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South African Journal of Information Management

On-line version ISSN 1560-683X
Print version ISSN 2078-1865


MALULEKA, Jan R.  and  NGOEPE, Mpho. Turning mirrors into windows: Knowledge transfer among indigenous healers in Limpopo province of South Africa. SAJIM (Online) [online]. 2018, vol.20, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 1560-683X.

BACKGROUND: Knowledge transfer is an unavoidable process when it comes to indigenous knowledge especially in Africa, the continent known for its oral tradition. Such knowledge is in danger of being obliterated as a result of a number of factors, including lack of interest from younger generations and low life expectancy whereby knowledgeable people die before transferring it to the next generation as it is mostly not documented. OBJECTIVES: This qualitative study utilised hermeneutic phenomenology guided by the organisational knowledge conversion theory to investigate the transfer of indigenous knowledge by traditional healers in the Limpopo province of South Africa. METHOD: The study utilised a snowball sampling technique to determine the population. Data collected through interviews with traditional healers were augmented with observations done on two healers who were in the middle of their training when this study was conducted, as well as an analysis of records held by some healers. RESULTS: The findings suggest that knowledge of traditional healing is believed to be transferred to the chosen ones through dreams and visions. However, this knowledge seems to be transferred through mentorship and apprenticeship, as well as interactions with other healers. CONCLUSION: It is concluded that transferring knowledge of traditional healing goes beyond just transference; it is embedded as a belief system in many African communities. An in-depth study on the development of a framework to integrate indigenous knowledge of traditional healers into mainstream health system is recommended.

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