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Publication on indigenous knowledge systems
2005-10-21

 

 

Dr Otsile Ntsoane (acting Director: IKS, Department of Science and Technology) and Prof Philip Nel (Director:  Africa Studies at the UFS and guest editor of the publication) at the launch of the publication

UFS launches most comprehensive publication on indigenous knowledge systems
A unique collection of essays on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) was launched yesterday (20 October 2005) by the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Programme of Africa Studies.

The essays are published as a special edition of INDILINGA, the African Journal for Indigenous Knowledge Systems and is an outcome of the colloquium on Indigenous Knowledge Systems that was presented last year by the UFS Director of Africa Studies in cooperation with the National Research Council.

“The amount and diversity of materials on IKS brought together under one cover is unique as there are no other South African publications of this magnitude on this issue.  It contains papers of international experts on IKS such as Prof Fritz Wallner from Austria and Prof Gayatri Spivak, foremost postcolonial theorist from India,” said Prof Philip Nel, Director of Africa Studies and guest editor of the publication.

“The publication is a rich source field for students and scholars to exploit because most of the sources quoted in the articles are recent, fresh and relevant.  The contributors are largely people responsible for managing, fostering and studying IKS in a responsible manner,” said Prof Nel.

“An added value of the publication is the inclusion of the policy document on IKS that was adopted by Cabinet in November 2004,” said Prof Nel.


“Millions of people in South Africa are faced with the painful choice of abandoning their heritage.  In this choice, the study and management of IKS has a major role to play; on the one hand, to encourage as much assimilation of traditional knowledge as possible into the modern systems, and on the other hand to provide a “language” and a “grammar” for indigenous people through which they can access modernity,” said Prof Nel.

The IKS debate involves questions of African identity, protection of indigenous communities and practices, political aspects as well as the scientific integrity of the enterprise. 

The publication displays the range of burning questions that have to be resolved in this field such as mainstreaming IKS in academic debate and practice, recognition and protection of the knowledge holders, bio-prospecting and bio-piracy, bio and ethnic healing, lack of textbooks and field manuals, etc and will prove worthwhile for future researchers.

 “One of the main reasons for publishing this volume is the fact that IKS should be studied not only to provide a sense of pride in the past, or  to engender respect for indigenous peoples, but also to enable people in indigenous mind sets to make a better transition into the world of science and technology,” said Prof Nel.

The guest speaker at the launch was Dr Otsile Ntsoane, acting Director of IKS at the Department of Science and Technology.  In his speech Dr Ntsoane stressed the symbolic and concrete value of the publication.  “The publication can have a great social impact and the research results can contribute to chancing the economic landscape of South Africa,” he said.

The publication can be purchased at R150 per copy.  For more information, Ms Steffi Cawood, Programme Coordinator for Africa Studies at the UFS can be contacted at (051) 401-2614.

Media release
Issued by:Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
21 October 2005
 

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