Challenges in Preserving Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Learning From Past Experiences

Kudzayi Chiwanza, Maxwell C.C. Musingafi, Paul Mupa


In this paper we focus on the challenges in preserving indigenous knowledge systems. We explore the challenges of managing indigenous knowledge in the context of intellectual property rights and bio-piracy threats. We analyse how indigenous knowledge affects the lives of local people, investigate the extent to which indigenous knowledge was under threat and evaluate strategies that are in place to protect indigenous knowledge. Primarily, we discuss the role of laws in the general protection of science and knowledge, and specific details such as biodiversity, with emphasis on indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) and indigenous medicinal knowledge and their systems. Western sciences, knowledge and legislative laws play a pivotal role in protecting and preserving intellectual property, trade secrets, copy rights, and the general enforcement of ethical practices. The same laws, such as intellectual property rights, copyright, trade secrets and other pieces of legislation should particularly be essential in protecting indigenous knowledge and their systems in the African countries. We examine these laws to determine their effectiveness, strengths, weaknesses, and the challenges they place on the practical protection and preservation of IKS.

Key words: Challenges, law, indigenous knowledge systems, science, biodiversity, preserving

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5758 ISSN (Online)2224-896X

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