Witch Doctors

African doctors that cure witch related deseases

Witch Doctorsrs in Africa and their rolls

A witch doctor was originally a type of healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft. The term witch doctor is sometimes used to refer to healers, particularly in third world regions, who use traditionally healing rather than modern medicine. In modern society, "witch doctor" is sometimes used derisively to refer to Chiropractors, and faith healers


Diviners are experts in diagnosis who are called to the profession by the ancestors. Their calling is made manifest by the onset of persistent symptoms, which only yield once she or he undergoes formal initiation. To do so the person becomes an apprentice of an established diviner, and learns to trance so that the ancestors can speak through her or him. Though divination processes are diverse, set routines are followed. The diviner's body can become a vehicle for communication through spirit possession. Otherwise, some type of device is employed, from a simple sliding object to the myriad of symbolic items in a diviner's basket. A common method involves using divination dice.


Herbalists undergo a more extensive apprenticeship, and have a vast knowledge of flora and fauna. Early in the twentieth century Shona healers used five hundred different medicinal plants, and also parts of animals, birds, insects, snakes, and fish. Herbalists deal with a wide range of medical, psychological, and social problems. Many therapies are based on practical knowledge, gained through experimentation. Southern African herbalists apply milk of the euphorbia to draw out deep-lying thorns and use wooden splints for broken limbs. They remove ritual pollution through blood-letting, enemas, and emetics. Other therapies follow the logic of symbolic association. For example, parts of scorpions are used to heal scorpion stings, and a tree with lumps on its trunk to treat patients with mumps. Medicines not only cure disorders of the body, but also protect babies from illness, ensure good luck, and help workers find employment.