Traditional Healers and Childhood in Zimbabwe

Pamela Reynolds



Based on the author’s fieldwork among the people of Zezuru, this study focuses on children as clients and as healers in training. In Reynolds’s ethnographic investigation of possession and healing, she pays particular attention to the way healers are identified and authenticated in communities, and how they are socialized in the use of medicinal plants, dreams, and ritual healing practices. Reynolds examines spiritual interpretation and remediation of children’s problems, including women’s roles in these activities, and the Zezuru concepts of trauma, evil, illness, and death. Because this study was undertaken just after the War of Liberation in Zimbabwe, it also documents the devastating effects of the war.


In Traditional Healers and Childhood in Zimbabwe, the South African anthropologist and child development expert Pamela Reynolds has written a fascinating and important account of traditional healing as it relates to children and childhood in Zimbabwe. This lens brings powerful insights to the study of traditional healing practices applied to and through children. - Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University


Dr. Pamela Reynolds has been a Research Fellow at the Universities of Zimbabwe and Cape Town. She is the author of several children’s books.