- A-Z Publications
- Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
- Previous Issues
- Volume 9, Issue 2, 2010
Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Volume 9, Issue 2, 2010
Volume 9, Issue 2, 2010
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp V –IX (2010)More Less
This issue of Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems continues along the theme of the last issue, namely "African Indigenous Knowledge and Poverty Eradication". The decision to continue with the same theme is due to the growing role that poverty eradication policies have been given by African governments and that it has been a dominant theme in the African media, and with intellectuals. Through the articles submitted for publication in this issue, the problem of poverty in Africa seems to be a recurrent theme by scholars and researchers indicating that this may be a sign that research in our context is trying to meet the most pressing challenge in Africa today, namely poverty. On top of that it demonstrates that the research on issues touching poverty eradication is increasing and that the majority of African Governments are willing to finance research in areas that they consider relevant for fighting poverty and for development.
Reflecting on research practices and indigenous community benefits for poverty alleviation purposes in the eastern seaboard region of South AfricaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 127 –137 (2010)More Less
In this article we set out by problematising poverty, pointing out that poverty has been elaborately defined by people who do not find themselves in poverty situations. Given the complex and varied nature of poverty and socio-economic living conditions of people defined as indigenous and poor, we advocate for approaches that appreciate the complexities and are informed by extensive engagement with a studied people. We further debate the 'convenient connections' or 'myths of connectivity', which are conjured up and assumed to exist between poverty and indigenous communities - arguing that rural communities are not necessarily poor and indigenous in their cultural practices. We use the concept, indigenous community, with caution and are cognisant of the fact that not all the communities we have studied in the past fifteen years may necessarily define themselves as poor and rural, or essentially indigenous. Drawing out of this debate, the article discusses examples of various research projects within indigenous communities that brought forth varied results. Best research practices as well as practices that do not yield much success are discussed in the article.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 138 –150 (2010)More Less
The use of clay for cosmetic purposes in Africa is an age-old long-standing practice, which has been practiced through all regions of the continent. Red, white, yellow and their related shades of clays, in combination with other natural substances such as plant and animal extracts have over time been used by different indigenous African communities to meet their cosmetic needs. The purposes advanced for the cosmetic usage of these clays include cleansing the skin, protecting the skin against ultraviolet radiation, skin lightening, hiding of skin imperfections and accentuating the beauty of specific parts of the body. This paper provides an overview of the traditional usage of clays for cosmetic purposes in indigenous African communities. It identifies the types of cosmetic clays used traditionally in different African communities and the current reasons advanced for their application. It also sheds light on the historical use of cosmetic clays; thus emphasizing that knowledge about their applications is not new to the African community. Over time clays have been used to meet aesthetic demands including dermatological beautification.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 151 –171 (2010)More Less
The use of myth and superstition is an integral part of indigenous communities in Africa. It is used as a traditional approach for sustainable use and management of natural resources. The use of myths has significantly played a role in preserving biodiversity in the traditional Vhavenda community. Certain trees are forbidden for use as firewood, which has indirectly contributed towards the conservation of associated biodiversity and ecosystems services. The article is based on a study that investigates the role played by traditional Vhavenda myths in conserving biodiversity and associated ecosystems, including reasons behind the use of myths in prohibiting unsustainable use of biodiversity. Different techniques were used to collect data, namely interviews, observations, personal experience and a literature review. Results suggest that workable indigenous approaches exist to deal with biodiversity conservation.
Local conceptualisation of nature, forest knowledge systems and adaptive management in Southern CameroonSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 172 –184 (2010)More Less
Conventional forest and natural resource management tend to overshadow local forest management practices and ecological knowledge on which rural communities base their survival and livelihood strategies. This article examines how rural communities conceptualize nature, what forest knowledge systems they use and how they adapt their natural resource management practices to changing circumstances. The study was conducted in the humid forest zone of southern Cameroon along a gradient of resource use intensification and demographic density from Ebolowa (low), via Mbalmayo (medium) to Yaoundé (high) within the forest margins benchmark study area. The results show that the concept of nature is well embedded in the social representation of the vital space of the people of the study area. Three forest management knowledge systems were derived from this concept of nature that combines the space, the time, the supernatural and the distance between forests and its socio-economic values. The seasonal transition of climate determines the dynamics of local bio-ecological knowledge at the spatio-temporal scale. This local concept of nature and their local knowledge systems affect forest management and agricultural practices in terms of understanding and interpretation of states of nature where human activities will take place. In contrast to a mere romantic idea, the results confirm the existence of a cognitive background of local knowledge systems supporting the implementation of adaptive forest and natural resources management (NRM) practices that contribute to community livelihoods and conservation of natural resources.
Author Philip HiggsSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 185 –193 (2010)More Less
In this article I attempt to provide an ethical framework for inter-cultural dialogue, which I argue can contribute to efforts at facilitating multicultural understanding. Such an ethical framework for inter-cultural dialogue which finds its roots in postmodernism, I will argue, provides the impetus for the creation of critical civil societies which demonstrate a culture of tolerance, public debate and accommodation of differences and competing interests. The construction of such an ethical framework for inter-cultural dialogue seeks to promote and support a critical inter-cultural discourse engendered by a sense of plurality, fallibalism, pragmatism and judiciousness. The ideal of such an inter-cultural discourse is directed at epistemologically rich societies embedded in multiple sets of conceptual schemes, each giving us an entry into reality and maximising a many sided multicultural understanding of whatever issues are at question in such societies, and in this way contribute to the establishment of a democratic ethos and a culture of human rights by means of dialogical encounters conducive to critical discourse and experimental thinking, cultural tolerance, and a common commitment to a humane social order.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 194 –210 (2010)More Less
This article applies informetrics using descriptive bibliometrics to determine the state Indigenous Knowledge (IK) development in Kenya and South Africa. Data was analysed using the following variables: document type; growth of literature on the subject from 1990 - 2008; document source(s); document affiliation; subject domain; country of publication; and nature of authorship, among other attributes. International databases (OCLC - Online Computer Library Center, MEDLINE and AGRICOLA) and national databases - South Africa's Southern African Bibliographic Information Network (SABINET databases, i.e. Current and Completed Research: CCR, Union Catalogue of Theses and Dissertations: UTD, and Index to South African Periodicals: ISAP) and Kenya's Greenstone Database - were analysed using content analysis. Two keywords - indigenous knowledge and traditional knowledge - were used in all database searches. We found that IK was strongly represented in the SABINET and OCLC databases. The absence of a national (online) database showcasing Kenyan research output made it difficult to account for IK research in the country. Recommendations are provided for a follow up study and further research. The article could prove useful for decision support in IK management.
Author Steve EdwardsSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 211 –229 (2010)More Less
This article illuminates some perennial features of Southern African indigenous healing. These include ancestral, familial and communal spirituality, healers and specializations, illness prevention and health promotion, the role of rhythm, music, song, dance and various forms of empathy as for example facilitated in Nguni divine healing and San healing dances. The need for future in-depth research into related psychological themes and issues is identified and explicated.
Traditional methods used in family planning and conception in Malawi : a case study of Mulanje DistrictSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 230 –237 (2010)More Less
Malawi's maternal mortality remains high (984 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births). Due to insufficient health care facilities, cultural reasons and people's perception that modern hospital staff is rude, many women resort to home-based health care. However, there is a lack of information on how pregnancy-related issues are managed traditionally. The article is based on a study that investigated traditional methods used in family planning and conception. Focus-group discussions, use of key informants, questionnaire and interviews were the research methods used.
In Malawi family planning methods used are the common modern methods. Traditional methods include breast feeding, abstinence and the wearing of a waist ring made from traditional medicine. Twenty-six indicators were reportedly used in ascertaining if a woman has conceived. Lightening of the woman's complexion was, by far, the most commonly mentioned indicator.
Although most of the respondents had no or low formal education, they had vast indigenous knowledge of family planning and conception-related issues. Interestingly, some of the indigenous practices used are similar to the techniques used in modern hospitals. Considering that women continue to successfully conceive and deliver in villages, modern hospitals could tap into indigenous knowledge and incorporate it into the national health care delivery service. Researchers should document the available indigenous knowledge before they are forgotten while ascertaining the validity of some of the methods.
The role of culture in sexual health dialogue : an issue in the fight against sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDSSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 238 –252 (2010)More Less
Dialogue about sexual health is a global concern especially in this era of a HIV and AIDS epidemic as most of the time it is found to be minimal, if not absent. This limitation is influenced by cultural values, beliefs and norms that are shared by the people within a specific community. To a great extent, culture influences what and how sexual health issues can be discussed between members of the communities, especially between children and adults. There are different cultural practices practiced by different ethnic groups, which predispose people to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS. The article is based on the study that intended to explore and describe the extent to which culture influences dialogue about sexual health and cultural practices affecting sexual health within communities in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research approach was used. Data was collected by means of in-depth individual interviews and focus-group discussions. A purposive sampling method was used to select the forty-seven informants, eight for indepth individual interviews and thirty-nine for focus group discussions. The findings of the study indicated that there was minimal dialogue about sexual health between adults and children. Most informants indicated how cultural norms stand in the way of dialogue about sexual health within communities, especially the rural areas. The study revealed that sexual health topics are mostly discussed in initiation schools, usually with delegated members of the family, who most often are aunts. It was also noted that these teachings were often a once off talk where the child is always a passive recipient of information and his / her views were not considered. The findings also reflected that there are cultural practices which promote the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and AIDS. Recommendations related to how dialogue can be initiated are reflected in the article.
Source: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 253 –264 (2010)More Less
This article is based on a study that investigated the notions of mental illness by Vhavenda traditional healers in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Specifically, the aim of the researchers was to understand and describe these traditional healers' representations of the causes of mental illness, including the diagnostic and treatment methods that they use to help their patients. A phenomenological research method was followed in order to capture and describe mental illness from the perspective of the traditional healers themselves. Eight traditional healers, who were selected through the snowball sampling method, were asked to participate in the study. The study found that factors like heredity, witchcraft, sorcery and disregard of cultural norms were found to be some of the causes of mental illness. In some cases, mental illness was interpreted as an invitation to some people by their ancestors to become traditional healers. The study also found that traditional healers follow a logical and culturally congruent system to diagnose and treat patients who present to them with what is considered to be mental illness. In this regard different diagnostic procedures and treatment methods are used. The limitations associated with the study are also discussed.
Traditional healers and HIV and AIDS prevention and care in South Africa : the case of Mahlabathini District in KwaZulu-NatalAuthor Blessing MbathaSource: Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 9, pp 265 –273 (2010)More Less
The majority of populations in developing countries have access to traditional health care and it is widely accepted that about 80% of people in Africa rely on traditional medicine for many of their health care needs. This article presents the roles of traditional healers in HIV and AIDS prevention in the Mahlabathini District in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Through a survey, due to the diverse of traditional healers in South Africa, the study targeted only traditional healers in the Mahlabathini District. The sample selection was non-random but based on the snowball effect. Fifty-five traditional healers were interviewed and the data was analysed using thematic categorization. The findings suggest that healers continue to play a significant role in health promotion in areas where the population has limited access to modern health care. Traditional healers have a crucial role to play in building the health system in South Africa and strengthening and supporting the national response to HIV and AIDS. However, limited integration is a serious indictment of African governments failure to appreciate the tremendous role of traditional healers as significant manpower resource in the fight against AIDS. There is therefore a need for urgent investment and support of traditional healers and traditional medicine - not only by government, but also by civil society and the private sector.