Investigating the adoption of indigenous knowledge in mitigating climate-linked challenges
a case study of Vhembe District in South Africa
Keywords:Indigenous knowledge, disease prediction, farming, confidence in indigenous knowledge, Vhembe district, South Africa
Indigenous knowledge (IK) plays a crucial role in rural African communities by contributing to the development of mitigation and adaptation strategies, enhancing resilience to climate-related challenges. However, there is limited documentation of its application in South Africa. This study investigates the adoption of IK in the Vhembe district, focusing on general use, disease prediction and farming practices. Results indicate that the respondents possessed a rich reservoir of IK, with 76.1% affirming its use for different purposes. Most respondents (75.3%) use IK for farming, with 63.1% using it for disease prediction. Most participants (74.3%) reported adequate confidence levels in their use of IK for general purposes. Respondents who had stayed longer in Vhembe reported higher confidence levels in using IK, as did those above 66 years old in using this knowledge system for disease prediction. The use of IK indicators for early warning of malaria outbreaks was also documented. Investigating and documenting IK use in communities could inform the basis for preservation and hence, enhance IK recognition. The integration of IK in the development of early warning systems may enhance their relevance and effectiveness in combating the effects of climate change and infectious diseases.
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