The resiliency of Yoruba traditional healing : 1922-1955
This dissertation examines why healing among the Yoruba people remained a successful popular institution in the colonial period between 1922 and 1955. The factors that allowed the Yoruba healing system to flourish were diverse. The Yoruba’s indigenous and colonial political structures provided some outlets for continued healing practices. Additionally, the purely physical perspectives of western medical and religious competitors were unappealing to many Yoruba. Importantly, the Yoruba healers’ systematic and in-depth knowledge of medicinal remedies was attractive to patrons. Furthermore, Yoruba healers’ use of religious tools and/or the expansive use of spirituality reinforced this healing system as holistic, thus keeping the appeal of the system broad. Lastly, healers’ alliances, standards, certifications and publicity thereof bestowed greater credibility upon the system and its practitioners in an increasingly impersonal region. While changes within Yoruba healing are revealed in this study, additional objectives of this work are to: illustrate the first known history of this institution; situate Yoruba healing as a legitimate system; include female healers in this investigation of Yoruba healing; and present a normal view of an ‘alternative’ medicine. The period of 1922 to 1955 is ideal to explore because various aspects that allowed the Yoruba healing system to thrive developed during this time.