Indigenous knowledge of Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) in the Management of rigoni is of paramount importance for the indigenous practitioners by exploring, describing and documenting their practices. There was limited evidence of the indigenous knowledge of Traditional Health Practitioners in the management of rigoni. The indigenous knowledge healing of rigoni is not documented by the THPs and IKHs, as a result there is limited literature on illnesses that are managed by THPs and IKHs. The main aim of the study was to develop a substantive theory that explains and describes childhood illnesses that are categorised by THPs and IKHs and not documented, thus remain unknown in Vhembe District, Limpopo Province of South Africa.
The study was conducted in three sections. The first section dealt with the understanding and meaning of rigoni, the second section focused on exploration and description of the indigenous knowledge of THPs and IKHs in the Management of rigoni and the third section dealt with analysis of the concept “indigenous knowledge (IK) healing of rigoni” with the purpose of developing a substantive grounded theory. Data collection and analysis were concurrently done, where individual, face-to-face interviews were conducted with THPs and IKHs. The findings obtained during the initial and focused coding did not bring out clearly the concepts, thus the concept analysis was sought to assist in the development of the theory. Concept analysis of the concept “Indigenous knowledge healing of rigoni” confirmed the healing practices of rigoni by
THPs and IKHs. Traditional health practitioners and indigenous knowledge holders narrated the healing process of rigoni amongst infants and their mothers, though there was lack of written evidence on the indigenous practices, using tacit knowledge as their work is not documented, but shared orally from generation to generation.
Due to the undocumented indigenous knowledge of THPs and IKHs, Western medical practitioners label illness such as rigoni as “unknown or ill-defined”, as their laboratory tests and autopsy fail to display the results. Traditional health practitioners and indigenous knowledge holders confirmed that they use
various herbal and animal products to comprehensively heal rigoni. The findings also revealed that biomedical practice and indigenous practice does not collaborate for patient care, as the work of THPs and IKHs are considered unscientific by some biomedical health professionals.
From the concept analysis, a theoretical definition of “Indigenous knowledge healing of rigoni” was formulated from the concepts which linked together, and ultimately developed a theory. Further studies need to be conducted to facilitate the laboratory testing of the tissue which THPs and IKHs excise from the maternal vaginal wall as a way of treating rigoni. The healing process of rigoni as performed by THPs and IKHs need to be documented. An Indigenous Knowledge
System on the healing of illness need to be included in the training of health care professionals, and collaboration between the two health care settings to be fast tracked, as the practise of THPs and IKHs is regulated by Traditional Health Practitioners Act (Act no.22 of 2007). The developed grounded theory will be documented for utilisation in the healthcare institutions, nursing colleges and universities curriculum to assist during the teaching of health care professionals on the diverse care of patients from diverse cultures.