Limpopo commended for indigenous knowledge partnerships

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Polokwane - Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has praised Limpopo for forging a partnership to reinforce a shared vision of building on indigenous knowledge for future generations.

The partnership includes the Limpopo Department of Agriculture, Prolinnova - an NGO-initiated programme - to build a global learning network to promote local innovation in ecologically-oriented agriculture - and the University of Limpopo.

"This partnership is an attempt to build capacity in rural communities and aims to eliminate poverty through integrated rural development programmes based on the indigenous knowledge of the community," said Pandor at an Indigenous Expo, on Tuesday.

She said the province's partnership set an excellent example that others would do well to follow, particularly universities that were situated in locations where a special relationship between themselves and the holders and owners of knowledge in their vicinity could be built.

"Where it is established that particular communities are 'resource rich but economically poor', concerted research and development interventions grounded in an indigenous knowledge should commence as a matter of priority," Pandor said.

She added that Limpopo's rich cultural and biological diversity, and the sterling work being done in indigenous knowledge, made it different from other provinces.

"We are proud of Limpopo's rich heritage, so beautifully demonstrated by the golden rhinoceros of Mapungubwe and the bracelet made from gold beads found at Thulamela," she said.

Pandor said this heritage posed an economic opportunity for local communities, but care had to be taken to ensure that the economic and cultural exploitation of natural, cultural and historic heritage was undertaken in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.

She added that it was important to remember that indigenous knowledge - and the local communities that sustained it - was a strategic resource and one that contributed to South Africa's national identity.

"We hope to identify Indigenous Knowledge Systems that have the potential to benefit a broader constituency, in some cases even an international constituency. We plan to form partnerships to develop promising indigenous knowledge systems for the most likely markets."