Health is often theorized as a dicotomy; a feeling of wellbeing or a feeling of suffering, a body in balance or a body in imbalance, for example. In this paper I discuss the Zulu concept lungisa, which refer to a continuous doing more than a state of being. People use the word when they speak about things they do to handle problems in life, such as disease, quarrels, misfortune etc. The concept does not refer to overcoming, rather to efforts to improve the existence, to make things acceptable for the moment. There are almost always elements of imperfection involved. Lungisa is an effort to get one's body and personality in a state where it could be accepted by yourself and others. it is also a way to stay friends with others, as well as to accumulate some power in relation to others.
In 2004 I lived among some Zulu families in a former homeland in northeastern KwaZulu Natal. I found that people used the concept lungisa when they returned from abroad of from the city to make rituals at the ancestral house in order to connect to their family and to take care of what they previously had neglected. Hylton White (2001) interpret the practice of returning and re-establishing as a situation where "the living have to return again and again to the past and to act as if they were agents of its present, 'completing' what is now seen to have been fractured all along by an absence"- I wish to discuss a theoretical ground for interpreting this constant balancing in another way, as agency more than a dilemma, as a way of being in the world, to be allied with a greater whole, to weave a space but not producing anything tangible (Cavarero 1995).
Hälsa, aktörskap och livsval - dialoger mellan forksningstraditioner. Linköping, Sverige. 12-13 november 2009.