Home Scrutator Sangoma with a stethoscope

Sangoma with a stethoscope

by Lesotho Times
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MEDICAL doctors in our kingdom must be very afraid.

Yes, very afraid because the bone-throwing kind has hatched a creepy one to demystify the hitherto noble profession.

The village bumpkins have invaded the medical fraternity and they are now threatening to take it over completely.

They say nothing will stop them.

We are all doctors, the sangomas are saying. Now the real doctors are screaming for help.

If the aggression of the mystics is anything to go by, very soon the real doctors will be elbowed out of a profession that they have always thought was for the learned ones alone.

The shamans are saying there is nothing particularly sophisticated about a doctor’s ability to treat headaches, fevers and even STIs.

And they say when their bones and the spirits can’t give them answers they simply use a stethoscope — that little instrument which looks like headphones and seems to distinguish between a doctor and supporting staff at hospitals.

They say when their herbs and roots can’t heal a patient they simply use paracetamol, Vitamin B or any of the laboratory medicines that doctors thought they had a monopoly over.

Very soon they might be claiming ability to do surgical operations or carry out autopsies.

At least Scrutator’s doctor friends now know what she means when she laments about riff-raff gate-crashing into the journalism profession.

Doctors are livid but the traditional healers say they are “talking nonsense”.

I laughed out loud when the leader of the Lesotho Traditional Medical Practitioners Association, Malefetsane Lepheana, bragged that he even had a stethoscope.

Where is this Kingdom going?

How can we have some ignoramuses just injecting people in dingy shacks they call surgeries?

Methinks the healers have an unfair advantage.

Whereas they can combine sorcery and fortune-telling with modern medicine, real doctors can’t. 

Medical doctors can’t claim to have been given answers in their sleep or to have some mysterious powers whispering into their ears. 

Scrutator thinks this is what makes doctors really angry.

Look, the real doctors have to endure a gruelling five years or more at medical school.

And now the profession is being cheapened by some people who might not have seen the door of a classroom.

On the other hand, we have pharmacies selling luck charms for examinations or to bring back lost lovers. 

This is one of the very few places in the world where a mere nurse can open a surgery and start masquerading as a doctor without worrying about the authorities descending on him or her.  

But what can we do if the powers-that-be insist that Queen Elizabeth II Hospital is a referral hospital?

I only have one request though.

Perhaps the traditional healers can come together and throw their bones furiously until they find a concoction that can banish the evil spirit of dirty and mutilated copy out of our media.

Our scribes are possessed and I think only a shaman can exorcise the demons.

That sounds more useful than learning to use the stethoscope and concocting some dubious luck potions that claim to deliver you a job that you dream about.


Scrutator is dead sure the potion will have ready customers.

Already, I know the Voiceless needs loads of such a concoction.

Let’s call it the “Copy Cleaner Potion”.

Here was the tabloid trying to show off this week with some Latin motto as their headline: “Aquila non muscat captat.

Look who’s talking about an eagle not catching flies when they can’t catch the basics of communication, like simplicity.

If I wasn’t an advocate for media plurality and press freedom, I would have said to the tabloid and copy-smudgers alike: “Aut disce aut discede.

It’s another Latin saying which simply means “either learn or leave”.

And if I was the violent type, I would have pummelled a couple of reporters for abusing readers week in week out.

These boys are trouble, phew!

Now that I’m not, I’m praying hard that the sangomas come up with a magical concoction to save the young and impressionable minds who are exposed to hogwash strewn all over most of our local newspapers.

Imagine children reading this: “A somewhat a chilly winter winds could be left on our faces. The bell-boy rang the bell, students alike teachers directed their locomotive organs to Morning Assembly.

“The Scripture reading was taken from Luke 4: 16-20 . . .”

Scrutator would, as humbly as always, like to recommend that we all fast and say Our Father every day with the writer and many others in mind.

In our prayers we must however specifically mention a senior scribe by the name Theko.

The boy needs our prayers.

And if you feel the Almighty is taking too long to answer, please whisper the following quotation from one of Theko’s stories.

“I must not elate the fact that he is also the Vice President of a student association called Public Administration and Political Science Association (PAPSA). Let us relax and find out what he has in store for u.”

Don’t you dare say “Amen” dear reader for this boy needs your long and hard prayers?  


In our Sesotho culture, a name is not just a label to distinguish you from the next person.

Names have meaning. They are in most cases a social commentary on one’s circumstances at birth.

But human nature being what it is our parents sometimes end up giving their children heavy names that hang on their necks like an albatross.

 I know of some colleagues who were never at peace with the names they were given by their mothers.

They were so embarrassed by their Sesotho names.

Some went to great lengths to ditch those names and adopted English ones which they thought had a ring of sophistication.

The issue of language strikes at the heart of what makes us Africans.

This is the issue that Ngugi wa Thiong’o dealt with in his seminal work aptly titled Decolonising the Mind.

The book, by Kenya’s most celebrated literary icon, was compulsory reading during my good old days at college.

One of the major issues that Ngugi pushes is that our African names are not shameful at all.

In fact, he hints that the “missionary names” some of us have are a sign of mental colonisation.

We learnt in school that one cannot be free unless the mind is free.

I seriously reflected on these cultural issues after reading a dispatch from our local news agency recently about an assistant minister’s chauffer by the name Unjacketed Maketekete.

The man was recently fined M500 by the Magistrates’ Court for negligent driving.

The names that we give our children!

Was it the parents’ fascination with the jacket?

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