n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Reflecting on research practices and indigenous community benefits for poverty alleviation purposes in the eastern seaboard region of South Africa

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



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.

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