IKS Centre signs cooperation agreement with three communities to protect indigenous knowledge

The North-West University's (NWU’s) Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Centre has recently sealed a significant cooperation pact with three communities in the North West province.

This agreement aims to safeguard South African indigenous knowledge by ensuring it is managed and utilised for the benefit of the communities and rights holders from which it originates.

The communities involved in this initiative are Batlharo booMasibi, Batloung ba ga Shole, and Barolong booMotshegare.

According to Dr Motheo Koitsiwe, director of the IKS Centre, the journey toward this collaboration began in May 2021 when the NWU submitted a proposal to the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). This proposal aimed to establish an Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centre (IKSDC), which forms a vital component of the DSI National Recordal System (NRS).

"The DSI subsequently entered into a funding agreement with the NWU to document and record indigenous knowledge in the North West province," explains Dr Koitsiwe.

"The recording may ultimately lead to the archiving of these knowledge claims to be accessed under the appropriate legal frameworks by the broader public."

Under the terms of the agreement, the NWU will host the North-West IKSDC, ensuring the protection, management and utilisation of South African indigenous knowledge for the direct and indirect benefit of the concerned communities and rights holders.

The primary function of the three communities is to assume responsibility for community aspects related to indigenous knowledge documentation associated with the NRS project. This includes identifying indigenous knowledge holders in the community for interviews and verifying the list of holders whose knowledge is to be catalogued and recorded.

This cooperation agreement marks a significant step forward in the protection and preservation of South Africa's rich indigenous knowledge, fostering collaboration between academic institutions and local communities for mutual benefit.


Kgosi Phenyo Motshegare from the Barolong booMotshegare community and Dr Motheo Koitsiwe, director of the NWU IKS Centre.

Submitted on Mon, 04/08/2024 - 11:14