Regulating Sangoma’s & African Shamanic Practises.

Regulating Sangoma’s & African Shamanic Practises.

Today’s post was inspired by the “bad press” that Sangomas or traditional healers sometimes get because of many charlatans and unqualified practitioners, who damage the reputation of the genuine good healers.


There exists a regulating body (bodies) that aim to unite traditional healers and regulate the practices to some kind of acceptable standard, with a code of Ethics, and issue certificates of competence. They also provide some training. Traditional healers can register here and complaints can also be lodged by the public against bad practice.

Below is an extract from the websites with links if you want to visit them.

THO – Traditional Healers Organisation:

Mission: THO is an organisation that organizes, trains and certifies traditional health practitioners. It fights for member’s rights to practice the tradition of healing. We also assure the values, quality of treatment, efficacy, safety and ethical standards of member practitioners. Empowering healers of Africa to heal the continent.

Qualities of a competent Traditional Health Practitioner

  • Good Healer
  • Having good mentor ship
  • Well trained
  • Loving and passionate
  • Ubuntu
  • Ethical practice
  • Good values
  • Preventing diseases
  • Hygienic
  • Leadership in the community
  • Honest, Courageous and Decisive

THO target both initiated and non-initiated traditional health practitioners which among others include; herbalists (Inyangas), Sangomas (Diviners), Umbelethisi (Traditional Birth attendants), Iingcibi (Traditional surgeons) and Izangoma Zomkhaya. THO capacitate healers in all their specialities.

The THO organizes about 29,000 traditional health practitioners in the country and has networks in some parts of Africa. We are passionate about preserving our proud tradition of healing. We hold knowledge about tradition and healing of all different kinds of traditional health practices and share this knowledge through our training programmes. Some of these training programmes have been accredited by the Health & Welfare SETA (Accreditation Number- HW592PA0400064). We are now certifying 10 different specialists in traditional health practice.

The Certificate of Competence ensures every patient that this practitioner has completed training and passed assessment and is capable of healing the patient in an ethical, efficient, safe and hygienic way. We believe that traditional health practitioners play a key role in the community by caring good values and concerns for others and also take leadership in community development.

Our Values: Professional freedom, Dedication, Ubuntu, Responsibility, Compassion, Integrity, Transparency, Accountability, Collective effort, Excellence, Solution-focused, Collaboration and Cooperation, Knowledge protection and preserving, User-Centred, Gender sensitivity, Acceptance, Learning and Experience

ANHA – African National Healers Association:

  • In short, the African National Healers Association was founded in 1989. The African National Healers Association is registered as a non-profit organisation in South Africa under Section 21 Act 61/73 and Reg. Number [89/0529/08].
  • The African National Healers Association has over 2000 members, including a number of allopathic doctors with interest in traditional healing methods.
  • The African National Healers Association has served as consultant for numerous Academic Institutions as well as private companies in numerous research, Educational-and Traditional medicine development projects, including the hosting of the Eight Fact-Finding Workshop on behalf of the Producers of the S.A. Traditional Healers handbook, Published in 1997.


  • The setting and maintaining of mandatory standards of traditional healing in South Africa through Cultural Heritage.
  • Establishing a working relationship with private organisations and companies with the like-minded objective of promoting traditional medicine and traditional healing in South Africa.
  • To develop and manage knowledge-and management systems in South Africa.



A number of issues regarding Traditional practitioners in South Africa needs to be addressed in order to understand better understand the Legislation governing it.  A bill drafted to regulate the practice of traditional practitioners was tabled before Parliament in 1994 and passed in November 2004. The bill was signed as the traditional health practitioners act 35 of 2004 in February 2005. (See Government Gazette 27275, Dated 11 February 2005.) Bill 20 of 2007 makes provision for the health practitioner’s council and the following groups will be covered:

  • Inyangas (herbalist or traditional doctors)
  • Sangomas (diviners)
  • Iingcibis (traditional surgeons)
  • Umbelethisi (Traditional birth attendants)
  • Abathandazis (faith healers) are excluded.


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