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Abstract

The article surveys half a century of historical writing on South African medicine, which is defined widely to include discussion of health care professions, public health, hospitals and asylums, and indigenous medicine as well as the cross-overs and hybridisation between biomedicine and indigenous medicine. A rapidly growing historiography has been influenced both by general literature in the history of medicine as well as by the more specific context of South Africa. Here the colonial and post-colonial pasts shape the present to an unusual extent and the legacy both of apartheid and of an ongoing democratic transformation impact on the historian's choice of subject.