n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - African indigenous knowledge - an academic and socio-cultural exploration for indigenisation

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



The struggle for valuing endogenous knowledge, decolonising methodologies, liberating education, and indigenising education in Africa is not an easy one. African Indigenous Knowledge and its related technologies continue to play a pivotal role in the development of scientific knowledge, more so in Western societies than among holders of this knowledge. This is due to many international agreements including the Intellectual Property Rights law, the World Trade Organisation, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and so on, which negatively affect local / indigenous communities. <BR>The knowledge base of local communities in the South is undermined by such multilateral and bilateral agreements and Western patent laws. Violation of access to intellectual rights and to the benefit from natural resources is perpetuated by Western scientific explorations. The absence of indigenisation in the South African education system also contributes adversely to this. The 'colonial' science was, therefore, determined by the authoritarian imposition of the metropolitan interest in the 'colonies', something with which our educational system appears to be comfortable. <BR>This paper posits that this 'missionary' science hides the fact of metropolitan exploitation as the motive of colonial scientific activities. Language, curriculum, content and research methodologies still emphasise the western-dominant culture in teaching, the democratic process of ethical negotiation, in which social protagonists hitherto excluded from the political scene cannot fully participate in the education system as yet. The author subscribes to the notion that science education and cultural diversity have little meaning in postcolonial societies. In South Africa, as elsewhere in the South, postcolonial societies are of the opinion that science is taught at the expense of indigenous knowledge, and this elicits charges of epistemological hegemony and cultural imperialism. There is a need therefore to indigenise both education and the socialisation of citizens in a quest for self-determination.

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