BUNDU DOCTOR by Jonathan Whitby


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Doctor Whitby, a Government Medical Officer in the bundu (Zulu for ""remote"") regions of Southwest Africa, describes his experiences in a refreshingly unembellished manner. Without romanticizing adventure or preaching the problems of primitive Africa, the memoirs are simply a factual log of a devoted and efficient medical servant. In isolated towns of the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, disease and ignorance are coupled with more insurmountable foes: the supremacy of the witch doctor and his superstitious cult, the devotion to dagga smoking (marijuana), and the total inability to accept minimal conditions of hygiene and medical common sense. The virtues and defects of the native African character--tradition, community feeling, laziness, extreme materialism--continually emerge in the contact between the doctor and his often recalcitrant patients. Reform, Dr. Whitby emphasizes, can only come from the Africans themselves, external imposition to no avail. Neither the style nor the standpoint gives this journal its worth, but its material--the wealth of mystery and paradox begging a solution in primitive Africa--adds another personal account to factual Africana.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1962
Publisher: Roy