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Integration of indigenous knowledge and skills for the development of rural women in Kwazulu-Natal

J Shange


The improved participation of rural women in development opportunities continues to be a challenge facing many rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. This has led researchers to probe into elements within the rural social structure that may or may not possibly be influential with regard to rural socio-economic development. Recent writings on indigenous knowledge systems question the value of framing development planning in terms of the traditional knowledge and skills of indigenous people. Such thinking has brought about the notion of using indigenous knowledge as a significant resource, which could contribute to the increased participation of indigenous communities in the development process. While this article supports the integration of indigenous knowledge and skills for development, it proposes that a deeper understanding of indigenous culture and history of indigenous people is an integral component, which could improve and aid effective development. Specifically, this article suggests that an in-depth understanding and integration of culture, gender and HIV/AIDS issues in development efforts to empower rural women, could be a possible alternative development method, primarily in engaging with the economic marketplace.

Keywords: Indigenous knowledge and skills, culture, gender, development, rural