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Supporting an unsung hero – Karoo-Biking backs local traditional healer

02/2005
Mkhuseli Zita is a very important person. He is a 41 year old traditional healer who works from a humble home in a township called Imizamo Yethu, which means “Through the Struggle” in Xhosa. Mkhuseli acquired his knowledge on the healing power of herbs and other traditional remedies the time-honoured way, from his forefathers who also put him through strict tests over many years before granting him the title of traditional healer. His skills are today put to good use in this informal settlement which is made up of thousands of flimsy shacks, many without electricity or ablution facilities and which, is tucked-away behind the picturesque fishing village of Hout Bay. You see, more than a quarter of the 16,000 residents of Imizamo Yethu are suffering from HIV, AIDS and opportunistic infections. Mkhuseli Zita provides them with the much-needed advice and the herbal remedies required to keep them healthy, living longer and leading more productive lives.

Pins


Mkhuseli uses his spare time making the beautifully beaded pins pictured here, by hand. His favourite design is that of a little red ribbon on a white background above the unmistakable South African flag. According to Mkhuseli, the use of colours, specifically white, is used to symbolise hope: hope for all sufferers and hope for his country. For a nominal fee, Mkhuseli sells these pins to hawkers who then mark-them-up and re-sell them for inflated prices to tourists at places like flea markets. He uses the little money he gets from the hawkers as additional income to keep his herbal cabinet as fully stocked as possible and to treat his family to a hearty meal once in a while.

In recognition of Mkhuseli’s efforts and commitment to his community, Karoo-Biking provides each of its touring guests with one of his pins, which it buys directly from Mkhuseli for a fair market price.

Karoo-Biking will gladly incorporate a trip to visit people like Mkhuseli into the tour, to see some of the other wonderful things South Africa’s healing hands are capable of crafting. We will also gladly arrange for specific handcrafted items to be couriered to you. Simply send us a mail with your requests.