Muthi traders on the Witwatersrand, South Africa - An urban mosaic

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The Witwatersrand is an extensively urbanised complex in Gauteng, South Africa. The complex is divided into three regions, namely the East Rand, Johannesburg and West Rand. In February 1994, prior to the democratic elections, a study of the trade in traditional herbal medicines in the region was initiated. Before the survey of the plant species could commence the regional distribution of the herb-traders and also their ethnicity and gender was established in order to select traders for the study that were proportionately representative of the herb-traders actually present. Using municipal trade licence records, telephone directories and personal communications the nature of the 'urban mosaic' of herb-traders was established. There were approximately 244 herb-traders in 1994, 70% of whom were located in Johannesburg, 20% in the East Rand and 10% in the West Rand. In addition, 52% of the traders were Black followed by Indian (25%). White (16%) and Coloured (1%). Since the elections the pattern of the mosaic has visibly altered to reflect the current pattern of South Africa's demography more accurately.




Williams, V. L., Balkwill, K., & Witkowski, E. T. F. (1997). Muthi traders on the Witwatersrand, South Africa - An urban mosaic. South African Journal of Botany, 63(6), 378–381.

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