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Linking life orientation and indigenous knowledge education in South Africa: lessons learnt from literature

Tonderai Manyau
Annelize Cronje
Mamolahluwa Amelia Mokoena


In spite of the worldwide trend to integrate indigenous knowledge (IK) in education disciplines and life orientation (LO) in education, South Africa is void of literature on IK and LO integration. This article investigated (1) the conceptual meanings of IK, LO and integration; (2) the dominant theory applicable during IK integration; (3) the main themes emerging from LO, IK and integration literature published in South Africa and abroad between 2000 to 2017; and (4) the lessons learnt to foreground IK and LO integration in South Africa. A systematic content analysis was done using ATLAS.ti version 8 (2015) to determine the themes, codes, co-occurrences, matching themes and networks grounded in the literature. Both inductive and deductive text analysis was done to identify, develop and consolidate the constructs and propositions obtained in the study. Broad themes identified and discussed were related to (1) the nature of LO, policies, content, challenges and teaching strategies; (2) the meaning of IK; (3) the philosophical differences of IK and LO, strengths and weaknesses of IK and LO, methods and partnerships and politics-scales-laws and policies. Considering the identified missing links in LO education, integrating IK and LO will strengthen the dual education processes in South Africa.

Keywords: Life orientation, indigenous knowledge, integration, teaching strategies, challenges in LO