Research project of R2,4 million on Indigenous Knowledge Systems will empower community
By Martie Maree
Posted on 23 September 2010
From the left: Dr Otsile Ntsoane, Ms Nandipha Ndabana and Prof Hannes Rautenbach.
A R2,4-million research project funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) that will address Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) from a multidisciplinary perspective in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology (GGM) was recently approved.
Dr Otsile Ntsoane has been appointed as an Extraordinary Lecturer in the Department of GGM to coordinate this project. Prior to his tenure at the University, he was the Manager: Knowledge Management in the IKS Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and closely involved preparing the proposal for this research project.
This project will focus on IKS Educational Content Development and collect information over a wide spectrum to put together state-of-the-art educational material for use in schools and even at university level.
According to Dr Ntsoane “this project will be the start of big things in the field of IKS. Scientific education generally only supports already developed sciences. With this project we will tap into our African heritage and indigenous knowledge systems to further develop the economy and new areas of learning.”
Dr Ntsoane added that “this research project will also empower the community wherein the research takes place. We want to build strong and sustainable relationships between the members of the community and the University.”
Dr Ntsoane is the only person in South Africa with a PhD degree in IKS, indicating that he has already studied this field intensively. During his career at DST, he was responsible for determining policy and giving direction to IKS research in South Africa, and therefore has an in depth knowledge of what input is expected from the scientific community of South Africa.
Prof Hannes Rautenbach, Acting-Director: UP Water Institute and Head: Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology emphasised that Dr Ntsoane will not only add significant value to the NRF project granted to UP in terms of its academic content, but will also play an important role in promoting the fact that UP is an institution that is locally relevant where it matters. Prof Marie-Heleen Coetzee, Head of the UP Drama Department and her students will also contribute to the project. A significant part of the research will be conducted at the Moruleng Village, close to Rustenburg, where UP students will be involved in postgraduate research and researchers will work on the project’s output and scientific publications. With Dr Ntsoane’s involvement, the UP NRF project has the potential to play a major role in taking IKS in South Africa into the future.
This project aligns with the University’s vision to become the premier University in South Africa that acknowledges its prominent role in Africa, which is a symbol of national aspiration and hope, reconciliation and pride, and its commitment to discharging its social responsibilities.