1990s mainly due to tribal and political war.


      This ritual is called Ihlambo; the Ihamblo is a ritual of reconciliation, and its main aim is to get get rid of grudges and renew the spirit of those at war. They also do this for those that died at war as they believe that since they died at war, they will still be fighting in death.

      Natives of KwaZulu Natal describe the ritual as a freeing ritual as it frees a Zulu person emotionally and washes off the death of relatives that passed away during the violence. It is a means to remove war from the heart.


      Before the cleansing ceremony, there is usually an agreement between both parties to not speak offensively towards each other and also to not engage in sexual intercourse until the process is completed.

      They then invite the umoya wokuzwana which translates to hearing each other. This spirit possesses both conscious and unconscious, and it is also necessary for the building of peace. The belief that what happens to the conscious also happens to the unconscious is what makes the spirit possess both, this way, the feud can be laid to rest as the end of the hostility will also be communicated to the living dead.


      After the ceremony, families take in their own including the injured as they are also cleansed alongside every other person.

      This ritual attends to emotional well-being, mental healing, and interconnection with the ancestors of a community.

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