Called by spirits of ancestors to be a traditional healer

Okay…

But an excuse for time off work from the healer is NOT equivalent to one from an ACTUAL doctor. Or is it?

Healers on par with MDs – Times LIVE.

When an employee gives his boss a sick note from a traditional healer it should be taken as seriously as a certificate from a qualified medical doctor, the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled.

Following a unanimous judgment , Judge Azhar Cachalia has ordered the reinstatement of Johanna Mmoledi, a section chef sacked by the Kievits Kroon Country Estate, near Pretoria, in 2007.

Mmoledi was fired after attending a course on traditional healing and not returning to work.

Mmoledi claimed her absence from work was caused by “circumstances” beyond her control.

She said she had received a “calling from her ancestors” that she be trained as a traditional healer.

Mmoledi said she was “sick because she saw visions of her ancestors” and had been “disturbed in her spirits”.

Mmoledi attended the course in the afternoons for two months, presumably outside of working hours. She then asked for five weeks unpaid leave to finish the course. Due to being short-staffed, her employer only allowed for one week leave. She attended the course anyway and was fired for disobedience and not being at work without permission.

As our tipster notes, South Africa can’t decide, whether it wants to be a modern society or an African backwater.

Tip: Thomas Mücke

  7 comments for “Called by spirits of ancestors to be a traditional healer

  1. December 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    I find it VERY disappointing that spirits of ancestors never call people to study science and reason, or even rarely (and I’m only guessing this sometimes happens, I have no evidence) call them to keep their obligations to others.

  2. Chris Howard
    December 5, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    In my heavier days I tried calling in fat, but it didn’t work.

    I had to go in, anyways.

    Which was a really bad idea, considering how high I was. ;-)

  3. spookyparadigm
    December 5, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    I’m far more concerned by the court’s inability to grapple with reality, as noted in the update at the link above. This court just set precedent based on junk science

    http://www.africacheck.org/reports/do-80-of-south-africans-regularly-consult-traditional-healers-the-claim-is-false/

  4. BobM
    December 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Considering the amount of court sanctioned woo that exists in Western societies, it’s a bit rich that we should criticise Africa for it.

    • December 6, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      While our woo is certainly dangerous, the situation there seems degrees worse due to lack of genuine medical care.

      • spookyparadigm
        December 6, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Not sure this is the case to hang that hat on though. Her symptoms, and subsequent treatment seem from the story to fall into the realm of the psychological, and subsequently the therapeutic. This isn’t a case of vaccines or antibiotics, where Western medicine’s claims, based on strong biological science, are much more secure. I’m not saying I agree with the court in terms of employment law, but I think it is a broad stroke to group this in with most of what gets called alternative medicine (and unlike other forms of “therapy” up to and including exorcisms, she seems to have quite a bit of agency in this, up to and including becoming a healer herself).

        Further, the link I gave above debunking the court’s use of bad scientific literature should be considered when throwing around words like backwater. Sharon, I’d reverse your statement above into a question:

        Imagine how much people would turn to woo given a vast lack of effective medical care resulting from structural poverty as a legacy of both the colonial past and the neocolonial present. In places like the US, woo is often viewed as a luxury of people who reject medicine for ideological reasons (see antivax celebrities). But if western medicine was difficult to obtain, even more difficult to sustain if chronic care is required (add in here a lack of regulation leading to many cases of ‘western medicine’ being tainted by counterfeit drugs and practices), and massively expensive to an inconceivable for many westerners level, that puts the woo into an entirely different frame. And it argues that the issue isn’t woo or superstition, but poverty and the global order. This is akin to the family size issue which has often been framed as “traditional” or “cultural” yet amazingly when people the world over move into an increasingly educated middle class, family size shrinks by and large.

  5. BobM
    December 6, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Why do sceptics (of which I am one) always expect people, particularly in underdeveloped countries to take one look at a scientific/rational explanation and straightaway jump on the bandwagon. I suspect it’s because many sceptics have no qualifications in the social sciences and affect to despise them often. Things just ain’t that simple, particularly when you are poor. Firstly Western medicine, even if it is available, is often out of reach financially. Secondly, poor people are often conservative, because the cost of a mistake is higher. One thing I have learned in my reasonably long life, is that contrary to what many Western sceptics and scientists believe, science does not necessarily transcend racial and class boundaries. The reasons for wealthy western people rejecting science are relatively shallow. The reasons for poor non-Western people rejecting science can be quite profound.

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