Influence of Shona beliefs in understanding illness: Implications for indigenous social work practice in Zimbabwe

06 Nov 2019

For most traditional African communities, religion is life and life is religion. Almost every event in life is explained within the purview of religion. This qualitative study used the Afrocentric methodology in an effort to understand the influence of Shona traditional religion in understanding illness. In line with the canons of Afrocentrism, the study targeted all the members of Chiweshe communal lands in Zimbabwe who subscribe to African traditional religion. Data were collected through unstructured one-onone interviews, family interviews and focus group discussions. It was found that for the Shona people of Zimbabwe who subscribe to African traditional religion, there is always a spiritual hand in the causation of illness. The study also established that most methods used in managing illness among the Shona people are inspired by the spirit world. Results of the study have a strong bearing on indigenous social work practice in Africa and people of African ancestry in the African diaspora. Culturally competent social workers ought to understand the beliefs and practices of African traditional religions as these have an impact on their clientele.