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Pass on your indigenous knowledge to the next generation

1 October 2017

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has urged the older generation to pass on their indigenous knowledge to the youth to advance indigenous knowledge systems through technology and innovation.

"Elders have been vanguards of indigenous knowledge but if that knowledge is not transferred to the youth, it is certainly not sustainable and is likely to be lost forever," said Minister Pandor.

The Minister was speaking at the opening of the indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) 2017 IKS Expo that took place at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga. Minister Pandor called on communities to protect and preserve indigenous knowledge.

Indigenous knowledge offers opportunities to explore avenues for innovation and commercialisation in order to contribute towards addressing the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, she said.

"Communities' knowledge has been unjustly exploited by opportunists without any form of beneficiation to the owners of the knowledge. Some communities have sold their knowledge without the realisation that by accepting money, they are actually selling off their national treasure.”

Speaking on behalf of the Premier of Mpumalanga, David Mabuza, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Refilwe Mtsweni, said the exploitation and loss of indigenous knowledge in the country deterred innovation, commercialisation and economic stability among the communities who were the most vulnerable.

"The launch of this Indigenous Knowledge Expo affirms our resolve to protect and promote our culture and ensures that our traditions form part of our daily activities," said MEC Mtsweni.

South Africa is home to almost 10% of the world's known plant species and 15% of all known coastal marine species. The country's rich biodiversity has given it a scientific competitive edge in the sphere of IKS.

About 20 000 tons of medicinal plants are exported from South Africa each year. About 24 000 plant species exist in the country of which 4 000 are used to manufacture medicines. The Department of Science and Technology said current initiatives for harvesting indigenous knowledge hold major benefits for economic development, medicine and exports.

This year the expo is being held under the theme: "Indigenous knowledge, protecting it for future generations", and is supported by the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Tourism as part of Heritage Month.

This year's event featured an IKS award for high school learners. Njabulo Matsana 16, walked away with the main prize, a bursary to study for a degree in IKS in 2019. The grade 11 pupil wrote the winning essay, which appealed to elders to stop treating indigenous knowledge as "a closed treasure box".

The annual expo, which features topics such as how communities can derive economic opportunities from indigenous knowledge, concluded on Thursday, 28 September.

SAnews.gov.za

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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February/March 2020

 
 
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