Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - latest Issue
Volume 15, Issue 2, 2016
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp v –xii (2016)More Less
Climate change has become one of the most serious threats on the livelihoods of local populations in the Global South in contemporary times. In spite of their low contribution to climate change on account of their traditional ways of living, local populations of the Global South, particularly in Africa carry on their shoulders a disproportionate burden of the consequence of climate change because their livelihoods revolve around the natural ecosystem and landscape for sustenance (Raygorodetsky 2011). Climate variability has played havoc with the agricultural, fishing, hunting, pastoral and other subsistence activities of local populations. However, scholarly literature on how the indigenous people of the Global South are experiencing, adapting, and mitigating the effects of climate change has been scant. As a consequence, indigenous knowledge about climate change has been shunted to the periphery, particularly in policy-making initiatives and platforms such as the United Nations.
Climate change adaptation and indigenous knowledge : prospecting African union channels for influecing national policySource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 1 –18 (2016)More Less
Climate change and its adverse impacts are real in Africa. While there exists indigenous knowledge and practices which are useful in responding to adverse effects of climate change, an assessment of adaptation processes of selected states in Africa which have embarked on national adaptation plans of action (NAPA) in response to climate change reveals that scanty attention is placed on the relevance of indigenous knowledge. This article explores the potential in regional channels under the African Union (AU) to influence and shape the promotion of indigenous knowledge in climate related adaptation actions at the national level in Africa. Intervention through regional channels can be anchored on institutions and initiatives, namely, the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMGEN) and the Climate for Development in Africa Programme which operates through the three channels of African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), Climate Change and Desertification Unit (CCDU) and Climate for Development in Africa Special Fund (CDSF).
Climate change as a social health determinant and the mitigating indigenous interventions : a hermeneutic literature reviewSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 19 –33 (2016)More Less
As indigenous health scholars we are mindful of the fact that that climate change is experienced differently in North and South countries, although the impacts can be equally severe. Climate change and its consequences can affect the health of impacted communities in different ways. Climate change is currently a dominant topic of global discourse but remains poorly discussed by indigenous communities in the countries of the South. Misunderstandings about climate change, a lack of community-based health data and inadequate knowledge about progress may limit discussions. Indigenous communities who depend on land and water for sustenance are hit harder by the effects of climate change and unpredictable weather events. Unpredictable weather events include droughts, heat waves, floods and storms which can negatively impact the health and well-being of the population. The paper reports the findings of a hermeneutic literature review that unpacks climate change as a social health determinant and discusses mitigating indigenous interventions used to cope with the negative effects of climate change. A hermeneutic circle was used as a framework for the literature review. A contextual interpretive understanding of climate change as a social determinant was created based on all the papers that were reviewed. Each paper that was reviewed influenced each new paper that was read and interpreted; hence the circle. The review yielded three main themes on climate change as a social determinant of health: climate change extant as a syndrome, climate change is an inter and trans-generational problem in sub-Saharan countries and placed-based versus universal health related interventions to address climate change.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 34 –38 (2016)More Less
The effects of climate variability on the harvesting and preservation of Mopani worms are addressed in this review. Human consumption of insects has occurred for millennia and has recently received increased attention in the literature. Given the intimate link between the larvae of lmbrasiabelina (i.e. the Mopani worm), Mopani woodlands and rainfall, climate change and weather variability will likely have negative effects on Mopani worm availability, harvesting, preservation and nutritional status of global communities including sub-Saharan- African (hence forth SSA) countries. The literature review presented in this article covered the period between 1982 and 2015 relating to the search for alternative nutrient food sources which was very prominent during the period of variable climatic conditions. Both qualitative and quantitative literature was read. Intensive data mining of reports and publications using Google search engine was carried out, using the words Mopani worms, harvesting and preservation as key search words. Climate variability effect on the Mopani woodlands, Mopani worms developmental stages, harvesting, preservation, economic development and nutrition are discussed. The recommendations made are that the negative effects of climate variability on Mopani woodlands and Mopani worms need to be mitigated to ensure food security and sustained economic development.
The impacts of climate change on household food security : the case of Mogaladi village in Sekhukhune district, South AfricaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 49 –70 (2016)More Less
This article explored the impacts of climate change on household food security of the rural households in the Mogaladi village of the Sekhukhune district of South Africa. A qualitative methodology employing a case study research design including 40 small-scale farming households was adopted. The data were collected through interactive, participatory research methods such as recorded interviews, focus group discussions, semi-structured questionnaires, transect walks, village resource maps, social maps and seasonal calendars. The data were analysed using interpretational analysis and structural analysis.The results showed that rural women have indigenous knowledge in terms of food gathering and food production activities to ensure household food security. Furthermore, climate change had negatively affected the rainfall patterns in the area, resulting in reduced or no food production and household food insecurity. This has also resulted in decreased availability of wild food resources such as indigenous fruits, vegetables and roots, gathered by rural women to ensure household food security. Most participants (88%) indicated that they were used to depend on agricultural production for their livelihoods. Currently, they rely on other coping strategies such as involvement in petty trading, migration to the cities as well as state government welfare grants to ensure that they have food in their households. It is recommended that the existing climate change policies of the country should consider the indigenous knowledge of rural communities and also trickle down to the villages to assist small-holder farmers who are at the crossroad of food insecurity. Research and extension programmes should be restructured such that they consider the indigenous knowledge of rural communities in a bid to tackle climate change effectively.
Exploring the link between fisher folks' experimental knowledge and climate variability in an urban coastal community InaccraSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 71 –87 (2016)More Less
The article looked at the possibility of integrating indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge in fisheries management under the scenario of climate change and variability in an urban coastal community in Ghana. The objective was to explore fisher folk's perception of temperature and rainfall variability impact on fish catch. Focus group discussions were used for data collection in GaMashie. The results show that the fisher folks, through their experiential knowledge were able to tell that fish from marine artisanal fishing sources was getting depleted and this could be attributed to rising temperatures, rainfall variability and anthropogenic activities. However, information on the use of chemicals in fishing and the use of unprescribed fishing nets may have been acquired from public education. The paper calls for a greater collaboration between the local community, the scientific community and policy makers to develop sustainable adaptation and mitigation strategies that will be beneficial to the community.
'Perceptions of reality'? challenges of climate change to indigenous knowledge systems in Vhembe district municipality, South AfricaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 88 –103 (2016)More Less
Climate change and variability is defined as change attributed directly or indirectly to human and natural circumstances that alters the composition of the global atmosphere. Different regions encounter different challenges and, as a result, climate change is increasingly recognized as a threat to not only development issues, but embodiments of indigenous knowledge systems. In its broadest sense, indigenous knowledge represents knowledge and skills which people in a particular geographic area possess and enables them to get the most out of their environment. That said, there is a humanecology interaction that is mutual and a threat to one entity resultantly affects the other. Climate change therefore, challenges the human-ecology interaction as it diminishes the retention capacity of the environment to humanity. Given the above background, the paper investigated the perceived challenges posed by climate change on human-ecology interaction within indigenous knowledge approach, framed on human security approach of climate change. Data is gathered through the use of interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussion and literature on the subject matter. Through the use of predominantly qualitative data and less of quantitative data analysis techniques, the study found that climate change is highly perceived as a real threat to indigenous knowledge systems, in particular those directly aligned to the environment. Unless there is drastic community lead interventionist approach to saving the environment, the perceived knowledge possessed in relation to the environment, will diminish, disappear and then die a natural death.
Indigenous knowledge and social work in the context of climate change and older persons in rural areasAuthor Allucia Lulu ShokaneSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 105 –122 (2016)More Less
Climate change poses a serious threat to the older persons in rural community of Ga-Sekororo, where coping, mitigation and adaptive capacity remain limited. The study adopts a resilience theory to understand indigenous knowledge and how the older persons cope with the risks associated with climate change, how it affects them and others in their community. Social work is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the vulnerable population affected by climate change. The researcher applied a qualitative exploratory research design to explore the indigenous knowledge strategies of people in rural areas towards climate change for an integrated environmental sustainability. A purposive sampling technique was used to select 20 Black African older persons between the ages of 60 and BO years old who reside in rural areas of the Ga-Sekororo community.Individual stories and focus group discussions were employed to collect qualitative data, which was narratively analysed. The findings of the research indicates that the older person in rural areas suffer high rates of poverty, inequality and climate change vulnerability. The findings reveal that indigenous knowledge systems can be applied to mitigate the impacts of climate change in rural areas. Recommendations for future research are made on how social workers and social scientists can contribute to indigenous knowledge and working towards environmental sustainability.
Local knowledge, perception and attitudes about water hyacinth among communities adjacent to Shagashe river and lake Mutirikwi, Masvingo, ZimbabweSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 123 –138 (2016)More Less
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a major issue in today's aquatic ecosystems, is perceived as a global threat to water bodies due to challenges attributed to its prolific growth habit. This study was carried out in a semi-arid area of Zimbabwe, to determine farmers' local knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about water hyacinth. A sample of 150 respondents, selected randomly from three wards around Lake Mutirikwi, was used to extract data using questionnaires and interviews. The results showed that there was an association between knowledge of water hyacinth and the gender of the farmer, with knowledge levels of 86.7% and 56.7% for males and females, respectively. Farmer's level of education had no effect on the knowledge of water hyacinth. Although there were mixed perceptions on water hyacinth trends in water bodies, a large proportion (over 75%) perceived an increase in water hyacinth trends. The major reason for perceived increases in water hyacinth was poor sewage treatment (61.4%). Utilisation by grazing cattle (73%) and frequent harvesting by fishing cooperatives (65%) were perceived to be major contributors to the decline in water hyacinth. Attitudes towards water hyacinth varied across farmers of different cattle herd sizes, with those having small herds disliking the plant (60%). It is recommended that local communities need to be integrated in harnessing water hyacinth in the face of climate change. Scientific analyses of water hyacinth as a local fodder innovation need to be considered in future research.
Indigenous knowledge practices as mechanism for flood management and disaster risk reduction : the case of the Lozi people of ZambiaAuthor Nande NeetaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 140 –150 (2016)More Less
This paper's aim is to propose a strategy that incorporates indigenous knowledge systems for rural South Africa in mitigating the impact associated with climate change and more specifically, disasters like flooding. As such, this paper is built on the experiences of the Barotse floodplain people of Western Zambia, on the Zambezi River. The Lozi's indigenous knowledge practices through their traditional and institutional arrangements form a backdrop to floodplain mitigation through adhering to the information, knowledge and practices that have stood the test of time. But it is noteworthy that the post-independence Zambian government's centralised management control of the Bulozi ecosystem has compromised the floodplain socio-economic system. This has resulted in the ecosystem being open to abuse and exploitation. The paper is developed through a literature review of a qualitative case study highlighting the role of indigenous knowledge practices for disaster risk reduction in the mitigation of vulnerability to climate change and flooding in the Barotse plain. The emphasis is on the recognition of the relationship between the ecosystem and the local people for flood management and risk reduction as the separation of the entwined entities, leads to a dysfunctional link in the system of operation. Hence the paper recommends the incorporation of the indigenous knowledge system in development planning initiatives as leitmotif for community resilience to climate change and flood management risk reduction in South Africa.
Rural perspectives, challenges and strategies of climate change amongst small-holder farmers in Mopani district of Limpopo provinceSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 151 –174 (2016)More Less
Climate change is expected to have serious environmental, economic, and social impacts on rural farmers of Mopani District of Limpopo Province, wherein their livelihoods depend on the use of natural resources are likely to bear the brunt of its adverse impacts. Rural areas are also confronted by issues like poverty, environmental degradation, natural resources depletion, shrinking water resources; desertification and climate change. The study was aimed at exploring indigenous ecological knowledge on climate and analyses how rural small-holder farmers in Mopani District perceive and react to climatic variations. The perception of the rural community facing climate change was explored through a cross-sectional design where a total of 200 households were selected randomly from four villages of Muyexe, Thomo, Ga-Mogoboya, and NwaDzekudzeku of Mopani District. Data were collected through a semi-structured questionnaire. This was complemented by focus group discussions and keyinformant interviews. Out of 200 participants, about 90% reported that the heat intensity has increased significantly during summer over the last fifteen years. A substantial number of participants (88%) indicated that seasonal variability is prevalent as instead of raining in summer, it rains in winter. Again, a majority of the participants (92%) said that there is decline in rainfall during rainy season. When it comes to the negative implications of climate change on ecosystems, agriculture and health, most of the respondents had noticeable understanding in this connection. It is concluded that rural people should be engaged on climatic variations to better understand their reactions and strategies. Also, adaptation strategies should initially focus on factors that rural people already considered I imperative. It is further shown that indigenous ecological knowledge, and assessment of rural concerns and needs, affords concrete discernments for the development and promotion of rural appropriate adaptation strategies. These insights offer a foundation for further engagement.
The impact of climate change on the availability and consumption of indigenous vegetables in Limpopo province, South AfricaAuthor Sejabaledi A. RankoanaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 175 –186 (2016)More Less
Climate change threatens the livelihood of rural communities that depend on natural resources for food. Many people in developing countries living in the rural areas depend on indigenous food resources which in years are scarce and in poor supply as a result of marginal and erratic rainfall, low soil and ambient temperatures below the minimum temperature. Consumption of indigenous vegetables is among the indigenous livelihood patterns that are declining due to erratic rainfall patterns, excessive heat and persistent drought. The present study examined the implications of climate change on the availability and consumption of indigenous vegetables in Dikgale community in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Focus group discussions with a sample of 100 informants revealed awareness of change in climatic conditions in the form of erratic rainfall patterns and excessive heat. The implications of this change have led to the scarcity of indigenous vegetables and their rare consumption.
Insights into the potential of indigenous rain making practices in combating the negative effects of climate change in Chimanimani district of ZimbabweSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 187 –204 (2016)More Less
Foreign and western modernity continue to influence indigenous knowledge in Africa many decades after the struggle against colonization was won. For example, cloud seeding is a technology commonly used for rain making. However, in Zimbabwe those who believe in western science look down upon renowned traditional rain makers. Considering the fact that climate change causes water and food insecurity, there is need to build an understanding of how indigenous and scientific knowledge systems can be integrated to combat this problem. Thus, an exploratory study was conducted in Chimanimani District of Zimbabwe focusing on this theme. A semi-structured interview guide was used to facilitate conversations with a judgmental sample of five Shona-speaking rain makers and thirteen community members who predominantly were more than 70 years old. These were regarded as key informants. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data. The respondents lamented the erosion of the rain making tradition,which they argued had helped conserve flora and fauna for centuries. This was attributed to the failure of co-existence of scientific and indigenous knowledge, religious orientations, political interference, poor environmental management and general decay in human factor. It is concluded that the suggestions that the rain makers made on the integration of scientific and indigenous knowledge to combat the negative effects of climate change on water and food security be tested.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 205 –216 (2016)More Less
Language is a tool that influences our behavior, either positively or otherwise. The impact of an issue, such as climate change, hence is related directly to the words employed in narrating the issue. Choosing the appropriate lexicon and their structural arrangement should therefore merit attention if one desires a particular effect and subsequent action, when climatic conditions are being discussed. Difficulties in selecting words and phrases to accurately reflect our sentiments are compounded by various factors, for example, interlocutors' multiple-language background. Multi-lingual interlocutors interacting may miscommunicate information concerning any topic, mainly because of differences in utterance construction and the semantic value of words used in the discourses of different languages. In this case, the focus of this article is on discourse related to climate issues. This is a reflective paper which reports on an analysis of Tshivenda and English expressions used in narrations on climate and its resultant impact on peoples' behavior. The discussions focused on the connotations inherent in selected words and expressions, in Tshivenda and English, usually associated with the weather, to determine whether their full semantic values are captured in the two languages. The analysis demonstrated that there is semantic under-determination of some words and expressions used by interlocutors from English and Tshivenda backgrounds. This arises from the connotations attached to words because of the interlocutors' variables,such as geographical context, ethnic background, status and language, among others. It is recommended that data from both indigenous and geo-scientific sources should be repackaged to capture the gravity of the phenomenon. This will ensure interlocutors' common understanding, accommodation, composite remediation strategies and finally, uniformity in actions in response to the effects of climate change.
Author Tendai ChariSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 15, pp 217 –232 (2016)More Less
The mass media have played a significant role in shaping public opinion and perceptions about climate change. However, the phenomenon is still misunderstood, particularly in Africa where an information lacuna about the science of climate change persists, owing to among other factors, socio-cultural, economic and structural factors. As a consequence, citizen engagement with climate change discourse is very minimal and awareness about its causes and risks remain marginal. Numerous studies have questioned the efficacy and professional ethos of the mass media in communicating climate change, with some scholars accusing the mass media of mis-communicating, mis-reporting, distortions or falsification (Henderson-Sellers 1998; Boykoff and Boykoff 2004; Antilla 2005) of climate change issues, thereby imposing barriers on the audience's ability to understand climate change. This article is a theoretical treatise on the efficacy of big media such as television, radio and newspapers in communicating climate change in the African context. The article contributes to the existing body of knowledge and debates on climate change through an interrogation of the epistemological assumptions embedded in contemporary climate change communication strategies epitomized by the obsession with 'big media' and how such assumptions militate against consensual participation and understanding of the climate change discourse. It advocates the integration of mass media with indigenous media in generating public engagement on climate change issues. The article uses biomass burning as a lens for canvassing the incorporation of indigenous media in existing strategies of communicating climate change. It argues that the communication of climate change science in Africa could be better served by integrating indigenous communication systems that embrace existing local knowledge in order to create more awareness and knowledge about climate change issues in Africa. As a component of indigenous Knowledge Systems (/KS), indigenous communication media have distinct characteristics that resonate with the lived experiences of the majority of African people and therefore more effective in communicating complex issues such as climate change.