Ancient Wisdom and Holistic Health

Nelson Mandela University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Ancient Wisdom and Holistic Health

  • Host University

    Nelson Mandela University

  • Location

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  • Area of Study

    African Studies, Field Component, Health Science, Philosophy

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    The era of the “New Age” has introduced a holistic understanding of the whole person in relation to their illness and well-being, through a variety of philosophically diverse alternative approaches to health and healing. There is reason to believe that the underlying tenets of these therapies may also be contextualized with traditional African cultural systems and practices.

    South Africa is a country with very many cultures, each with their own beliefs and practices. This programme will contextualize the notion of holism and holistic health from the perspective of some of the cultures present within Africa and South Africa focusing on historical and contemporary practices.

    The presentation of the programme is based on a highly interactive mode of delivery. Opportunity will be given for discussion and debate. Lectures will be supplemented with team work, the use of multi- media, and strategic visits that will afford students an opportunity to engage with the content in a practical way. 

    Incorporated in the programme are also visits that will immerse students into South Africa’s rich cultural and wildlife heritage.


    On completion of this programme students will:

    • Obtain an understanding of the concept and philispphical underpinnings of holistic healing and holism pertaining to “New Age” thinking in the pursuit of health and well-being;
    • Become familiar with traditional African, Asian and Western cultural systems of healing;
    • Be conversant with alternative “New Age” approaches in treatments and the promotion of health and well-being through a broad holistic understanding of “Energy Healing” and the integral relationship between mind, body and spirit through art and music therapies;
    • Discern whether “New Age alternative methodologies may be aligned with traditional African healing systems (this in itself poses a valid research question).


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.