INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND ETHNOMATHEMATICS Mogege Mosimege Department of Science and Technology Pretoria, South Africa mogege.mosimege@dst.gov.za Presentation made in the Panel on ‘IKS and Ethnomathematics’ at the ICEM 3 Conference, Langham - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND ETHNOMATHEMATICS Mogege Mosimege Department of Science and Technology Pretoria, South Africa mogege.mosimege@dst.gov.za Presentation made in the Panel on ‘IKS and Ethnomathematics’ at the ICEM 3 Conference, Langham

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Title: INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND ETHNOMATHEMATICS Mogege Mosimege Department of Science and Technology Pretoria, South Africa mogege.mosimege@dst.gov.za Presentation made in the Panel on ‘IKS and Ethnomathematics’ at the ICEM 3 Conference, Langham


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INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND
ETHNOMATHEMATICS Mogege Mosimege Department of
Science and TechnologyPretoria, South
Africa mogege.mosimege_at_dst.gov.zaPresentation
made in the Panel on IKS and Ethnomathematics
at the ICEM 3 Conference, Langham Hotel,
Auckland, New Zealand, 13 February 2006
3
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS WITH RESPECT TO
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS (IKS) IN SOUTH
AFRICA AUDITS AND WORKSHOPS
  • 1996 Meeting between Chairperson of Arts,
    Culture, Science and Technology Portfolio
    Committee and Council for Scientific and
    Industrial Research (CSIR) Executive
  • October 1996 January 1997 Pilot of Indigenous
    technologies Audit at University of The North
    (now University of Limpopo Turfloop Campus)
  • February 1997 Workshop at UNIN Decision to
    conduct a national Audit
  • March 1997 December 1998 Audit conducted by
    following Universities (i) University of Venda
    (ii) University of North West (now the Mafikeng
    Campus of the North West University (iii) Vista
    University Mamelodi (now the Mamelodi Campus of
    the University of Pretoria) (iv) UNISA (v)
    University of the North Qwaqwa Campus (now
    Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State
    (vi) University of Zululand (vii) University of
    Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University) (viii)
    University of Fort Hare
  • January December 1998 Provincial Workshops
    conducted by each University
  • First National Workshop on IKS at University of
    North West September 1998 (jointly organized by
    the Portfolio Committee, DACST, and the CSIR
    Supported by other stakeholders)

4
LESSONS LEARNT FROM THE AUDIT
  • Extent and depth of knowledge of indigenous and
    local people
  • Marginalization of the knowledge and exclusion of
    the knowledge from the mainstream
  • Lack of recognition and acknowledgement of
    knowledge holders
  • Lack of protection of the knowledge, leading to
    exploitation and biopiracy
  • Misconceptions related to the knowledge
  • Role of researchers and research methodologies
    cannot remain the same as in other areas of
    research
  • Commitment by government, Science Councils,
    Universities, Traditional Leaders, Indigenous
    Knowledge Holders and other stakeholders
  • International role players, especially the role
    of pharmaceuticals in collaboration with national
    role players

5
IKS IN DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (DST)
  • Establishment of Ministerial task team to Draft
    Legislation and Policy on IKS in 1999 Team
    headed by Prof Catherine Odora-Hoppers (based at
    the HSRC)
  • Delegations by Task Team to India and China in
    1999 2000 to learn about IKS in the two
    countries
  • Provision of ring-fenced funding to the NRF for
    research in IKS since 2000
  • Establishment of Unit dedicated to IKS in the
    Science and Technology Branch of the Department
    of Arts, Culture Science and Technology in 2001

6
IKS IN SOUTH AFRICA THE NATIONAL RESEARCH
FOUNDATION (NRF)
  • Defines IKS as a complex set of knowledge and
    technologies existing and developed around
    specific conditions of populations and
    communities indigenous to a particular geographic
    area (NRF, 2000)
  • Has established an IKS Research Focus in addition
    to the 8 Focus Areas on Distinct South African
    Research Opportunities Economic Growth and
    International Competitiveness Conservation and
    Management of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
    Education and the Challenges for Change (Science,
    Mathematics and Technology Education is funded
    here) Globalization Challenges ICT Sustainable
    Livelihoods Unlocking the Future

7
NRF IKS FOCUS AREA
  • Administers a ring-fenced amount of R10m per
    annum which has been provided by the Department
    of Science and Technology (DST) since 2000
  • At least 400 Research Grants have been awarded
    thus far
  • There are 4 Research Themes Ethnomathematics is
    funded in one of the 4 Areas
  • The production, transmission and utilization of
    indigenous knowledge (IK) and technology
  • The role of IK in nation building (Traditional
    Medicine Health Indigenous Food Systems Socio
    Cultural Systems Indigenous Languages,
    Indigenous notions of Science and Technology
    Arts, Crafts and Materials)
  • IK at the interface with other knowledge systems
  • Introducing IKS into the mainstream of education

8
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS SOME DEFINITIONS
  • Indigenous knowledge is the local knowledge
    knowledge that is unique to a given culture or
    society. IK contrasts with the international
    knowledge system generated by universities,
    research institutions and private firms. It is
    the basis for local-level decision making in
    agriculture, health care, food preparation,
    education, natural-resource management, and a
    host of other activities in rural communities.
    (Warren, 1991)
  • Indigenous knowledge is used synonymously with
    traditional and local knowledge to
    differentiate the knowledge developed by a
    community from the international knowledge
    systems sometimes called Western system,
    generated through universities, government
    research centres and private industry. IK refers
    to the knowledge of indigenous peoples as well as
    any other defined community. (Warren, 1992)
  • The unique, traditional, local knowledge existing
    within and developed around specific conditions
    of women and men indigenous to a particular
    geographic area. (Louise Grenier, Working with
    Indigenous Knowledge. A Guide for Researchers,
    International Development Research Centre, 1998)

9
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SOME MORE DEFINITIONS
  • An all inclusive knowledge that covers
    technologies and practices that have been and are
    still used by indigenous and local people for
    existence, survival and adaptation in a variety
    of environments. Such knowledge is not static but
    evolves and changes as it develops, influences
    and is influenced by both internal and external
    circumstances and interaction with other
    knowledge systems. Such knowledge covers contents
    and contexts such as agriculture, architecture,
    engineering, mathematics, governance and other
    social systems and activities, medicinal and
    indigenous plant varieties, etc. (Onwu
    Mosimege, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and
    Science and Technology Education A Dialogue,
    African Journal of Research in Mathematics,
    Science and Technology Education, V 8, No. 1,
    2004)

10
IKS POLICY
  • Key Policy Drivers 4
  • IKS and the National Systems of Education and
    Innovation
  • Stakeholders and Role Players in IKS
  • Institutional Framework
  • IKS Funding and Principles
  • National and International Imperatives
  • Role of various Government Departments and the
    Intergovernmental Committee on IKS

11
KEY POLICY DRIVERS IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT
  • Affirmation of African cultural values in the
    face of globalisation
  • Development of the services provided by
    Indigenous Knowledge Holders and Practitioners
  • Contribution of indigenous knowledge to the
    economy
  • Interfacing with other knowledge systems

12
SOME MAJOR THEMES IN ETHNOMATHEMATICAL RESEARCH
ANALYSIS FROM STUDIES IN SOUTH AFRICA
  • Mural Decorations (dominant in the Mpumalanga
    Province)
  • Indigenous Games
  • Beadwork
  • Weaving (baskets, mats, knots, pyramids,
    hexagons, etc)
  • Traditional House Building
  • Cultural Villages
  • Historical Development of Mathematical Concepts
    e.g. Counting
  • Linguistics and Mathematics Indigenous
    Languages and Mathematics Education
  • Cultural Artifacts
  • Interface between culture and mathematics
    broadly
  • Daily activities in the context of the
    mathematics classroom

13
SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS COMMISSION AND INDIGENOUS
GAMES
  • South African Sports Commission (SASC) took the
    initiative to revive indigenous games through the
    Indigenous Games Project
  • Formation of a National Structure which involves
    all the 9 Provinces
  • SASC collected 23 indigenous games from the
    different regions of South Africa
  • Published a Booklet on South African Indigenous
    Games in 2001 containing 7 of the 23 games
  • Previous Minister of Sports Ngconde Balfour
    launched the Indigenous Games at Basotho Cultural
    Village in the Eastern Part of the Free State on
    24 February 2001

14
SEVEN GAMES LAUNCHED AT BASOTHO CULTURAL VILLAGE
  • Dibeke A running ball game
  • Kho-Kho A running game
  • Ntimo/Kgati A rope-jumping game
  • Diketo A coordination game
  • Jukskei A target game
  • Ncuva/Morula A board game
  • Morabaraba A board game

15
MORABARABA GAME HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
  • South African War Games Union (with Headquarters
    in Johannesburg) has been organizing competitions
    on the game over a number of years at least 10
    years
  • Have written some historical background on the
    game
  • Doubts about origin of the game, reference is
    usually made to an Egyptian origin
  • Research by Mosimege (2000) indicated that the
    elderly Tswana men learnt the game during the
    days when they looked after cattle (herdboys)
    Interviewed a number elderly men in their 70s
  • This research disputed strongly some of the rules
    as written by the South African War Games Union.
    For instance the rules relating to the end of the
    game not 2 but 3 cows.

16
SOME PERSPECTIVES ON MORABARABA FROM INDIGENOUS
KNOWLEDGE HOLDERS (ELDERS)
  • It is neither a boys nor a girls game, both can
    play the game
  • Morabaraba, even though used the most, is
    actually a South Sotho name, the name in Setswana
    is Mmela
  • Historically, the game was drawn on a flat stone,
    at times on the ground
  • Measurement and Straightness of lines done
    through the bark of a shrub called bokwetse
  • Estimation and Comparison of lengths of lines
    done using the Middle finger and Thumb
  • Rules of the game A cow does not move on 3 legs,
    so the game does not end when 2 tokens are left
    but rather when 3 are left

17
MORABARABA ON A STONE AT BASOTHO CULTURAL VILLAGE
- QWAQWA
18
TEACHER AND LEARNERS PLAYING MORABARABA GAME
19
LEARNERS DISCUSSING MORABARABA GAME
20
MORUBA HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
  • Mancala (Mankala) type games found in many parts
    of the world (Broline and Loeb, 1996).
  • Mancala a generic name given by anthropologists
    to refer to a class of various board games
    (Ismael ,1997 Odeleye, 1997)
  • Various names used in different African
    countries
  • - Moruba Limpopo (mostly the North Sotho
    speaking parts) Province of South Africa
  • - Ntchuva, Mpela, Thadji Mozambique
  • - Oware Ghana
  • - Ayo Nigeria
  • - Soro Tanzania
  • - Omweso Uganda

21
SOME PERSPECTIVES ON MORUBA FROM INDIGENOUS
KNOWLEDGE HOLDERS
  • It is predominantly a mens game used during war,
    as a result no women played the game as they were
    not allowed to go to war men played it the most
    when they went to the mines in the Gauteng
    Province However in recent days both boys and
    girls play the game
  • Moruba a social activity where men strategised
    about a variety of activities and events relating
    to men, also shared advise and ideas
  • Language, Expressions and Terminology used during
    the game even signify what happens when war takes
    place
  • Two-Row Version (called Semmeh in Limpopo
    Province) very basic in the South of Africa
    although dominant in the North of Africa,
    Four-Row Version the most dominant version in the
    South of Africa
  • Players have to be extremely capable of quick
    calculations to know how many takes are available
    at which stage of the game

22
PLAYERS PLAYING MORUBA (FOUR-ROW VERSION)IN
MANKWENG TOWNSHIP, LIMPOPO PROVINCE
23
STRING FIGURE GAMES (MALEPA) HISTORY AND
BACKGROUND
  • The historical record of string figures in Africa
    dates back to almost 100 years
  • Most of this work is found in Alfred Haddons
    work of 1906. This work refers to the pastime by
    Negro tribes, and most of these coming from
    Africa
  • In the research by Mosimege, reference is made by
    the elderly that they used to play Malepa around
    the evening fires when they were young. This
    would at least be about 100 years ago.
  • Most of the participants at the workshops I have
    attended indicate how they used to play these
    when they were young

24
SOME PERSPECTIVES ON MALEPA FROM INDIGENOUS
KNOWLEDGE HOLDERS
  • Name and meaning of game Even though it is
    generally known as Diheke because of the gates
    that appear on the string, the appropriate name
    is Malepa signifying the complexity of the
    manipulation the String as the Gates increase
  • Making of String from animal skin Even though
    all kinds of strings are used today, the elderly
    used to make string from the skin of animals
    which they would kill as they were herding the
    cattle, or even from cattle and sheep skin
  • Games played around the fire in the evenings
    during story telling time by the Grandfathers and
    Grandmothers

25
LEARNER GIVING A DEMONSTRATION OF STRING FIGURE
GATE 2
26
LEARNER GIVING A DEMONSTRATION OF STRING FIGURE
GATE 6
27
SOME OF THE RESULTS OF THE STUDIES ON INDIGENOUS
GAMES
  • Mathematical knowledge from the analysis of
    indigenous games
  • Performance in specific mathematical concepts
    e.g. probability Moruba
  • Socio-cultural interactions in the mathematics
    classroom during the play of games
  • Acknowledgement and empowerment of learners
    through the use of indigenous games
  • Relations between indigenous games and
    mathematics classroom activities
  • Knowledge of games by the elders and elderly and
    knowledge holders and the implications for
    mathematics education
  • History and Transportation of indigenous games
    and the impact of globalization
  • Written records and verification processes of
    indigenous games
  • Similarities and Differences in indigenous games
    across different countries
  • Research Methodologies and Analytical Frameworks
    that may be used in the studies on Indigenous
    Games

28
ROLE OF INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE HOLDERS (ELDERS) IN
ETHNOMATHEMATICAL STUDIES
  • Their wealth of knowledge may be used to verify
    and correct the records that already exist, which
    at times may be incorrect
  • They must not only serve as our source of
    knowledge and research material, but should as
    many times as possible and as far as possible,
    allow their voices to be heard
  • They must be acknowledged correctly and
    appropriately (Contribution to making their
    knowledge eradicate their poverty)
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