Microsoft word - iks project.doc

LESHIBA WILDERNESS
PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF A
CENTRE FOR INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE AND
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY
‘… the story of the Mountain and its surroundings should
be told in all its intriguing richness and given the possibility to
contribute to a better future for humanity.'
President Thabo Mbeki, Leshiba Wilderness, 20th Aug 2003

It is proposed to establish a Centre for Appropriate Technology and
Indigenous Knowledge (‘CATIK') at Leshiba Wilderness, under the auspices
of the Lesheba Venda Arts & Culture Trust.
This document serves to provide background to Indigenous Knowledge
Systems (IKS) and the definition of ‘appropriate technology' and suggests a
route forward for the development of the proposed centre.
2.
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS

Indigenous Knowledge Systems refers to the complex set of knowledge and
technologies existing and developed around specific conditions of populations
and communities indigenous to a particular geographic area. These
populations retain some of, or their entire own social, economic, cultural and
political institutions, but by the nature of the rapidly changing society around
us, this inheritance is quickly disappearing and in danger of being lost forever.
The Venda people have a rich history of IKS and the region wil be the poorer
if this is not pro-actively conserved and promoted.

3.

AN OVERVIEW
(Extracted from the Speech by Minister Mosibudi Mangena, SADC Workshop on IKS, Pretoria, 7 June 2004)
The Growing Acknowledgement

There is today a growing appreciation of the value of Indigenous Knowledge; an example of this is the signing of the Hoodia Plant benefit sharing agreement between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the San community in the Kalahari. This is a benchmark case of depicting the potential of Indigenous Knowledge being translated into commercial benefits by providing valuable leads for the development of useful medicinal products and processes. The global community has acknowledged the role and importance of indigenous knowledge. For indigenous knowledge to survive, the social and economic context in which it found has to be nurtured, maintained and protected. In this regard, it is necessary to recognize and respect the rights of holders and practitioners as living libraries of indigenous knowledge. Furthermore, active steps need to be taken to not only protect these rights, but also to promote and develop these IKS's in order to contribute towards the upliftment of the very communities who need it most. Steps Taken by the South African Government
The central chal enge for Governments and civil society particularly in the developing world is how to provide protection for indigenous knowledge systems. The South African Government has placed a great degree of emphasis on the development of IKS Policy and Legislation, which wil significantly protect, develop and promote IKS and wil help improve the livelihood and economic wel -being of the indigenous and local communities, by ensuring equitable and fair benefit sharing. The Indigenous Knowledge Systems Policy is to be tabled in Cabinet this year. The knowledge of individuals and the col ective knowledge of communities is the only real competitive advantage that any country can rely upon to develop. The chal enge is to bring about a synergy between indigenous and western knowledge, and other knowledge systems, so that knowledge generation and utilization benefits al segments of our society. Some key activities embarked on by the Directorate of Science and Technology: Indigenous Knowledge Systems Department include inter alia ; The drafting of the IKS Policy and Bil ; Financial support of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems of South Africa Trust; The establishment of Inter-Departmental Committee on IKS; Dedicated funding to National Research Foundation (NRF) for IKS Research; and The development of a Framework for the establishment of the South African Indigenous Knowledge Digital Library. This is based on the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library completed recently by India. Towards the end of the 2003/2004 financial year, the IKS Unit embarked upon the funding of projects that advance and support the objectives of the Department of Science and Technology in relation to IKS and other related areas. These projects are geared at the promotion, development and recognition of IKS that is not the mandate under the funding stream provided by NRF and other funding institutions. The Potential Contribution by SADC Countries
SADC member countries have one of the greatest storehouses of indigenous knowledge, which have the potential of becoming major players in the global trade in herbs-based formulations, medicines and products. Local communities or individuals do not have the necessary knowledge or the means to safeguard their property in a system, which has its origin in very different cultural values and attitudes. Indigenous and local communities have a stockpile of knowledge about their flora and fauna – their habits, their habitats, their seasonal behavior –and it is only logical and in consonance with natural justice that they are given a greater say as a matter of right in al matters regarding the study, extraction and commercialization of indigenous knowledge. The Leshiba Wilderness Centre for Appropriate Technology and
Indigenous Knowledge (CATIK)

The Leshiba Wilderness Centre for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Knowledge (CATIK) wil be aimed at helping create an environment that welcomes the participation of indigenous peoples in development work, to ensure that projects actual y benefit indigenous and local people on many fronts — involving local people in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects promoting their human rights, reducing poverty in their communities, and strengthening their ability to get organized and advocate for change. CATIK wil focus on the role that Traditional Leaders can play in the protection and promotion of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, establishing working relationships with the Department of Health with respect to medicinal plants, the Department of Trade and Industry regarding Intel ectual Property Rights and with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on benefit sharing. The intention is to create a highly focused Centre, which wil enable a relatively smal number of people to establish a specialised facility that wil act as a catalyst on new ways of addressing local developmental issues. As there are large concentrations of rural communities in the vicinity of Leshiba, it wil be possible to interact and involve local people at the grass roots in this proposed programme. DEVELOPMENT CONTEXT

Leshiba Wilderness is situated in the western part of the Soutpansberg
mountain range. This area being regarded as the traditional home of the Vha
Venda people in South Africa. It is endowed with an important cultural history,
as wel as having one of the most important bio-diverse environments in the
world. For example, the Soutpansberg has a comparable number of plant
species to that of the whole of Canada – Note that Canada has an area of
9 220 970 sq kms vs the Soutpansberg's 6800 sq kms!
This uniqueness has been recognized by the Limpopo Provincial Government
which has taken the decision to make application to UNESCO to declare the
Soutpansberg a World Biosphere Reserve.
The rich cultural heritage of the area is predominantly VhaVenda speaking
that have traditional y been involved in the fol owing Indigenous Knowledge
Systems (IKS):
• Wood carving • Pottery • Drum making • Textiles • Beadwork • Cultural Performances • Traditional healing Leshiba Wilderness is wanting to make a smal contribution towards nation building by empowering local communities with the indigenous knowledge that exists but is rarely applied. The proposed Centre wil be aimed at establishing itself as a base for the documentation, transference and perpetuation of indigenous knowledge in the context of regional economic and cultural upliftment. The underlying project mission is to ensure the integration of the cultural heritage of the area with appropriate technologies that can then be applied to improve the standard of living of local communities. The programme focuses on Sustainable Development by understanding and utilising Indigenous Knowledge Systems combined with Appropriate Technology. Sustainable Development is defined by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) & the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) as "improving the quality of life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting systems". The general programme aim is to understand Indigenous Knowledge and its
role in community life from an integrated perspective that includes both the
spiritual and material aspects of a society as wel as the complex relationship
between them. The specific aims of the programme are:
To understand and explore the potential contribution of Indigenous Knowledge to local development and nation building. Develop research capacity in the field of Indigenous Knowledge in the local sub-region. The research, production, transmission, education and utilisation of indigenous knowledge and technology by integrating local and ‘external' expertise. OBJECTIVES

The overal objective of the project is to contribute towards a development
strategy for sustainable living that harnesses, showcases and educates local
people in indigenous knowledge and appropriate technology.
The specific objectives of the project are as fol ows;
To plan, develop and manage a sustainable centre for appropriate technology and indigenous knowledge within an ecological y sensitive area. To promote the design and construction of environmental y compatible structures and facilities consistent with the natural environment, utilising natural and alternative methods of building, energy production and re-use of waste products. To identify viable business opportunities, that could establish a sustainable economic base for job creation and community upliftment through the application of indigenous knowledge. To host learnerships at NQF 2 & 4 levels to provide skil building training for community members, to lead and sustain a self-motivated community and local economy. To foster support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of culture, conservation and development. Empower local people to enable them to improve their circumstances utilising their own indigenous knowledge. Document and activate traditional knowledge in a modern development paradigm. Utilise Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programmes. Develop and enhance the role IKS plays in eco-tourism as a blend of natural and cultural attractions. Complement and add value to the Soutpansberg Biosphere Reserve initiative especial y in the area of sustainable livelihoods. To contribute towards the preservation of the unique culture and heritage that exists in the general area referred to as Venda. FOCUS AREAS FOR INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE RESEARCH

Project Overview
It is envisaged that Leshiba Wilderness wil serve as a research and
development facility (‘think tank') to secure indigenous knowledge and
emerging technologies. CATIK wil seek to capture and document indigenous
knowledge with the aim of finding methods of adding value that can be utilised
in the surrounding areas for improving the quality of life and wealth creation
opportunities.
The essence of the programme is to develop a culture of community based conservation and development where participants learn the value of protecting and enhancing their environment and culture. IKS may overlap with other development focus areas, such as Sustainable Livelihoods, the Eradication of Poverty, Conservation, Management of Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Education and the Chal enges for Change. The Centre for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Knowledge has selected five sub-themes for research and development, inter alia: 7.1. Arts, Crafts and Materials:
The goal of this thematic area is to create a holistic living and educational venue for the research, development and transference of traditional knowledge in wood carving, beadwork, weaving, textiles, pottery and rock art through established National Qualification Framework at levels 2 and 4. It is hoped that the CreateSA programme wil form part of this process. It is envisaged that CATIK wil also serve as venue to invite international experts in various fields such as sculpture, basket weaving, beadwork etc to facilitate workshops to further expand and share their knowledge. Artists and artisans accompanied by apprentices wil be invited to attend workshops with international experts in their fields. The objective is to develop local knowledge and to facilitate the transference of knowledge systems The primary objective of this area is to enable traditional crafters to harness and direct their creativity towards art as wel as the medium scale production of craft products. To achieve this experts from SA and abroad wil assist crafters with the development of craft products that are relevant and attractive to broad local and international markets. CATIK wil develop the market links and provide training in basic business skil s such as invoicing, packaging, record keeping, banking etc. This would include the areas of Wood Carving, Sculpture, Rock Art, Pottery, Orature, Textiles, Dress-making, Beadwork, Music and Dance. For example, in the case of the international y renowned wood carvers one could identify a number of areas for research and development, which could include: • The link between contemporary and traditional forms of sculpture, including archeological clay figurines • Effects of use of indigenous wood and alternatives • Upgrade carving skil s to produce unique marketable products • Integrating sculpture into the education curriculum • Contribution to regional creative potential and income generation. • Expanding the existing ‘subsistance' living to a more creative individual and marketable art and craft. Traditional Medicine and Health
South Africa has an extremely rich biodiversity that is yet to be ful y understood. Some of this understanding is to be found in the indigenous knowledge systems that relate to the treatment of disease through the connections with spirituality and the science of herbs and plants, on the one hand, and animal products on the other. Research activity wil be centred on indigenous medicine and pharmacology, encompassing human health and indigenous medicine; veterinary medicine and animal health; maternal and child health; and sexual health and disease, especial y focusing on building the immune system. The intended outcomes are: • to promote the professional integrity of traditional health care • generate new knowledge, • bring indigenous knowledge to the fore of national health delivery, • to establish the potential and application of IK for the benefit of society as a whole as wel as for the communities where such knowledge resides.
The Synthesis of Biological & Cultural Assets of the Soutpansberg, identifies
the importance of researching the sustainability of current medicinal plant
harvesting practices. This could lead to the development of sustainable
harvesting practices that would need to be transferred to traditional healers
and medicinal plant gatherers and possibly a model for the propagation,
planting and harvesting of medicinal plant gardens.
In the short term research wil focus on medicinal plants occurring abundantly
on Lesheba Wilderness, examples of these include, Lippia Javanica, Catha
Edulis, Warburgia and Oleo Europea. A Permaculture Medicinal Garden wil
be developed as a living pharmacy in and around CATIK.
An example of where this theme could also be applied is in the area of
‘Initiation'. This is a under-researched aspect of African culture and has
relevance to both the ‘health' as wel as the ‘culture' aspects. The Centre
could provide a venue for this research.

7.3. Indigenous Food Systems
The focus in this research sub-theme is on indigenous methods and systems of food supply, processing and preservation, as wel as the potential for value addition through other approaches and the use of modern bio-technology. The role of extrinsic and intrinsic factors and agents (for example, microorganisms) in these processes and systems should also be considered. Initial projects wil focus on useful trees and plants that occur natural y in the area – the bio-diversity of the Soutpansberg has already been noted - highlighting their identity, uses, propagation and traditional uses associated with the trees and plants that play important roles in community life. Research and Development wil include the capturing and dissemination of oral y transmitted knowledge about the importance of certain plants, their role and function in society and the anecdotal stories that accompany them. The information needs to be channeled into the Outcomes Based Education process so as to make learners aware of their living cultural heritage that forms a part of who they are. This wil help in the development of a community based conservation ethic which is vital to the long term survival of our bio-diversity. Environmental education and awareness helps to instil a sense of ownership vital for participatory management of natural vegetation in order to achieve the goals of sustainable living. 7.4. Building Technology
In various parts of ancient, medieval and contemporary Africa building constructions of various dimensions, shapes and types emerged reflecting various concepts, techniques and decorative principles and specific raw material preferences as wel . Builders integrated the concept of the arch, the dome, and the use of columns and aisles in their construction. The artistic talents of the Venda people creates an opportunity of integrating art and building as has been done in the past. This can further be developed by integrating modern technology with IKS thus establishing a potential new form of building system. CATIK wil endeavor to research and document traditional building technologies in the area. The centre itself wil utilise traditional knowledge in its construction and showcase a blend of traditional building technologies with a modern architectural approach to ensure passive solar heating, natural light and ventilation. Local labour wil be utilised to manufacture the bricks, build and roofing. The process wil be wel documented to provide a library for the methodology of the technologies that are utilised. 7.5. Indigenous Knowledge at the interface with other systems of
knowledge

This theme seeks to establish and model the place of Indigenous Knowledge within the larger body of knowledge especial y in areas applicable to rural development and low technology solutions to improve the quality of life. Cross-cutting and supportive issues in indigenous knowledge, IKS and indigenous technology needing investigation, elaboration and practical application include: Intel ectual property rights and IKS The integration of indigenous knowledge and IKS into the broader knowledge base IKS and the African Renaissance especial y with respect to appropriate low tech solutions for development Sustainable resource utilisation in IKS (in relation to research thrusts on traditional medicine and health; indigenous food systems; and arts, crafts and materials) • IKS and its interface with other knowledge systems CATIK Development Plan:
The Centre for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Knowledge based at
Leshiba Wilderness initial y aims to act as a catalyst for the rebirth and
evolution of arts and culture in the surrounding VhaVenda Communities. A
arts and culture programme has already been established and is in its third
year of operation. This has to date been funded by the De Beers Fund. More
recently, the Irish Government has made a donation which is largely to be
used for the construction of an ‘Artists Vil age' using IKS.
The first phase of this project is therefore centred on the Preservation and
Promotion of the unique Art and Craft of the Venda Woodcarvers
, but will
include ceramic and embroidery work as wel . This project is aimed at passing
on this talent to the fol owing generations and in so doing create newly trained
artists and craftspeople who would then be able to establish a broader arts
and crafts industry. This would imply job creation and an additional attraction
for the growing tourism industry in the region.
The second phase of the project is to establish a permanent Centre for
Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Knowledge
Learning which
would incorporate the above, but broaden the scope to include al local
‘indigenous knowledge systems' in the fields of art, craft, music, healing,
building, agriculture as detailed in Point 7: Focus areas for indigenous
knowledge learning. This Centre to be established in an existing building
complex already built at Lesheba. It is the owner ‘s – The John Rosmarin
Family Trust – intention to make this facility available for the establishment of
the Centre.
Please see the CATIK Operations Plan attached.

9.

CONCLUSION
CATIK is a unique social development intervention that seeks to capture and harness the indigenous knowledge of the Venda people and the Soutpansberg. The centre wil play a vital and pivotal role in assisting local communities to empower themselves out of poverty and create a better life utilising and protecting their natural resources available in the area. The centre is aligned with the National Governments objectives for preserving indigenous knowledge and has the potential to develop into a living evolving
library of information and awareness of our natural heritage.
This document developed by:
Nicholas Heinamann, nic@afristar.org.za
for Leshiba Wilderness,
June 2004
References:

A First Synthesis of the Environmental, Biological & Cultural Assets of the
Soutpansberg. K.Berger et al, 2004
Schools within the Community: Learning to Frame Indigenous Knowledge
Systems with Contemporary Knowledge, Sharenet, Z.Rossouw et al, 2000
Indigenous Knowledge as Environmental Education Processes, Sharenet
1999, EEASA Monograph.
Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Environmental Education within
Communities in Southern Africa; A handbook, Sharenet 2000, JZZ
Matowanyika et al.
National Research Foundation website, www.nrf.ac.za, especial y Sustainable
Livelihood s and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Source: http://www.leshiba.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/IKS-Project.pdf

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