Traditional healers in Swaziland are regarded as physicians, prophets, priests, herbalists and diviners, which places a great responsibility upon them.
Approximately 80% of the Swazi Nation consult them and there are both male and female traditional healers.
The "Inyanga" inherits his skills from his grandfather and father. His profession is dominated by men and the "Inyanga" holds a senior place in Swazi society.
The Inyanga (a medical and pharmaceutical specialist in modern terms) possesses the bone throwing skill ("kushaya ematsambo") used to determine the cause of the sickness.
His main function is divination, which may be effected by throwing the bones. After several throws when the bones fall into different patterns, the "Inyanga" will scrutinize them and then spell out a clear message in lyrical siSwati.
The "Sangoma" is a traditional healer who has been "called" to the profession.
Generally practiced by women, the "Sangoma" is consulted to alleviate physical and mental problems, to attend various ceremonies and to act as a counselor. The Sangoma is a traditional diviner chosen by the ancestors of that particular family.
The training of the Sangoma is called "kwetfwasa". At the end of the training, a graduation ceremony takes place where all the local sangoma come together for feasting and dancing. The diviner is consulted for various reasons, such the cause of sickness or even death. His diagnosis is based on "kubhula", a process of communication, through trance, with the natural super-powers.
When divining, the "Sangoma" relies traditionally upon spirit possession. Both the "Inyanga" and the "Sangoma" are herbalists and most Swazis consult them for varying reasons.