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Title: Traditional African art and medicine as practised among the people of Goviefe-Todzi in the Central Volta Region of Ghana
Authors: Nukpe, Livingstone Yao Foli Lee
Issue Date: 13-Jul-1992
Series/Report no.: 2101;
Abstract: The advent of the Christian religion has of recent times been having some great impact on the lives of the people of Goviefe-Todzi, especially in the field of medicine. Their culture that includes their medical practice has been threatened by the doctrines of the Christian religion to the extent that some people look derogatively on traditional medicine. Before the establishment of a scientific, medical clinic in the town, about a decade now, traditional medical delivery was the more readily available system. That is, if one did not want to travel long distances to seek scientific medical treatment with its high costs. Nonetheless, traditional medicine has also got its area of impact. It has for long been commended by the people and respected for its startling successful results in the treatment of the so called spiritually induced illnesses like tukpui, asthma and chronic ankle sore disorders among others. Traditional healing is a phenomenon that is linked with magic, religion and art. They become inseparable from medicine when it come5to soliciting the assistance of spirits or deities whose powers are invoked into artifacts like shrine images and other objects that serve as spiritual store-houses used for healing. Having noted the impact, influence and roles played by both traditional and scientific medicines, I suggest strongly that the two medical systems; scientific and traditional medicines should be practised together in the same environment so that each of them may supplement the other. Perhaps, there is no need propagating a total departure from traditional medicine on the mere grounds that some people regard it as unscientific. Also, in view of the inadequate supply of scientific medical delivery facilities in the country, it will be unwise to pursue a policy of total scientific medical delivery system, and shun the traditional one. This is because the majority of the country’s populations, who live in the rural areas where scientific medicine is scarce, are exposed to traditional herbal medicine. The area of Goviefe-Todzi has been chosen for a close study, bearing in mind that other areas too have similar experiences. There might have been some earlier researchers in other areas but definitely not about the people of Goviefe-Todzi who have a lot of peculiarities. Their environment and culture have influenced their art and medicine. During the research, interviews were conducted with medicine men of the town and surrounding vicinities. Some medicine men were suspicious of my motives and therefore proved difficult in releasing some of the pieces of information required. Others also felt the need to protect the secrecy around their shrines and therefore would not allow me into their “holies”. Those belonging to this category have been identified as the conservative illiterate medicine men in the society. Some of them were, however, ready to assist me in my findings, considering the fact that I am a citizen of Goviefe-Todzi. I had to draw some of the artifacts since I could not gain access to photograph them because the medicine men did not allow that.
Description: A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy in African Art History, 1992
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/3205
Appears in Collections:College of Arts and Social Sciences

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