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- Volume 8, Issue 2, 2009
Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Volume 8, Issue 2, 2009
Volume 8, Issue 2, 2009
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp V –IX (2009)More Less
Volume 8 of Indilinga : African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems has focussed on the theme : Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and Community Development. Although this volume was initially meant to focus on indigenous health systems, it became difficult to focus solely on this particular theme because indigenous African healing practices favour a holistic interpretation. It covers a wide range of issues ranging from physical, social and spiritual aspects which together lead to individual and community wellness. This position is affirmed by the Committee on Indigenous Health (2002) which states that Indigenous People's concept of Health and survival is both a collective and individual inter-generational continuum encompassing a holistic perspective incorporating four distinct shared dimensions of life, which are the spiritual, the intellectual, the physical and the emotional dimensions. Linking these four fundamental dimensions, health and survival manifests itself on multiple levels where the past, present and future co-exist.
Diagnostic practices of izangoma in Durban, South Africa : indigenous knowledge systems, health, illness and healingAuthor Winifred OganaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 115 –126 (2009)More Less
This article seeks to interrogate the value of divination as a diagnostic tool of izangoma (diviners), who are at the apex of the hierarchy of African traditional healers in South Africa. While some of the divination methods used by izangoma are dismissed as 'unscientific' by sceptics, the techniques cannot be wished away since they are still in demand. Referrals between African and conventional healers are requested on a regular basis, with each set of practitioners recognizing strengths and limitations in handling certain conditions. In the interest of patients who choose to frequent both health care systems, there is need nevertheless, to understand what appears inexplicable in divination. To this end the article will firstly situate African traditional medicine (ATM) in historical perspective concerning its low status pitted against the dominant conventional medicine. Next, the article will delve into the intricacies of the various diagnostic methods applied by izangoma. Thirdly, the article will highlight some of the challenges posed by the diagnostic methods under discussion.
Taile, the traditional healer : a psychologist's view of healing in a Northern Sotho community : indigenous knowledge systems, health, illness and healingAuthor Tholene SodiSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 127 –137 (2009)More Less
This article is based on a study that sought to explore and describe the institution of traditional healing as understood and practiced by one Northern Sotho speaking traditional healer. Using the case study method and purposive sampling approach, one traditional healer was approached and selected to participate in this study. The traditional healer was interviewed using the phenomenological interviewing. The subjective and experiential accounts given by the traditional healer during the interview were analyzed so as to identify central themes that have psychological insights. A further analysis of these central themes suggests that traditional healing is a logical process that can be divided into three phrases, namely : the initial phase, treatment phase and terminal phase. The article is concluded by calling for more studies to investigate this alternative form of health care in view of its great potential in the treatment of mental illness and other aliments in indigenous African communities.
Indigenous African art and healing : forgotten memories, planting memories of tomorrow : indigenous knowledge systems, health, illness and healingAuthor Pitika P. NtuliSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 138 –146 (2009)More Less
This paper seeks to situate art, particularly sculpture, within the framework of emotional, mental and psychic healing, and argues that like a priest or a healer an artist is called into "Being". The paper attempts to paint a picture of the broad strokes of healing practice across Africa, touching on the significance of art in rituals, spirit possession and initiation. The inter-connectedness of individual and community healing is described and the paper concludes by arguing that the privileging of rational intelligence (IQ) over emotional and spiritual intelligences (EQ and SQ) has deprived art of its principle role of healing at the societal, communal and individual levels.
Figurative and poetic language in indigenous healing : an African perspective : indigenous knowledge systems, health, illness and healingSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 147 –157 (2009)More Less
Praising in African culture and tradition is used to denote identity formations. Through praising, one's membership to a clan, community, ethnic group or nation can be identified. In the search for a new Africa, praising, which links Africans with their past, is another form of folkloric expression that has a major role to play. This article highlights the significance of the connection that exists between indigenous healing and poetry. Using the case study method, one indigenous healer was identified and requested to participate in this study. Data was collected by using interviewing and participant observation methods. The investigation focused primarily on the different kinds of divination-bone fall spatial arrangements and their interpretations by the indigenous healer. Concept studies approach and hermeneutic analysis were used in understanding and interpreting the data since the authors' interest was on the interpretation and analysis of usage of figurative and poetic language in indigenous healing. The study found that praising in indigenous healing plays a significant role. Through praising, the problems of the patient are brought to the fore. It was also found that figurative and poetic language is used to praise the divination bones before and after their fall. Praising was also found to be used, in some instances, to refer to the disease that the patient might be suffering from. The different kinds of animal totems and their interpretation are also discussed.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 158 –162 (2009)More Less
The article provides a report on a survey conducted in selected villages of Thohoyandou and Nzhelele in Venda, Limpopo Province of South Africa by means of personal interviews. The aim of the survey was to gather indigenous knowledge and to validate the uses of bush tea as claimed by the local people. The interviews were conducted with three types of respondents: a traditional healer, street sellers and bearers of indigenous knowledge (people who have knowledge about the plant). One important finding of the study was that the people from the area posses a remarkable knowledge of the plant identity and its uses to treat a wide range of physical aliments.
Brewing and consumptions practices of indigenous traditional beer in a typical South African semi-urban area : indigenous knowledge systems, health, illness and healingSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 163 –174 (2009)More Less
The article is based on a study that aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practices regarding the food safety and brewing methods applicable to the manufacturing of traditional beer as well as consumer perceptions. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 30 informal brewers and 90 traditional beer consumers. The data indicated that, while brewers were still using the same traditional brewing methods, 75% brewed for commercial purposes instead of traditional reasons. All consumers drank to relieve stress instead of traditional beliefs and were aware of possible toxic ingredients although unconcerned. While the majority of the brewers lacked refrigeration facilities, improper hygiene practices did not appear to be the result of a lack of infrastructure. Fifty-five percent of brewers washed the containers when dirty, while 45% washed them after use. Unhygienic practices such as failure to cover the hair and wearing jewellery while brewing indicated a lack of knowledge regarding proper hygiene. There is a need to establish and implement awareness programmes pertaining to personal and general hygiene. This, together with regulations governing the licensing of informal brewers, should improve the general hygiene practices, microbial contamination of the beer and contribute to minimising health risks to the traditional beer consumer.
Psychological counselling and indigenous African knowledge systems in South African context : indigenous knowledge systems, health, illness and healingAuthor H.M. VogelSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 175 –188 (2009)More Less
Psychological counselling relates to basic humanity and universal values such as the regard for human dignity, healthy socialisation, and emotional health. Counselling individuals who experience emotional or relational problems is a function of the helping and health care professions. Effective counselling should provide appropriate help to people living in a contemporary and diverse society, such as South Africa. Traumatic experiences, bereavement, depression, violence and the traumatic aftermath of criminal activities are all part of the emotional turmoil experience by many South Africans and their families. Key questions are : Do Western-oriented counselling practices have a role in African-oriented settings? How effectively are counsellors who have been trained in Western-oriented counselling practices equipped to serve the diverse South African population? The aim of this article is to discuss selected Western approaches in the light of a discussion of Indigenous African Knowledge Systems; to suggest nodes of correspondence between the two systems of thought; and to make recommendations to promote the training of culturally sensitive counsellors.
Author Lesley Le GrangeSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 189 –198 (2009)More Less
This article explores whether there are methods that might be referred to as being distinctly indigenous. In doing so the nature of method is examined and it is concluded that method is not universal and neutral, but rather situated and performative. The upshot of this is that research methods can be transformed and that processes of indigenisation are possible. However, methods cannot be distinctly indigenous in the sense that they can be (or have been) preserved and untainted by other cultural influences. Indigenisation could entail lines of flight produced by the rupturing of traditional Western research methods, forming a rhizome of heterogeneous elements derived from both Western and indigenous ways of knowing.
The relevance of language in the process of indigenising life skills education in South Africa : a social work perspective : IKS community development and resilienceSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 199 –208 (2009)More Less
Language is perhaps the single most important factor in educational efficiency and highlights the long term consequences for academic achievement. Language enhances positive academic achievement when one learns to read and write in a language he does speak well. The article therefore seeks to highlight the importance of language in indigenizing life skills education. To this end the authors argue that effective teaching of life skills education should firstly be characterised by the use of more suitable local languages, the use of sufficient teaching techniques, a culturally adequate curriculum content and sufficient financial material resources.
Trends and current status of indigenous knowledge among the inhabitants of the Turkwel riverine in Kenya : IKS community development and resilienceSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 209 –217 (2009)More Less
The Turkana lead a predominantly traditional lifestyle largely depending on available natural resources for their livelihoods. They are mainly nomadic pastoralists with a few growing crops along the rivers' floodplains. The utilization of the rangelands is characterized by little or no use of yield enhancing inputs. However, the nomadic pastoralists have been able to achieve some sort of balance between their environment and their economy through experiential co-adaptation. Through this experiential co-adaptation the Turkana people have accumulated a wealth of indigenous knowledge and established institutions that have helped them to cope with their fragile environment. However, not much of this knowledge has been used in the design and implementation of development initiatives. The article is based on a study which examined how the Turkana pastoral community living along the Turkwel riverine has over the years used its indigenous knowledge to cope with their environment. The study used participatory and household survey methods. The results show that, among others, the Turkana pastoralists cope with adverse situations through social networks, mobility, herd maximization and the adoption of 'new' adaptive strategies. It is concluded that there is a wealth of indigenous knowledge that can be used in finding practical solutions for local problems.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 218 –229 (2009)More Less
Local knowledge can serve a source of local community resilience that provides an enabling capacity for people to sustain their livelihoods and adapt to environmental changes or new environments. This knowledge was evidenced as capable of resurfacing when contingent opportunities arise. This contribution draws upon case studies of emerging self-mobilised social learning processes in the recollection and application of agricultural knowledge as revealed in immigrant gardeners' narratives in New York City, United States and narratives from relocated farming communities in Sebakwe, Zimbabwe. In these narratives the communities draw upon their reserves of local knowledge to respond to changes within their local environments. Such knowledge can serve as a source of community resilience through enabling people to sustain their livelihoods and community wellbeing, and thus adapt to environmental changes and displacement.
Constraints to the economic activities of women in rural areas : IKS community development and resilienceSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 8, pp 230 –240 (2009)More Less
Despite decades of gender research and public action by civil society, policy makers continue to neglect the rich indigenous knowledge (IK) and the role of women as breadwinners in rural areas. These women have little or no access to economic assets as they are located in poverty-stricken areas lacking in basic infrastructure. They use IK to increase agricultural productivity, preserve and transfer culture and nurture children. The article argues that ignoring the constraints to their economic development increases the poverty of the rural areas. The "means" dimension of reducing poverty is critical to women. They meet their basic needs through a variety of activities and resources such as subsistence production which relies on having access to common property resources and the state's provision of services. The article argues that rural poverty is created and maintained through the replication of unproductive cultural practices and the implementation of inappropriate policies. Government policies have to recognise women as economic actors and create economy-oriented policies rather than welfare-oriented solutions. IK, agricultural, and non-agricultural activities such as sewing grass mats, producing beadwork and the construction of roads are critical to household livelihoods in rural areas. These activities and methods of production are an important route through which women would be able to escape poverty.