Having been for some time located,in the border
districts, and there coming into frequent contact
with the natives; I was struck with the fact that
there was a large field for investigation and record of the Medical Folk Lore of the Bantu Tribes; which
was becoming more and more difficult of attainment as
time went on; owing to the fact that the true unsophisticated native was rapidly becoming a thing of
the past, or if one may put it so, becoming contaminated by the advance of civilization. Under the
pressure of Colonial rule, magistrates and missionaries, the native character and ways are changing,
Breeks and petticoats are endowed with positive virtues. They are made steps in the ladder that
tends upwards, and the old fashioned Kaffir is fast
disappearing. Red clay gives way to veneer and
varnish; outward conformity to a kind of civilization knocks off some objectionable/and some quite unobjectionable ways and leaves the inside man as superstitious and as: ignorant as ever.
With a view to the carrying out of this idea, I after considerable study of the works of travellers
and others who had written about these tribes, drew
up a list of questions on the subject. These I had
printed,and sent to a large number of all those likely
to be able to assist me in my investigation; including
missionaries to the tribes, doctors long settled in
native areas, educated natives and a large number of
others, such as some of the. Cape Civil Servants who had
to deal with the aborigine in the early days of European occupation of the country.
The replies to these circulars were in many instances very valuable for my purpose, and the following pages are the result of a very careful sifting of this information, combined with such other facts as I have been able to gather together from an extensive
study of the records available in the matter.
In submitting this study I trust it will meet with
approval and that the matter here brought together for
the first time, may prove of some value as a record of
the "Folk-Lore of the Bantu Tribes".
For convenience sake I have divided my subject into three chief sections:
(1) The Kaffir Doctor
(2) Some observations of interest in the
Folk Lore of the Kaffir.
(3) Native Practices: (a) Medicine;
(c) Midwifery and Gynecology.
The foregoing pages prove to us
that the Kaffir races, as represented by their "Amagqira" possess no mean amount of Knowledge of disease and its treatment, and their extensive use of
herbs shows, in an astonishing degree, the very valuable information which the tribes possess of the
therapeutic actions,and uses of the vegetable Kingdom,
as it exists in those parts of the country which they