Indigenous Knowledge on Health care among the Ovahimba Community of Oukongo Village in Kunene Region of Namibia

  • Miriam Ndalilashiwa Hamunyela University of Namibia; Lifelong Learning and Community Education
  • Haaveshe Nekongo-Nielsen University of Namibia
  • Alex Kanyimba University of Namibia
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, indigenous health care, medicinal plants, herbal remedies, community

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants for treating common illnesses among the Ovahimba of Oukongo village in the Kunene region of Namibia. The coevolutionary theory of sustainable development informed this study as it promotes the anti-hegemonic ecology of knowledge and synchronises traditional knowledge with the modern world. The interview data were analysed using the inductive approach and content analysis. The results show that the Ovahimba community of Oukongo village use plant-based remedies such as roots, leaves, bark, fruits and flowers for the treatment of ailments such as headaches and diarrhoea, high blood pressure, chest pain and syphilis. The remedy preparation follows the process of harvesting parts of a plant, cleaning and breaking it into small pieces or crushing it into powder and then mixing with water or some form of liquid. The process also includes chewing roots, leaves and burning flowers into ashes. The study recommends further research to document indigenous health care practices of the Ovahimba. It also recommends the adoption of the co-evolutionary theory of sustainable development as the basis for the synchronisation of indigenous knowledge with modern health care and thus promote future generations’ access to the rich heritage of ancestral knowledge on health care.

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Author Biographies

Miriam Ndalilashiwa Hamunyela , University of Namibia; Lifelong Learning and Community Education
Dr Miriam Ndalilashiwa Hamunyela is a Senior lecturer in the department of Lifelong Learning and Community Education (LLCE) at the University of Namibia (UNAM). She holds a PhD with specialisation in Adult and Community Education and Training from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research interests are in Community Education and Development, Sustainable Development, and Indigenous Knowledge systems. Email: mhamunyela@unam.na
Haaveshe Nekongo-Nielsen , University of Namibia
Dr Haaveshe Nekongo-Nielsen is a Senior Lecturer in the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs at the University of Namibia (UNAM). Her research interests are in the areas of education policy and leadership; rural development education; indigenous knowledge education as well as access, equity and equality in education. Email: hnnielsen@unam.na
Alex Kanyimba, University of Namibia
Prof Alex Kanyimba is Associate Professor of Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at the University of Namibia (UNAM). He specialises in environmental education and management of sustainable development. Prof Kanyimba has published a number of papers pertaining to integrating sustainability education, environmental education and education for sustainable development in Namibia’s higher education institutions, climate change and indigenous knowledge in rural Namibia and integrating environmental management systems in South African primary schools. His current research interests are about Transformative Governance for a Sustainable and Inclusive Blue Society. Email: akanyimba@unam.na
Published
2020-08-21
How to Cite
Hamunyela , M. N., Nekongo-Nielsen , H., & Kanyimba, A. (2020). Indigenous Knowledge on Health care among the Ovahimba Community of Oukongo Village in Kunene Region of Namibia. Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, 8(2), 107-140. https://doi.org/10.32642/.v8i2.1451

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