Beyond Western Medicine: Interrogating Magun As a Cultural and Medical Reality

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:54
Oral Presentation
Aretha ASAKITIKPI, Osun State University, Nigeria
Sickness, disease and healing are elements the human species has sought to find answers to; mainly because they can determine the unfortunate possibility of death. In a number of African cultures, sickness and disease begin with the spiritual leading to a physical manifestation thus healing begins with the spiritual. This is unlike Western beliefs that theorize that the physical manifestations of bacteria and viruses lead to diseases; thus, healing methods only prescribe medicines that deal with the apparent ailment. However, there are some African ailments that cannot fit into Western theories of sickness, disease and healing. One of such is the Yoruba concept of Magun. Magun is based on the theory that a man can lace his woman with Magun if he suspects that she is sexually unfaithful. Magun is spiritually transferred and the female victim is usually unaware. If she has sexual intercourse after the lacing, her sexual partner dies; if she is innocent and does not have sex within the stated timeframe, she dies. Western trained medical practitioners have classified this phenomenon as the mere imaginations of primitive and illiterate Africans and thus both its existence as well as healing methods are considered barbaric. These contentions form the core of the paper. Using Qualitative and descriptive methods, the Nigerian home video titled Magun (Thunderbolt) is analyzed. Through drama Magun (Thunderbolt) presents the complexity of an ailment initiated spiritually and treated through interventions of custodians of the spiritual. The fact that Western trained practitioners did not believe in its existence and contended against it through Western based theories of experimentation to physically prove this; did not mean it was not real. It is hoped that this paper can spur more discourses on the s power relations behind African and Western definitions and theorization of sickness, disease and healing.