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University of South Africa (2017)

Acquisition, transfer and preservation of indigenous knowledge by traditional healers in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

Maluleka, Jan Resenga

Titre : Acquisition, transfer and preservation of indigenous knowledge by traditional healers in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

Auteur : Maluleka, Jan Resenga

Université de soutenance : University of South Africa

Grade : Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in Information Science 2017

Résumé
Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is in danger of being obliterated due to a number of factors, such as the lack of interest from younger generations, low life expectancy where people die before transferring it to the next generation and it not being documented. This is due to the fact that IK, by its very nature, is generally known to have been passed on from generation to generation through oral tradition. This qualitative study utilised the organisational knowledge conversion theory to investigate the acquisition, transfer and preservation of IK by traditional healers in the Limpopo Province of South Africa with the view to develop a framework to provide understanding on how IK is acquired, transferred and preserved by traditional healers. The study adopted hermeneutic phenomenology research method and utilised snowball sampling technique to determine the population of this study which consisted of indigenous healers from the Limpopo Province. Data were collected through interviews with traditional healers, observations, as well as document analysis. Data were analysed and interpreted thematically according to the objectives of the study. The study revealed that knowledge of traditional healing is mainly acquired through observations, imitations, following orders and performing tasks practically. In addition to that, collaboration was highlighted as one of the driving forces behind effective transfer and acquisition of knowledge among healers. The major finding to this study was that ancestors are believed to be the ones preserving this knowledge of traditional healing and they pass it down to the chosen ones through dreams, visions and so on. The study concludes that traditional healers also preserved their knowledge orally and commonly shared and acquire knowledge during interactions with other healers. Furthermore, traditional healing is marginalised and not properly regulated in South Africa. It is recommended that key stakeholders should play an active role in ensuring that traditional healing is incorporated into the country’s healthcare system. This way traditional healing can help reduce a heavy burden on public health sector in terms of treating patients. A further study on integrating traditional healing into mainstream healthcare system in South Africa is recommended.

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