The Herbalist (UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, Uganda)

The Herbalist (UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, Uganda)


We call it olubilizi. It is used for someone who has a snake bite You dig the roots of this tree and when we have no time to prepare it,
you just give it to chew, and in no time the poison goes away This herb is called Mavivigamakulu, we use it for someone who feels dizziness The second purpose is for women having complications
while giving birth, when the placenta remains inside we prepare it and the one who gives
the medicine stands behind and after drinking it and smearing what is left,
within 30 minutes the placenta will come out I have made this garden around my place because
some of these herbs are very difficult to find in this area Those rare herbs I plant them here But some plants refuse to grow here so we travel to other districts
like Kamuli, Bugabula and Bisiki This herb is called Ebombo when men come to an age of sixty
they can get some complications with the urinary system I will dry this herb and give the medicine mixed with hot tea
to someone with this kind of complication My father used to tell me that my great grandfather
was a great healer in his time Whenever he used to go and heal people, he would come back
with over thirty goats as gifts from these people My first experience came when I was driving a vehicle,
and I suddenly saw darkness in my eyes Once I was driving a bus, and when I came across the bridge
I almost knocked the bridge and caused an accident I was going to kill people,
so immediately I stopped the bus I asked people about what happened to me, and
one person said that it was the spirit of my great grandfather This friend told me that it was an ancestral ghost
that wanted me to come home and continue the work of healing Then my great grandfather started to come in my dreams He told me to dig up a certain tree,
so in the morning I went there I found the tree and was wondering if I will be able
to heal the people with it, and I succeeded When you cut the trunk of the Kabaka anjagala tree,
you smear it When someone gets into a conflict with his boss at work,
he takes a bath with this medicine then smears it on the face and then his boss will come and be very kind to him.
This is why this plant is also called “The King likes me” For me herbal healing is still very powerful, I get an average of ten patients a day I heard a story from the people, who had a brother who
was mad and lost for a long time and then Mr George prepared the herbs,
and the brother finally came back healthy I saw that their brother came back,
and I believe the same will happen to my brother I have given medicine for his brother for fifteen days after one of his brothers will report to me,
and tell me if the person has recovered This is the shrine housing the spirits.
I come here for particular cases Some patients have special cases for which they need
to come to the shrine of the spirits This patient for example is posessed with spirits My great grandfather used to do the same
work that I am doing today And now he uses me to do the same work
that he was doing in the past We use costumes healers wore in the past,
and horns of certain sacrificed animals These are gifts brought by certain patients that were healed Sometimes I mix several herbs with the queen ant
which is inside of here we will put it in the fire and burn it untill it becomes ashes we mix it with other herbs and when applied on small cuts,
a person will have great luck or gain a promotion Whenever we add ashes of a queen ant or other insects,
they will increase the power of the other herbs My son is my apprentice. He started as a healer recently,
and has done good things for society My son completed his education up to Senior 1 But one day he became disturbed by clan spirits At that age I used to feel intense headaches,
and I was never at peace I could run away, climb on trees
and even on the roof of houses I had many problems,
I was suffering from cold and was getting thin Spirits were drinking all my blood and
all life juices from my body When healers releaved me from the spirits,
they cut my finger nails and put them inside this horn they put very powerful herbs inside the horn,
and also kept the disturbing spirit inside This is my encyclopedia,
where I write about my dreams If I dream of a certain plant,
I will write it down here To be a good herbalist,
you should be very social to your patients You have to show them that you are
doing this for their own good also you cannot be too expensive,
because some patients are very poor and whoever comes to you,
you should take him as a brother or a sister I believe that from the beginning of times, long
before the white man arrived, we had our natural healing much later we were introduced to the religion of the west.
But I also go to church and pray This was the original treatment used
all over Africa, even before the coming of religions Religion did not come to cancel what already existed,
but to complement it I also believe that it was the power of God who
created these plants, and gave them the power to heal So whenever I use these plants, I always
remember that it is God who gave them the power to heal

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