States of Mind

Searching for Mental Health in Natal and Zululand, 1868-1918

By Julie Parle

This study of the history of mental illness and its cures in colonial and immediately post-Union Natal and Zululand (South Africa) investigates westernized treatments of insanity at the Natal Government Asylum, as well as less well-known routes back to health via African and Indian modes of healing. Author Julie Parle writes of the amandiki, bands of frenzied women who explained their illness as caused by possession by a male ancestor. She discusses frauds, medicines for hysteria and drunkenness, faith healers of different kinds, and suicide in all communities. Finally, she considers how mental health services became centralized under state control from Pretoria, with important consequences for the future of psychiatry and mental health services in modern South Africa.

350 pages

Publication Date: 7/1/2007
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869140984