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ESARBICA Journal: Journal of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives

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A framework for acquisition, transfer and preservation of knowledge of traditional healing in South Africa: a case of Limpopo province

Jan Resenga Maluleka, Patrick Ngulube

Abstract


This study aimed to investigate the acquisition, transfer and preservation of knowledge of traditional healing in South Africa. Literature suggests that there is little understanding regarding how knowledge of traditional healing in South Africa is managed. This qualitative study utilised hermeneutic phenomenology guided by the organisational knowledge conversion theory to try and understand how knowledge of traditional healing is acquired, transferred and preserved. The study utilised a snowball sampling technique to determine the population. Data collected through interviews with traditional healers were augmented with an analysis of government documents on traditional healing as well as records that are held by traditional healers. The findings suggest that ancestors are the ones in control of knowledge of traditional healing and they decide who should have this knowledge. The experienced healers are the ones responsible for mentoring the would-be healers with the guidance of the ancestors. This knowledge can be preserved through documentation or orally depending on the healer’s preferred method. There was some consensus among scholars that transferring knowledge of traditional healing goes beyond just transference; it is embedded as a belief system in many African communities. The study proposes a framework for the acquisition, transfer and preservation of traditional medical knowledge.




AJOL African Journals Online