n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Indigenous Knowledge Systems : striking a balance

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



Most notions of Indigenous Knowledge Systems would "contrast it with the knowledge generated within the international system of universities, research institutes and private firms" (Nuffic). Thus, in general, knowledge generated at ivy league institutions in the developed countries is unquestionably thought of as 'good' for any human endeavour, including those indulged in by 'local communities in developing countries'. The paper first challenges these notions of IKS and, secondly, contrasts them with the environmental degradation and other destructive activities based on our internationally generated knowledges. The paper probes the uneven or selective application of intellectual property rights when the (cultural) knowledge, generated by people from developing countries is at stake. In justifying our call for a more balanced view of the impact of IKS and knowledge gener-ated within the international system, several examples are given of the application of international knowledge by local communities in their daily lives. It is, therefore, claimed that some of the characteristics of indigenous knowledge, as proclaimed by some authors, reveal a number of myths about indigenous knowledge.

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