In the second program we introduce the names of the Coronavirus and COVID-19. Nikunu asks if this is a lifelong sickness. (This is one of the points of confusion that many Yolngu have.) It’s explained that it’s generally a short sickness of about two weeks. Throughout this time people might be infectious even if they only get a mild sickness. If they’re not sure they should self-isolate for two weeks and it’s explained this becomes necessary as a strategy to stop the virus moving through communities.
Please share with your Yolngu friends and family..
Yolngu Matha language is spoken by the Indigenous peoples of North East Arnhem Land, Australia. Our aim is to deliver accurate and in-depth information on a wide array of subjects to Yolngu in their Original Australian language.
The traditional worldview of Yolŋu means they want in-depth, science-based information in order to understand any new topic. What Yolŋu call the “dhuḏi-dhäwu” – the deep true story. This is the deep true biomedical, zoological story.
Commonly asked Yolŋu questions about COVID-19 include understanding what a virus is, where it comes from (wäŋa), its shape/size/colour (ganda’), and how it is transmitted, reproduces and causes sickness (gakal).
Also in some communities, disease and sickness are thought to be caused by some form of sorcery, spiritual event or sickness country in the same way Europeans did before germs were discovered (for example the word “influenza” has its origins in “influence of the stars”).
Although germ theory is widely known and understood throughout most of mainstream Australia it has never been properly explained to most Yolŋu people.
This full series of videos attempts to answer some of those questions from a Yolŋu worldview using their linguistic construction of knowledge.