The Needed Categories of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Natural Science Curriculum in South Africa: Narratives from Pongola schools


  • Benkosi Madlela University of South Africa



Categories Indigenous Knowledge System Incorporation Natural Science Phongola school


For centuries, South African education was dominated by colonial practices that devalued Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). To reform education, the CAPS 2012 Natural Science (NS) curriculum documents instruct teachers to use IKS when delivering instruction without specifying the categories that should be used. The study was conducted to gather the views and narratives of participants on IKS categories that should be incorporated into the NS curriculum. An African renaissance theory that calls for the decolonisation and Africanisation of education guided the study.  An interpretivist research philosophy was used to understand the phenomenon from participants’ point of view, and through the use of a qualitative approach, data was gathered directly from participants in their natural settings in Pongola schools. A case study design allowed the researcher to focus on selected schools and collect in-depth information from purposively selected Principals, NS Heads of Departments and teachers through interviews and focus group discussions. Data were analysed and presented narratively and verbatim under emerging themes. Findings revealed that participants advocated for the incorporation of the following six IKS categories into the NS curriculum, traditional veterinary medicines, traditional diets and food processing, traditional medicines, weather forecast, environmental and disaster management, traditional values, uBuntu lenhlonipho (humility and respect). The study recommended that the Department of Basic Education review its policy and incorporate IKS into the Natural Science curriculum as a full knowledge strand. The 6 IKS categories suggested by participants should form a firm foundation and background for the incorporation process.


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How to Cite

Madlela, B. (2022). The Needed Categories of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Natural Science Curriculum in South Africa: Narratives from Pongola schools. Interdisciplinary Journal of Rural and Community Studies, 4, 23-35.