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Title:Demographic characteristics associated with Isinuka traditional spa near Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa
Author:Jumbam, Ndze Denis
Periodical:Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Geographic term:South Africa
Subject:traditional medicine
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC126067
Abstract:Curortology - the science of natural therapy that combines the effects of climate, water and mud treatment and other forms of traditional healing practices - is enjoying a phenomenal comeback. Behind the re-emergence of curortology lies the current popular revolt against synthetic products and the demand for more natural ways of treatment. In its current form, curortology has evolved to encompass holiday spas, day spas, hotel spas, all of which are seen as European. At the same time, indigenous African approaches, though widespread, have not evolved and have largely remained underdeveloped and undocumented. This has far-reaching economic consequences, as exemplified by the traditional spa at Isinuka, 20 km from Port St. Johns, in the Transkei region of South Africa. Though in existence for hundreds of years, this spa has little infrastructure and remains very poor. This study investigates the demographic characteristics of the Isinuka traditional healing spa. The requested demographic information included age, ethnic group, marital status, level of education, gender, monthly income, occupation, frequency and type of treatment. It was found that the Isinuka site is frequented by local Africans from different walks of life. The majority of visitors are single and between the ages of 21 and 40, indicating a young population concerned about health and well-being. The current off-sales of Isinuka clay are about R7,00 per bag of approximately 2kg, while retail price of cleansing mud masks in pharmacies reaches R16,00 per 25g packet. Monthly returns from Isinuka sales range from only R350,00 to R500,00. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Isinuka and locals from Port St. Johns, and villages and towns beyond, revere this healing system as holistic and handed down by their ancestors. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]