Repository logo

The management of indigenous knowledge (IK) in museums : a case study of Pietermaritzburg.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of the study was to examine the management of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in museums: a case study of Pietermaritzburg. The study investigated the strategies used by museums in Pietermaritzburg to collect and preserve indigenous knowledge (IK) for future use. Indigenous knowledge is often seen as achievements of the past, to be conserved in the present because they are becoming extinct under the impact of modern knowledge. Without such management, knowledge is vulnerable to change or, worse still, it could be lost. Indigenous knowledge may be defined as body of knowledge belonging to communities or ethnic groups, shaped by their culture, traditions, and ways of life (Moahi, 2005:77). An interpretivist approach was adopted for this study. The reason for this was that the researcher sought the perspectives of the participants on their management of IK within their institutions. The qualitative approach with which interpretivism is associated, therefore, was considered the appropriate approach to achieving this. The study population consisted of directors of the museums, managers, curators, researchers, collection officers, museums practitioners, information managers and the librarians. In this study observation and interviews were used as data-collection tools. Tables were created to interpret the data using Microsoft Word. The analysis of the findings revealed that the four institutions have the effective management of IK as a priority, and that they understand its value and importance. It was revealed that the four institutions use tape recorders, video cameras, and digital cameras to record IK. The results also showed that they are faced with numerous challenges when collecting IK. These include the difficulties in knowing who the IK holders are, where they are located, together with poor recognition of IK in the communities concerned. Recommendations were made based on the findings of the study; and suggestions for further research were put forward.


Master of Information Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2017.