is a term for traditional medicine
in Southern Africa
as far north as Lake Tanganyika
. The word muti is derived from the Zulu
word for tree, of which the root is -thi. African Traditional medicine
makes use of various natural products, many of which are derived from trees. For this reason, medicine generally is known as muti, but it is also applied to formulations used in traditional medical dispensing. In Southern Africa, the word muti is in widespread use in most indigenous African languages, as well as in South African English
where it is sometimes used as a slang word for medicine in general.
Correct form of the word
This noun is of the umu / imi class, consequently the singular (tree) is rendered Umuthi and plural (trees) is Imithi. Since the pronunciation of the initial vowel of this umu / imi class of Zulu noun, is unstressed, the singular Umuthi is sometimes heard as 'Muthi'. The word is rendered as muti due to the historical effects of British Colonial
In colloquial English and Afrikaans the word may be used as per the following example:
- "My doctor gave me some muti for my sore throat"
- "My dokter het vir my muti verskaf vir my seer keel"
Occasions of murder
associated with some traditional cultural
practices, in Southern Africa
are also termed Muti killings
. Muti killings
, more correctly known as medicine murder
are not human sacrifice
in a religious sense, but rather involve the murder of someone in order to excise body parts
for incorporation as ingredients into medicine and concoctions used in witchcraft.
"Muti killings on the rise in KZN" - October 31 2007
"Police find body parts in walls of hair salon" - December 13 2006