Indigenous knowledge systems: a synthesis of Batonga people’s traditional knowledge on weather dynamism
The introduction of technology and modernization has undermined and neglected local or indigenous knowledge for communities in predicting climatic and weather changes although indigenous knowledge has shown to be of great importance in agriculture and development practices for rural communities. Indigenous knowledge is facing a risk of being side-lined despite holding the key to dealing with the risks posed by climate change. This study assessed the utilisation of indigenous knowledge in predicting seasons by the BaTonga people in Binga District, Zimbabwe. BaTonga people in the past used indigenous knowledge to predict the seasonal phenomenon in each year. Rural communities face hazards that disturb food security, social development, and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The indigenous knowledge helped the BaTonga people to come up with means to cope with the effects of disasters such as starvation by farming in valleys and flood plains, storing excess food and praying to their gods to bring more rain and to control pests. In the face of widespread of innovation and technological advancements, traditional knowledge system is on the downward trajectory despite its value in community development discourse. Therefore it is imperative to revive such knowledge systems and harness it with scientific knowledge in an attempt to answering climatic challenges in rural Zimbabwe and beyond.
Keywords: traditional knowledge systems, BaTonga people, Binga, Zimbabwe, weather, agriculture, food security, disaster management