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Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

Volume 30, Issue 1/2, 2021

Kudakwashe Chirambwi
Pages 187-207

(A)symmetrical Conflict between Medical Doctors and Traditional and Faith Healers in the Era of Covid-19 in Rural Communities of Zimbabwe

The paper examines the tension in the social construction of pandemic by doctors, traditional healers, and faith-based healers and considers the potential public health implications. Methodologically, the author uses a case study of Mwenezi District in Masvingo Province in Zimbabwe and draws on autoethnographic experiences to observe and analyse local level asymmetric confrontations as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolded. What emerges is how values, beliefs and scientific interpretations are contributing factors to conflict, and more significantly, the deleterious impact it has on mobilizing community action against the pandemic. Research findings reveal how untenable and inconceivable it will be to contain the pandemic without paying appropriate attention to apostolic sects and traditional healers. Interventions have so far ignored this social capital.