Illnesses such as Rigoni, an infant illness, are understood and interpreted by traditional health practitioners and indigenous knowledge holders in an African, cultural traditional manner within particular communities. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the meaning and interpretation of Rigoni by traditional health practitioners in Vhembe district in Limpopo province of South Africa.
The study used grounded theory methodology to explore and describe the meaning and interpretation of indigenous illness Rigoni by traditional health practitioners and indigenous knowledge holders in Vhembe district. Data was analysed using Charmaz (2014)’s open and focused coding. The collected data through observation and digital recording were transcribed verbatim, themes categorised and coded accordingly.
The study reported that indigenous knowledge of traditional health practitioners and indigenous knowledge holders was utilized to understand and interpret illnesses such as Rigoni within Vhembe district. The meaning and originality of Rigoni as well as the indigenous interpretation of the illness emerged as the key themes.
The interpretation of indigenous illness such as Rigoni by traditional health practitioners in Vhembe district need consideration to close the gap of identifying illnesses as unknown. The indigenous interpretation of illnesses has to be shared and integrated into the biomedical health practice to minimise infant death from unknown illnesses.
Keywords: infant illness, indigenous interpretation, Rigoni