n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Preservation of knowledge in traditional medical practices through information communication technology : a case study in South Africa




Traditional medicine is a vital source of primary health care to many South Africans and it is provided by traditional medicine practitioners (TMPs) in South Africa. The preservation of practices and methods used by TMPs in South Africa has become a cause of concern to the health care environment as these TMPs die or leave the country. The study investigated how knowledge of traditional medicine practitioners can be transferred and preserved for future use in South Africa. A case study approach was used. Participants were selected from a population group of TMPs. Semi-structured, open-ended interview questions were used to gather evidence from the participants regarding their methods of diagnosis and treatment, acquisition of skills as TMPs, and sharing their knowledge with others. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded. The findings revealed that TMPs base their diagnosis of ill people on their belief system and use plants as remedies for treatment. Skills and sharing of knowledge are acquired from close relatives and through verbal means. The results from the study led to a proposal of an ICT database framework to collate all scientific knowledge on traditional medicinal plants and practices of TMPs.


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