An investigation of the acquisition, transfer and preservation of indigenous knowledge by traditional healers in Chibombo district of Zambia.
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Indigenous Knowledge on healing is in danger of diminishing because of modern medical facilities and yet there are inadequate efforts from national and organizational institutions to capture this knowledge. Therefore, this study aimed at investigating the acquisition, transfer and preservation of Indigenous Knowledge by traditional healers in Chibombo District. This was achieved by firstly exploring how traditional healers acquired Indigenous Medical Knowledge. Secondly, by identifying the methods used during IMK transfer. Thirdly, identifying the methods which were used by traditional healers to preserve IMK and fourthly, through investigating the challenges which were associated with acquisition, transfer and preservation of medical knowledge. Using qualitative research method and snowball sampling, primary data were collected from 29 traditional healers and 5 key informants through face-to-face interviews. Findings of the study revealed that traditional healers acquired knowledge of healing through training and ancestral calling. The study also established that the majority of trained healers were females as they were much more willing to be trained than males. Findings on IK transfer revealed that majority of traditional healers transferred IK on healing through demonstration and observation. Findings on knowledge preservation showed that majority of traditional healers were training their family and other interested individuals. Results on challenges during acquisition, transfer and preservation of IK revealed that would-be healers experienced sickness, difficulties in mastering what was demonstrated and observed, segregation from their known communities and panicking when patients showed no signs of recovering after administering the herbs to them. The need for community leaders in Chibombo district to consider educating the local youths during ceremonial gatherings on the need to acquire and preserve indigenous practices was recommended. Similarly, the aged traditional healers especially those called by the spirits should be encouraged to share the knowledge revealed to them to avoid extinction of such knowledge when they die. This was seen as a way through which unwillingness to learn and share would be reduced. Secondly, it was recommended that collaborative efforts between community leaders and traditional healers to document most of the indigenous medicine and the ailments they healed be strengthened. This was seen as a way through which difficulties in mastering and panicking among the would-be healers reduce. And thirdly, it was recommended that Lenje Cultural Association consider documenting and disseminating information to the local people through showcasing what is available in the Mukuni Culture Village Museum and Library. This was seen as a way through which many youths would be encouraged to appreciate the indigenous values in their culture.
The University of Zambia
SubjectIndigenous knowledge--Traditional medicine
Traditional healers--Indigenous knowledge.
- Education