n South African Journal of Higher Education - 'Indigenous knowledge', truth and reconciliation in South African higher education : perspectives on higher education

Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article explores some of the key elements or focal areas in the discourse(s) of transformation in South African higher education, most significantly the Africanisation project and indigenous knowledge systems. The debate around <I>indigenous knowledge</I>, which is located within postcolonialist and antidiscrimination discourse, is unfortunately riddled with serious errors, logical and epistemological. While the present article is sympathetic to the basic concerns expressed in this debate, it offers both a critical, philosophical (re)evaluation of the pertinent issues as well as conceptual clarification. Indigenous knowledge is argued to be a misnomer that raises more problems than it can conceivably solve. What its advocates aim for is arguably better achieved by a different approach. Taking into account a recent call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for education in South Africa, this paper proposes an approach that locates the principle of reconciliation within a basic framework of human rights.

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