Integrating indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in improving rural accessibility and mobility (in support of the comprehensive rural development programme in South Africa)
Nhemachena, Charles; Chakwizira, James; Dube, Sipho; Maponya, Goodhope; Rashopola, Remina; Mayindi, Daphney Hellen; Southern African Transport Conference (30th : 2011 : Pretoria, South Africa); Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (TRB); Minister of Transport, South Africa
Paper presented at the 30th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 11-14 July 2011 "Africa on the Move", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
This study discusses opportunities and challenges for integrating local knowledge in
improving rural accessibility and mobility, within the context of supporting the
Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) initiatives in South Africa. One of the major challenges besetting rural areas of South Africa and the CRDP sites is the lack of and need for a critical mass of infrastructure and services that can link communities to one another. This will aid the process of transforming rural spaces, places, people and cultures. The research for this study therefore sought to explore alternative and innovative ways through which local knowledge could contribute towards reversing impediments and existing problems in rural areas. The study is based on a broader Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) audit conducted by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform across the country. The study approach was participatory, involving extensive discussions with stakeholders. This included visits to project areas, robust application of internal and external peer-review mechanism and document analysis. The researchers conducted an audit to unpack existing local knowledge systems that could be improved and integrated to address access and mobility issues in rural areas. The ultimate aim of the exercise was to establish a platform and expand pathways to improve the socioeconomic growth and development application levers for use by rural communities in the CRDP pilot sites. The results show that a number of local knowledge systems are available in rural areas, however, these have been neglected as they are considered primitive and inferior. We recommend that scoping and interrogating existing local knowledge systems is an essential pillar to promote local economic development. Finding practical ways of improving the development value add of local knowledge is critical in designing, implementing, commercialising and sustaining appropriate community technologies to respond to the rural development agenda in South Africa. This paper posits that the local knowledge systems can be improved to support integrated infrastructure interventions and strategies for implementing affordable access and mobility interventions. We believe that using local knowledge to support local infrastructure
interventions will assist the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to meet
part of its mandate within the broader ambit of rural development initiatives and service
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