Original Research

Strategies for documenting and disseminating indigenous knowledge at a South African university

Simiso C. Buthelezi, Dennis Ocholla, Petros Dlamini
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 26, No 1 | a1648 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v26i1.1648 | © 2024 Simiso C. Buthelezi, Dennis Ocholla, Petros Dlamini | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 January 2023 | Published: 25 January 2024

About the author(s)

Simiso C. Buthelezi, Department of Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zululand, Richards Bay, South Africa
Dennis Ocholla, Department of Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zululand, Richards Bay, South Africa
Petros Dlamini, Department of Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zululand, Richards Bay, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Indigenous knowledge (IK) is specific to a community for its economic development. However, the processes involved in the documentation of IK in the university of Zululand are not readily known.

Objective: The study’s aim is to find out the strategies used by the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) for documenting, disseminating and accessing IK.

Method: The study adopted both interpretivist and positivist research paradigms where both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used through a case study of the University of Zululand. The study targeted both academic and non-academic staff members where 23 of them were purposely selected and interviewed. In addition, the quantitative research approach using simple bibliometrics was used to collect data from IK-related theses and dissertations from the UNIZULU Institutional Repository between 2009 and 2019.

Results: The study revealed that many departments and faculties across the University of Zululand were involved in the creation of IK-related content led by the Department of African Languages. The multidisciplinarity of IK in the university was confirmed for further exploitation. The dominant challenges relate to IK sharing, limited facilities, a lack of policy and inadequate partnership among the stakeholders. The creation and documentation of IK by different departments was another challenge.

Conclusion: This study recognises the existence of IK policy in the country but found minimal implementation of the policy at the university. The authors recommend the development of IK policy, increased awareness, mapping and auditing of IK research and teaching, partnership with stakeholders to be included in the university agenda.

Contribution: This study contributes to the current literature and discourse on indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) and their documentation for policy and comparative studies. The appropriateness of using the socialisation, externalisation, combination and internalisation (SECI) model in similar studies is also confirmed.


Keywords

knowledge creation; indigenous knowledge; tacit knowledge; SECI model; information and communication technology; University of Zululand, South Africa

JEL Codes

D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief • Unawareness

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Metrics

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