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Tshwane University of Technology (2012)

Methods of indigenous knowledge preservation in South Africa.

Boikhutso, Doreen Nanky

Titre : Methods of indigenous knowledge preservation in South Africa.

Auteur : Boikhutso, Doreen Nanky

Université de soutenance : Tshwane University of Technology

Grade : Magister Technologiae : Comparative Local Development. 2012

Indigenous knowledge is the systematic body of knowledge acquired by local people through accumulation of formal and informal experiences, as well as intimate understanding of the environment in a given culture. This study was aimed at reviewing the current indigenous knowledge systems in South Africa, with particular emphasis on its preservation and as a tool for development. The study made use of a desktop research approach. The social theory of Emile Durkheim social theory and the ex-situ approach guided the study in describing that indigenous knowledge promotes solidarity within the local communities as a result it is essential to store and document it. The findings reveal that indigenous knowledge is a vital basis for decision-making that pertains to food security, education, natural resources management, human, animal and environmental health and other important activities at local and national levels. The application of indigenous knowledge in the agricultural, health, cultural and engineering sub-sectors of South Africa is also discussed. In South Africa, museums, libraries and laboratories have been identified as mediums for indigenous knowledge preservation. Although South Africa has a national policy on indigenous knowledge, the focus is more on intellectual property rights rather than on documentation and preservation of indigenous knowledge. The challenges in managing and preserving indigenous knowledge in South Africa include the lack of qualified taxonomists, the lack of proper research co-ordination and the exploitative nature of multinational companies and selfishness of individuals. This study provides some recommendations for effective preservation of indigenous knowledge in South Africa. It also provides an overview of indigenous knowledge in the country, with particular emphasis on its preservation.


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