The influence of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) on development: a case study of the Royal Bafokeng and Botswana

Nkwanyana, Nomusa
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This study explores the influence of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) on development using the Royal Bafokeng and Botswana as case studies. Africa’s development policies are decided on by the West because there has been a heavy dependence on Western epistemologies due to the legacy of colonialism. This research situated itself in the de-colonial theory and it defies the bombardment of Eurocentric development policies that have been imposed on African states without their input or participation. This follows centuries of colonisation and entrapment within the colonial matrix of power that has side-lined and even destroyed indigenous knowledge systems in African and the Global South. This study explores alternative ways of thinking about Africa's development and it foregrounds IKS and other downtrodden knowledge systems that have aided in the development of sub-states and states such as the Royal Bafokeng Nation and Botswana. This study provided a critique of the scholarly discipline of International Relations which has neglected Africa and its epistemologies from the discipline while, perpetuating the colonial perceptions of Africa and pathologising the continent as poor, war ridden and underdeveloped. This study used secondary data to analyse and fully assess the influence of IKS on development. This study centred itself as a critical analysis of IKS and its influence on development. Through the case studies of the Royal Bafokeng and Botswana, this study found out that IKS has played a fundamental role in the development of these two case studies. The case studies revealed a shared reliance upon the pre-colonial political systems which resulted in the avoidance of the resource curse. Avoiding the resource curse resulted in substantial mineral revenue that was invested in the development of the Royal Bafokeng and Botswana. However, both these case studies have benefited from other variables such as foreign investment that have played a supporting role in the development of the Royal Bafokeng and Botswana and in strengthening their economies. This study also found that although IKS has an influence on development, there are other variables at play leading to the actual formulation of a developmental program which is African-oriented.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for obtaining the degree of Master of Arts in International Relations to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, 2022