We are losing traditional healers everyday, and with them their medicines. This is most prevalent in the developing world where traditional knowledge is still surviving on an oral tradition. Oral languages are disappearing at an alarming rate. With modern technology and documentation equipment, the Herbal Anthropology Project is able to support Traditional Knowledge preservation and support it’s continued use.
One herbalist, named Bongo Mzizi which means “root genius”, has been treating thousands of HIV/AIDS patients in the Tanga region of Tanzania for over 20 years. As unforeseen circumstances arose, Bongo passed away a couple of months ago. His son has been only practicing with him for a short time and does not know all of Bongo’s remedies. In collaboration with the National College of Natural Medicine, Herbal Anthropology Project has been asked to go to Bongo Mzizi’s clinic this summer to document his surviving medicines. (To support the trip donate here)
Cultural sustainability involves having a strong sense of identity from where we came from, the knowledge of what makes us unique. Traditional medicines are the some of those keys to understanding our identity, our heritage, creating a collaborative voice with the people we share our ethnic background. Here in the west most of us are privileged to have our people’s history in vast amounts of books and photographs. I hope that each community is lucky enough to document their history before it’s lost forever.