Martie Alèt Mearns

  submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree



                  INFORMATION SCIENCE

                           in the

                 FACULTY OF HUMANITIES

                           at the


                Promotor: Prof ASA du Toit

                         May 2006

MA Mearns thesis, Department of Information and Knowledge Management,
University of Johannesburg

In this thesis the extent of indigenous knowledge (IK) conservation at cultural villages
in South Africa was investigated. A literature review was conducted to define IK
clearly, also in terms of indigenous peoples, and to determine which cultural villages
representing the South African population groups are eligible to be included in this
research. A classification of IK was done and this classification was integrated with
the activities that were identified at cultural villages.

The debate on cultural villages was discussed, including their advantages,
disadvantages, environmental and socio-economic impact, and threats were pointed
out. All the cultural villages that were operational at the time of the research were
identified and spatially presented. A census of all the cultural villages in South Africa
was conducted by using the telephonic interview surveying technique. Aspects such
as the cultural grouping representation of cultural villages in South Africa, years of
operation, busiest times and target markets, activities offered and participated in,
employment statistics and ownership were pointed out. From the results of this
survey some significant trends could be identified, especially relating to the type of
ownership of the cultural villages and the target market that they serve.

The results from the telephonic survey were used to aid in the selection of six case
studies, which were visited. Some principles of a knowledge audit were used to
determine the extent of indigenous knowledge conservation at cultural villages.
Questionnaires were developed that were used during interviews with a sample
group of the employees as well as the visitors at the cultural villages. The results of
these questionnaires were analysed and reported on. The extent of knowledge
transfer from employees to visitors was tested from both the visitors’ side and the
employees’ side. A comparative study between the six cultural villages followed, in

which the extent of IK conservation at cultural villages could be determined. A
number of statistical tests were conducted to determine whether there were
significant trends in opinions expressed by both employees and visitors and various
criteria that were selected. Best practices of the six case studies were also pointed
out, along with recommendations that could improve the conservation of IK at cultural

Indigenous knowledge, indigenous peoples, knowledge audit, cultural tourism,
cultural village, environmental impact, socio-economic impact, staged authenticity.

May 2006


I declare that Conservation of indigenous knowledge is my own work, that it has not
been submitted for any degree or examination to any other university, and that all the
sources I have used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged by complete

Martie Alèt Mearns                                    May 2006

Signed: _________________


I would like to extend a word of thanks and appreciation to all the people and
institutions that contributed to the successful completion of this study. A special word
of thanks to the following:

   •   Prof ASA du Toit of the University of Johannesburg, my promotor, for her
       assistance, encouragement and guidance.
   •   The National Research Foundation for financial assistance in this project
       through the Thuthuka grant of Dr G Mukuka of the University of Johannesburg
       as well as the University of Johannesburg’s Research Committee Post
       Graduate Bursaries.
   •   The staff at STATCON for assistance with statistical calculations.
   •   Dr John Turner and the staff of The Zulu Heritage Village for their enthusiastic
   •   Roy Newlands and the staff of Kwabhekithunga for their insight and
   •   Rob More, former owner of Shangana Cultural Village, and the staff at
       Shangana for their assistance.
   •   Mr Makashane, head of Basotho Cultural Village, and Mr Thabana, Senior
       advisor, for their patient assistance.
   •   The staff of Shakaland for their assistance.
   •   The staff of Lesedi Cultural Village for their assistance.
   •   Prof M de Jongh of the University of South Africa for his advice prior to starting
       the research.
   •   Julian and Kirsty Kotze for their time and interest expressed via valuable e-
       mail correspondence.
   •   My family for their support.
   •   Kevin, for your faith in me, your help, patience and encouragement.


ABSTRACT                                                               ii

LIST OF FIGURES                                                       xii

LIST OF TABLES                                                       xvi

ABBREVIATIONS                                                       xviii

1. INTRODUCTION                                                        1
  1.1. Background                                                      1
  1.2. Problem statement                                               7
  1.3. Purpose of the study                                            8
  1.4. Research methodology                                            9
     1.4.1. The knowledge audit                                        9
     1.4.2. Advantages and disadvantages of surveying techniques      12
     1.4.3. Suggestions when researching indigenous knowledge         14

  2.1. Introduction                                                   18
     2.1.1. What is indigenous knowledge?                             18
     2.1.2. Characteristics of indigenous knowledge                   26
     2.1.3. Why is indigenous knowledge important?                    34
  2.2. The classification of indigenous knowledge                     35
     2.2.1. Learning systems and communication                        36
     2.2.2. Local classification and quantification                   36
     2.2.3. Beliefs                                                   37
     2.2.4. Community organisation and human resources                37
     2.2.5. Health and medicine                                       37
     2.2.6. Natural resources                                         38
     2.2.7. Agricultural techniques                                   38
     2.2.8. Technology, tools and materials                           38
  2.3. Integrating cultural village activities and classification     40
  2.4. Types of indigenous knowledge and communities of practice      43

  2.5. Conclusion                                                  45

  3.1. Introduction                                                46
  3.2. Cultural tourism                                            46
     3.2.1. The environmental impacts of tourism                   47
     3.2.2. The socio-cultural impacts of tourism                  48
     3.2.3. Threats to the future of cultural tourism              55
  3.3. The cultural village debate                                 57
  3.4. Telephonic interview                                        62
  3.5. Conclusion                                                  63

  4.1. Introduction                                                64
  4.2. General discussion of telephonic interviews                 64
     4.2.1. Representation of cultural groups                      65
     4.2.2. Number of years that cultural villages have been in    66
     4.2.3. Ownership of the cultural village                      66
     4.2.4. Number of visitors accommodated                        67
     4.2.5. Busiest times                                          67
     4.2.6. Target market of the cultural villages                 69
     4.2.7. Appointments, fees and types of tours                  70
     4.2.8. Activities offered at cultural villages                71
     4.2.9. Activities participated in at cultural villages        75
     4.2.10. Staff employment                                      76
  4.3. Cross tabulations relating to ownership                     79
     4.3.1. How many visitors do you accommodate on average in a   79
           typical week?
     4.3.2. Which day(s) of the week is/are your busiest time?     81
     4.3.3. Do you charge an entrance fee? / Do visitors pay       82
           additional fees?
     4.3.4. Offered activity – collection of firewood              84

     4.3.5. Offered activity – traditional games                      84
     4.3.6. Offered activity – weaponry demonstration                 85
     4.3.7. Offered activity – rites of passage / initiation          86
     4.3.8. Participation activity – dancing                          87
     4.3.9. How many people are permanently employed in the           87
           cultural village?
     4.3.10. What percentage of the permanently employed people       88
           are actively involved in the transfer of knowledge about
           the culture?
     4.3.11. How many people are temporarily employed in the          89
           cultural village?
     4.3.12. Are permanent staff employed on the basis of their       89
           knowledge of the culture?
     4.3.13. Are seasonal/temporary staff employed on the basis of    90
           their knowledge of the culture?
  4.4. Cross tabulations relating to target market                    91
     4.4.1. Number of visitors accommodated in a typical week         91
     4.4.2. Busiest days of the week                                  92
     4.4.3. Busiest time of year                                      92
     4.4.4. Charging of fees                                          92
     4.4.5. Permanently employed staff actively involved in the       92
          transfer of knowledge
     4.4.6. Number of seasonally or temporarily employed staff        93
     4.4.7. Seasonal/temporary staff employed on the basis of         93
          knowledge of the culture
     4.4.8. Number of activities offered                              93
  4.5. Selection of case studies                                      93
  4.6. Visitor questionnaire                                          96
  4.7. Employee questionnaire                                         97
  4.8. Conclusion                                                     98

  5.1. Introduction                                                   99

5.2. Basotho Cultural Village                                             99
   5.2.1. Basotho employee questionnaire                                 101   Biographical information                                101   Knowledge transfer                                      101   Recommendations                                         106
   5.2.2. Basotho visitor questionnaire                                  107   Biographical information                                107   Cultural tourism trends                                 107   Knowledge acquired                                      108   Opinion on commercial exploitation or conservation of   119
                 the culture   Rating of overall experience and recommendations        120
5.3. Shangana Cultural Village                                           122
   5.3.1. Shangana employee questionnaire                                123   Biographical information                                123   Knowledge transfer                                      124   Recommendations                                         126
   5.3.2. Shangana visitor questionnaire                                 128   Biographical information                                128   Cultural tourism trends                                 128   Knowledge acquired                                      128   Opinion on commercial exploitation or conservation of   140
                 the culture   Rating of overall experience and recommendations        141
5.4. Lesedi Cultural Village                                             142
   5.4.1. Lesedi employee questionnaire                                  143   Biographical information                                143   Knowledge transfer                                      143   Recommendations                                         146
   5.4.2. Lesedi visitor questionnaire                                   147   Biographical information                                147   Cultural tourism trends                                 147   Knowledge acquired                                      147   Opinion on commercial exploitation or conservation of   159

                 the culture   Rating of overall experience and recommendations        159
5.5. Kwabhekithunga/Stewart’s Farm                                       160
   5.5.1. Kwabhekithunga employee questionnaire                          161   Biographical information                                161   Knowledge transfer                                      162   Recommendations                                         164
   5.5.2. Kwabhekithunga visitor questionnaire                           165   Biographical information                                165   Cultural tourism trends                                 165   Knowledge acquired                                      166   Opinion on commercial exploitation or conservation of   174
                 the culture   Rating of overall experience and recommendations        175
5.6. Shakaland                                                           176
   5.6.1. Shakaland employee questionnaire                               176   Biographical information                                177   Knowledge transfer                                      177   Recommendations                                         180
   5.6.2. Shakaland visitor questionnaire                                180   Biographical information                                180   Cultural tourism trends                                 180   Knowledge acquired                                      181   Opinion on commercial exploitation or conservation of   190
                 the culture   Rating of overall experience and recommendations        191
5.7. The Zulu Heritage Village – Babanango Valley                        192
   5.7.1. Zulu Heritage Village employee questionnaire                   193   Biographical information                                193   Knowledge transfer                                      193   Recommendations                                         196
   5.7.2. Zulu Heritage Village visitor questionnaire                    196   Biographical information                                196   Cultural tourism trends                                 196

                                                                           x    Knowledge acquired                                      197    Opinion on commercial exploitation or conservation of   205
                    the culture    Rating of overall experience and recommendations        206
  5.8. Conclusion                                                           206
  6.1. Introduction                                                         208
  6.2. Comparative study                                                    208
     6.2.1. Comparative statistics                                          209    Comparative employee statistics                         209    Comparative visitor statistics                          211
     6.2.2. The top most informative and least informative activities       213
     6.2.3. Commercial exploitation vs. conservation of the culture         218
     6.2.4. Rating of overall experience                                    219
  6.3. Best practices                                                       221
     6.3.1. Basotho Cultural Village                                        221
     6.3.2. Shangana Cultural Village                                       223
     6.3.3. Lesedi Cultural Village                                         223
     6.3.4. Kwabhekithunga/Stewart’s Farm                                   224
     6.3.5. Shakaland                                                       224
     6.3.6. The Zulu Heritage Village                                       225
  6.4. Recommendations                                                      226
  6.5. Synthesis and conclusion                                             228
  6.6. Areas for future research                                            230

LIST OF REFERENCES                                                          232

APPENDIX A                                                                  241

APPENDIX B                                                                  246

APPENDIX C                                                                  250

APPENDIX D                                                                  262

APPENDIC E                                                                  264

APPENDIX F                                                                  265

                                       LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1.1    The knowledge spiral by Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995 (Frand &              5
              Hixon 1999)

Figure 2.1    The knowledge continuum (adapted from Sillitoe et al 2002:112)        28

Figure 2.2    Classification of indigenous knowledge                                39

Figure 2.3    Classification of indigenous knowledge and related activities         41

Figure 2.4    Global plotting of knowledge                                          42

Figure 3.1    Simplified model of the host-guest relationship (Holloway             49

Figure 3.2    Spatial distribution of the cultural villages of South Africa         61

Figure 4.1    Cultural groups represented by the villages                           65

Figure 4.2    How long has the cultural village been in operation?                  66

Figure 4.3    Private or commercial ownership vs. trust or other ownership          67

Figure 4.4    Busiest days of the week                                              68

Figure 4.5    Busiest months of the year                                            68

Figure 4.6    Target market of the cultural villages                                69

Figure 4.7    Proportion of visitors to the village                                 70

Figure 4.8    Appointments and charging of fees                                     71

Figure 4.9    Activities offered (singing to governing structures)                  72

Figure 4.10 Activities offered (customs to beer making)                             73

Figure 4.11 Activities offered (cleaning the house to traditional                   74

Figure 4.12 Activities offered (art to river bathing)                               74

Figure 4.13 Activities visitors can participate in (dancing to herding)             75

Figure 4.14 Activities visitors can participate in (food preparation to cleaning)   76

Figure 4.15 Permanent employees of the cultural village                             77

Figure 4.16 Employment, training and cultural grouping                              78

Figure 5.1    The spiral aloe and the sharing of the culture                   105

Figure 5.2    The chief’s guard announces the visitors on the sarankoa         110

Figure 5.3    Preparing food: grinding on a traditional grind stone            111

Figure 5.4    Food storage methods                                             111

Figure 5.5    Beer brewing and tasting                                         112

Figure 5.6    Playing marabara in the chief’s kraal                            113

Figure 5.7    The modern musical instruments of the Basotho                    113

Figure 5.8    An employee creating crafts between tours                        114

Figure 5.9    Craft on sale in the open-air museum                             114

Figure 5.10 Visitors volunteering to be dressed as traditional royalty         115

Figure 5.11 Fire shelter made for all wind directions                          115

Figure 5.12 The demonstrations at the hut of the traditional healer            116

Figure 5.13 Eleven most informative activities: Basotho Cultural Village       118

Figure 5.14 Visitors’ perception of the level of commercial exploitation vs.   120
            conservation of the culture: Basotho Cultural Village

Figure 5.15 Crafts in the reception and Marula Market                          130

Figure 5.16 Platters of traditional food served before the tour starts         131

Figure 5.17 Communicating by blowing on a kudu horn                            131

Figure 5.18 The chief and his family                                           133

Figure 5.19 Traditional Shangaan architecture                                  133

Figure 5.20 Ancestral tree with gifts to the ancestral spirits                 134

Figure 5.21 Albert Khoza and some of his crafts                                135

Figure 5.22 The sangoma with an array of products and instruments              136

Figure 5.23 Images of the evening performance                                  138

Figure 5.24 The traditional meal                                               139

Figure 5.25 Ten most informative activities: Shangana Cultural Village         140

Figure 5.26 Visitors’ perception of the level of commercial exploitation vs.     141
            conservation of culture: Shangana Cultural Village

Figure 5.27 Guide and guitar player walking along pathways between               149

Figure 5.28 Dung mixture used to prepare the floors                              150

Figure 5.29 Traditional accommodation at Lesedi                                  150

Figure 5.30 Tending crops                                                        151

Figure 5.31 Dance performances at Lesedi                                         152

Figure 5.32 Crafters in designated areas demonstrating their skill and selling   154
            their products

Figure 5.33 Traditional clothing                                                 155

Figure 5.34 Pedi men wearing Scottish kilts                                      156

Figure 5.35 Tool making or usage                                                 157

Figure 5.36 Ten most informative activities: Lesedi Cultural Village             158

Figure 5.37 Visitors’ perception of commercial exploitation vs. conservation     159
            of the culture: Lesedi Cultural Village

Figure 5.38 Visitors viewing the traditional architecture                        167

Figure 5.39 Zulu maidens carrying traditional Zulu dishes the traditional way    168

Figure 5.40 Dancing participation and performances at Kwabhekithunga             169

Figure 5.41 Visitors learning to play Zulu drums                                 170

Figure 5.42 Visiting children learning to make their own Zulu crafts             170

Figure 5.43 Traditional dress of Zulu men, maidens and married women             171

Figure 5.44 Zulu maiden allowing visitors to experience medicinal plants and     172
            the traditional healer with her apprentice

Figure 5.45 Ten most informative activities: Kwabhekithunga                      173

Figure 5.46 Visitors’ perception of the level of commercial exploitation vs.     175
            conservation of the culture: Kwabhekithunga

Figure 5.47 Information boards provided at Shakaland                             182

Figure 5.48 Musical performance before tour commences                            183

Figure 5.49 Layout of the homestead                                             184

Figure 5.50 Making of traditional clothing and grass weaving                    184

Figure 5.51 Explaining war procedures                                           185

Figure 5.52 Sampling Zulu food and attempting to carry water pots               186

Figure 5.53 Dancing and singing performances                                    187

Figure 5.54 (a) Traditional clothing and household products; (b) Testing the    189
            beer; (c) Traditional healer and apprentice; (d) Medicinal plants
            pointed out

Figure 5.55 Eleven most informative activities: Shakaland                       190

Figure 5.56 Visitors’ perception of the level of commercial exploitation vs.    191
            conservation of the culture: Shakaland

Figure 5.57 Traditional welcome                                                 198

Figure 5.58 Traditional architecture                                            199

Figure 5.59 Stick fighting demonstrated as a game played by Zulu boys           200

Figure 5.60 Cooking practices                                                   202

Figure 5.61 Grain storage methods                                               202

Figure 5.62 Cattle kraals                                                       203

Figure 5.63 Single room separated into sitting area and sleeping quarters       203

Figure 5.64 Top ten most informative activities: The Zulu Heritage Village      204

Figure 5.65 Visitors’ perception of the level of commercial exploitation vs.    205
            conservation of the culture: The Zulu Heritage Village

Figure 6.1   Twelve most informative activities according to all visitor        214

Figure 6.2   Thirteenth to 23rd most informative activities according to all    216
             visitor respondents

Figure 6.3   Ten least informative activities according to all visitor          217
             respondents (activities 24-33)

Figure 6.4   Summary of visitors’ overall experience in all the case studies    220

                                       LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1    Listing of activities at various cultural villages according to     40

Table 4.1    Cross-table: Ownership relating to visitor numbers                  79

Table 4.2    Fabricated table indicating no significant trend                   80

Table 4.3    Cross-table: Ownership relating to Monday as busiest day            81

Table 4.4    Cross-table: Ownership relating to Friday as busiest day            82

Table 4.5    Cross-table: Ownership relating to entrance fee                     82

Table 4.6    Cross-table: Ownership relating to additional fees                  83

Table 4.7    Cross-table: Ownership relating to collection of firewood          84

Table 4.8    Cross-table: Ownership relating to traditional games               85

Table 4.9    Cross-table: Ownership relating to weaponry demonstration           86

Table 4.10   Cross-table: Ownership relating to rites of passage / initiation    86

Table 4.11   Cross-table: Ownership relating to participation in dancing        87

Table 4.12   Cross-table: Ownership relating to permanent employees              88

Table 4.13   Cross-table: Ownership relating to permanent employees              88
             transferring knowledge

Table 4.14   Cross-table: Ownership relating to temporary or seasonal            89

Table 4.15   Cross-table: Ownership relating to permanent staff knowledge        90

Table 4.16   Cross-table: Ownership relating to seasonal/temporary staff         91

Table 4.17   Selection of cultural villages for case studies                     95

Table 5.1    Perceptions of employees: Basotho Cultural Village                 103

Table 5.2    Perceptions of visitors at Basotho Cultural Village                109

Table 5.3    Perceptions of employees: Shangana Cultural Village                125

Table 5.4    Perceptions of visitors at Shangana Cultural Village               129

Table 5.5    Perceptions of employees: Lesedi Cultural Village                144

Table 5.6    Perceptions of visitors at Lesedi Cultural Village               148

Table 5.7    Perception of employees: Kwabhekithunga                          163

Table 5.8    Perceptions of visitors: Kwabhekithunga/Stewarts Farm            166

Table 5.9    Perceptions of employees: Shakaland                              178

Table 5.10   Perceptions of visitors at Shakaland                             181

Table 5.11   Perceptions of employees: The Zulu Heritage Village              194

Table 5.12   Perceptions of visitors at The Zulu Heritage Village             197

Table 6.1    Perceptions of employees: All case studies combined              210

Table 6.2    Cultural villages visited in the past two years                  212

Table 6.3    Opinions expressed on the extent of recommendation, motivation   213
             and authenticity

                    LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

CEO      Chief Executive Officer

CIRAN    Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks

CSIR     Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

IIRR     International Institute of Rural Reconstruction

IK       Indigenous knowledge

IKS      Indigenous knowledge systems

IUCN     World Conservation Union

IWGIA    International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs

MOST     Management of Social Transformations Programme

NRF      National Research Foundation

Nuffic   Netherlands organization for international cooperation in
         higher education

PRA      Participatory rural appraisal

RRA      Rapid rural appraisal

UN       United Nations


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