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Traditional Medicine And Technology

Last week when addressing a kgotla meeting in Palapye the minister responsible for science and technology Nonofo Molefhi is quoted as encouraging traditional healers to make use of technology to package their time tested herbs.

Indeed the minister’s advice has hit the bull on the horn. Traditional medicine can no longer afford its traditional secrecy, when it is dolled out at night under the cover of darkness so that villagers do not know which traditional doctors’ help one is seeking. The traditional secrecy of traditional healing has in fact over time contributed in the failure to experience growth by some of the healers whose talent has had to go with them to the grave, without the benefit of marketing and mass distribution on the shelves of stores.

There is no doubt that Botswana’s natural flora and fauna is endowed with natural herbs that when properly packaged, marketed and distributed, could contribute immensely to economic growth.

We do not have to look far for examples of success stories of traditional African herbs. Just next-door, South Africa, herbalists are turning into millionaires with some of

their products even reaching our shelves.

However the question is, how far are we prepared as government to support such initiatives by our local traditional herbalists, when they are ready to take the first leap of faith?

Do we have supportive legislative environment that would protect their works, support their dreams and enable them to soar? We are aware of difficulties encountered by some herbalists who have tried to market their concoctions especially those that claim to have found solutions to suppressing the HIV virus with their traditional knowledge.

In these times of unemployment challenges, perhaps packaging our herbs could go a long way in stimulating employment creation.

As an independent African country we should not be seen to be holding back the progress  and discoveries of our own by looking down on them as evil, like our societies were taught to despise themselves by our colonial masters,




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