Updated 06 December 2013

A victory for traditional healers

Fired from her job at Kievits Kroon estate 6 years ago for taking leave to complete her training to become a traditional healer, the court has ruled that Johanna Mmoledi must get her job back.

We've had some pretty interesting stories land on our desks this week – from the dangers in your drinks (a good one to note with the festive season upon us), the low-down on napping (as in a quick sleep), how to move from one-minute man to legendary lover and the growing trend of gymming in the great outdoors.

I also read a fascinating story on how, in Guam, they dropped 2 000 dead mice – pumped full of Tylenol – on tiny cardboard parachutes onto the island to help eradicate the brown tree snake, an invasive species that has caused millions of dollars in wildlife and commercial losses since it arrived a few decades ago. 

For some reason, the snakes are almost uniquely sensitive to acetaminophen (the generic is paracetemol in South Africa), the active ingredient in the ubiquitous painkiller, Tylenol.

As it happens when browsing the Web, it led us to a new study out of Oslo in Norway which concluded that babies exposed in the womb to long-term paracetamol use by their mothers showed developmental problems as young children. It's a must-read if you're pregnant.

But the one that really got me going is the story on Johanna Mmoledi, fired from Kievits Kroon Estate outside Pretoria in 2007 for leaving her job to complete her training as a traditional healer. 

Johanna, a chef, had presented a sick note from her traditional medical practitioner, but it was rejected by the Estate and they fired her for not returning to work. The Supreme Court of Appeal, however, ruled that Kievits Kroon were completely out of order and have to give her her job back. 

It's a triumph for Johanna and confirms that a sick note from a traditional healer is as legit as one issued by a qualified, western medical doctor.

What do you think? Which of these stories grabs you most and, if it's Johanna's, do you think traditional healers deserve the same professional status as Western medical doctors? Let us know in the comments or send us an e-mail at

Happy reading and if you're on leave already, lucky you! Stay in touch by following us on Twitter and talking to us on Facebook.


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