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Indigenous knowledge vital to societies

Job creation

Indigenous knowledge systems are vital in shaping and defining societies. Also known as IKS, indigenous knowledge systems refer to local knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society.

Government is committed to improving educational and employment prospects for students working in the field of indigenous knowledge systems, said Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor. She was speaking at the launch of an Indigenous Knowledge Systems Expo in Mahikeng in the North West.

Vital role

Indigenous knowledge can be broadly defined as the knowledge that an indigenous (local) community gains over generations of living in a particular environment. This definition includes all forms of knowledge technologies, know-how skills, practices and beliefs that enable the community to achieve stable livelihoods in their environment.

IKS plays a vital role in societies. It helps shape and defines their very existence and provides the foundation for their beliefs and traditional practices.

Policy

To preserve South Africa’s indigenous knowledge systems, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has developed an Indigenous Knowledge Systems policy.

It aims to stimulate and strengthen the contribution of indigenous knowledge to social and economic development in South Africa through developing, promoting and protecting indigenous knowledge.

The DST says other government departments, including Health, Trade and Industry, Environmental Affairs, Tourism, and Agriculture and Land Affairs, have a role to play in the preservation of indigenous knowledge.