Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) Node

Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) Node



The Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Node is housed in the IKS Centre within the Faculty of Agriculture, Science and Technology at the North West University's Mafikeng Campus. The IKS Center is multidisciplinary and involved in teaching, research and community engagement across a wide range of fields, including but not limited to agriculture, African languages and literature, biodiversity, cultural diversity, law, education, leadership, astronomy, human and animal health, food security, natural resource management, climate change and renewable energy. The programmes at the Centre are designed to recognize, protect, develop and affirm IKS as a body of knowledge relevant to the knowledge economy. The holistic and community-based nature of IKS provides a foundation for link between researchers and IKS holders and practitioners in local communities.

The IKS Centre is one of the five consortium partner institutions making the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Fundation (DST-NRF) Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS). The partner institutions are the, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), North-West University (NWU), University of Limpopo (UL), University of South Africa (UNISA), and University of Venda (UNIVEN). The main responsibilities of CIKS are to facilitate research, education and training, information brokerage, networking and service rendering. This is in line with the aspirations of the South African National IKS Policy of 2004 which has identified IKS in higher education as a key component of human capital and social transformation. The Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) and the Council on Higher Education (CHE) recently approved the accreditation of a two-year Masters of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (MIKS) programme.

Apart from curriculum innovation and teaching, the IKS Centre promotes partnerships and collaboration between indigenous knowledge holders and practitioners, communities, researchers and other stakeholder institutions within the region in research, development and innovation initiatives related to the bio-economy in the region.


The vision is to become a leading centre for IKS curriculum innovation, teaching, research and community engagement in indigenous knowledge and systems.



The centre strives to play a role in contributing towards the uplifting of community livelihoods through knowledge and products generated by unlocking the full potential of IKS and promoting the recognition, development, protection and affirmation of the role of indigenous knowledge in the biosciences.



To facilitate the development of appropriate indigenous and community-based participatory methodologies in knowledge production and human capital development; To create an IKS platform for effective collaboration in research, education and training, information brokerage, networking and service rendering; To develop the next generation of IKS academics, researchers and educators for promoting sustainable development.


Strategic pillars

  • Food Security;
  • Health--Traditional Medicine and Practices ;
  • Tradition Leadership and Authority ;
  • Indigenous Astronomy;
  • Intellectual Property;
  • Environment;
  • Heritage


Current and on-going Projects

Developing, managing and implementation of an accreditation and certification system for indigenous knowledge holders and practitioners in South Africa. jointly implemented and funded by the NIKSO in the DST Production, utilisation and economic value of indigenous food crops for household food security in the North West province funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) African Traditional Medicine and the Healing Practices in the NWP  funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Documentation of wild and semi-domesticated indigenous food resources in the North-West Province funded by the North West University's Food Security & Safety Research Niche Area Impact of indigenous values, beliefs, laws and practices in the application of IKS for sustainable development among communities in the North West province funded by  the National Research Foundation (NRF)



The Centre facilitated a workshop on Intellectual Property (IP) and Commercialisation of patents by researchers that was aimed at bringing awareness among academics and researchers and knowledge holders regarding IP and commercialisation of research Participated in International Conference on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Environmental Ethics: Implications for Peace-building and Sustainable Development, 28-30 April 2015, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Housed three postdoctoral research fellows



  • The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
  • The National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office (NIKSO) of the  Department of Science and Technology (DST)
  • The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • The South African National Traditional Healers Forum (SANTHF)
  • UN High Commission for Human Rights
  • African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights Indigenous community knowledge holders and practitioners e.g. Thojane Organic
  • Farming Cooperative; Zeerust Permaculture Farm, Bagtla-Ba-Kafera
  • National Research Foundation (NRF)
  • The North West Provincial Department of Agriculture
  • The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)
  • The African National Traditional Healers Forum (SANTHF)
  • VOEM Publishing Harvey Cattle Ranches (HRC)
  • and Cili Health Sa ( Cili Bao Health) (PTY) LTD.


List of some publications

  • Marizvikuru Mwalea, Patrick J. Masikab* and Simeon A. Materecheraa Integration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and scientific validation for production and transfer of hybridized knowledge to rural communities  (SASE)
  • Murovhi NR & Materechera SA (2015): Decomposition of Subtropical Fruit Tree Leaf Litter at Nelspruit, South Africa, Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, DOI: 10.1080/00103624.2015.1011750
  • Mekoa, I. 2015. Challenges and opportunities for IKS in higher Education institutions in South Africa: politics, Ideological, institutional cultures and Structural dimensions. Indilinga - African Journal Of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Vol 14 (1) 2015
  • Iya PF (2013) Research Topic: Challenges and prospects for traditional leadership in Africa: Towards innovative ideas to enhance African values among the youth in South Africa; Iya PF Conference/Workshop where Paper Presented: Conference on "African Customary Law: Contemporary Issues" , organized by the University of South Africa (UNISA)Year of Presentation: July 2013
  • Iya PF Research Topic: Addressing the challenges of integrating African indigenous and modern Eurocentric approaches to life skills education in South Africa
  • Iya PF. Conference/Workshop. Paper Presented: Annual international SASE conference on "Building sustainable education futures for Southern African Sub-continent", organized by Southern African Society for Education 2.3 Year of Presentation: September 2013
  • Iya PF.Publication Citation: 2013) Proceedings of the 40th Annual International Conference of the Southern African Society for EducationVol 1 pp 247-264
  • Koitsiwe MT. SA (2013) Topic: Prospects and Challenges of Becoming an Indigenous Researcher; Published in Book Series: Indigenous pathways into Social Research--Voices of New Generations, published by Left Coast Press (California)-ISBN: 978-1-598-74-696-9
  • Materechera SA & Swanepoel HR. 2013. Integrating the Indigenous Kei Apple (Dovyalis Caffra) Fruit Tree into a Local Permaculture Vegetable Home Eco-gardening System among Resource-Poor Households in a Semi-Arid Environment of South Africa. ACTA Horticulturae 979:225-232.
  • Mkhabela TS & Materechera SA 2013. Influence of kraal manure application time on emergence, growth and grain yield of maize grown in two soils with contrasting textures. J. Food, Agriculture & Environment 11(1): 422-427.


Books & Book

Chapters Materechera SA. 2014. Preserving Precious Indigenous Knowledge. p. 130  of the Research Dynamics Magazine: edited by Nelia Engelbrecht and  Compiled and published by the Institutional Advancement Department of the North-West University, Potchefstroom


Contact information

Coordinator: Prof Simeon Materechera;

Communication: Mr M. Koitsiwe

IKS Centre, Faculty of Agriculture, Science & Technology, North West University (Mafikeng Campus);  


CNR Albert Luthuli & University Drive;

P/B X2046 Mmabatho 2046;

North West, South Africa;;

Tel: 0027183892453;

Fax: 0027183892738;