Towards an understanding of Amayeza esiXhosa stores (African chemists) : how they operate, and the services they offer in the Eastern Cape

Cocks, Michelle Linda (1997) Towards an understanding of Amayeza esiXhosa stores (African chemists) : how they operate, and the services they offer in the Eastern Cape. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




In medical anthropology there has been a tendency to dichotomize western biomedical . healtb services, on the one hand, and traditional health care practices on the other. Much attention has been focused on the comparison between these two approaches in the hope that they might be reconciled. The problem with this approach is twofold. In the first place, it has not always acknowledged the local, historic~1, political and economic contexts in which different approaches to health care have evolved and in the second place, health care services which belong to neither the western nor traditional healing spheres and which are driven by commercial interests have been almost completely neglected because they fall outside of the basic dichotomy. Amayeza stores have been a feature of South African towns and cities for many years. They mayor may not be run by Africans, but their clientele is almost exclusively African in this region. They deal in a bewildering variety of products and remedies, from untreated herbal and animal products to pharmaceuticals specially prepared for the African market, to Dutch and Indian Remedies. These stores both reflect transfonnations in indigenous perceptions of health care and, by virtue of the choices they offer, generate change. In this empirical study three stores in the Eastern Cape are selected for detailed study - two in King William's Town, the regional capital, and one in the small town of Peddie. The approach is holistic, emphasizing the social, political and economic context, the business histories and running of each shop, and, in particular, the perceptions and choices of a sample of the customers in each case. The success of the amayeza phenomenon derives from its eclecticism and syncretism. These stores impose neither a western nor a traditional model of health care on their clients, but offer them a range of choices that reflects the complex multicultural history of their own South African society.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Peddie, King Williams Town Eastern Cape, Traditional medicine, Medical anthropology
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Anthropology
Supervisors:Palmer, Robin
ID Code:3206
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:24 Aug 2012 09:32
Last Modified:24 Aug 2012 09:32
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