The incorporation of indigenous knowledge in land reform projects: the Basotho Letjhabile and Maolosi Trust agricultural projects
Akenji, Maghah Josephine
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Indigenous peoples around the world have sought knowledge of physical reality throughout the ages. Their understanding of the physical universe is codified in their knowledge systems. However, often the content of agricultural information in less developed countries is devoid of inputs from the indigenous people. It is based on the need to modernise agriculture without consideration of the goals and strategies of indigenous people. Indigenous agriculture, however, as it was originally applied prior to colonisation and apartheid, as is the case with South Africa, can neither be fully resumed nor would it satisfy the world food needs and recession crisis of the ever-increasing world population. It will, however, if taken on a solemn note, have a significant impact on the world food production (World Bank 2005). Despite the enormous value of IKS in the sustainable management of natural resources, the world has suffered and continues to suffer from a profound loss of indigenous peoples, rural groups, and their knowledge about the natural world, which has been constructed from their intimate ties to land and place. This loss has been accompanied by neglect and the marginalisation of their practices and beliefs often figured as inferior forms of knowing that should be replaced by universalised knowledge derived from the western scientific traditions (Hardison 2005). This study is an exploration of how indigenous knowledge, which has been marginalised over the years, is incorporated in Land Reform Projects of agricultural development. It is an attempt to help indigenous people regain the value of their knowledge. Employing a multidisciplinary method, the work presents an analysis of indigenous knowledge practices in agricultural land reform projects (Basotho Letjhabile and Maolosi Trust), and how indigenous knowledge contributes to sustainability and transformation with these two community projects.