Southern African Journal of Environmental Education

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Viewpoint: Indigenous knowledge systems and environmental social work education: Towards environmental sustainability

Mogomme Alpheus Masoga, Allucia Lulu Shokane


Prior to colonisation, most indigenous communities were using indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) as part of their livelihood. The livelihoods of rural and indigenous peoples and those living in poverty are often closely tied to the use of biodiversity. Positive action, if taken in these communities, could decrease pressure from climate change impacts. Indigenous knowledge can be a sustainable development and livelihood tool that can be used throughout the Global South. The key research question explored in this paper is: Which IKS applied by marginalised communities can be used by environmental education and social workers to advance environmental sustainability? Afro-sensed and sustainable livelihood approaches have been adopted to guide the theoretical framework. The qualitative research methodology followed a descriptive and explorative design. The research findings concluded that the integration of IKS in social work and environmental education can contribute to environmental sustainability efforts. Finally, a recommendation is made on how social sciences and educational practitioners can work with marginalised communities to adapt IKS.

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