Ulwazi Lwakdala – Indigenous knowledge in Science


A short film about integrating indigenous knowledge alongside classroom science in Grahamstown, South Africa. It focuses on a research project started by Maren Seehawer and 5 local teachers aiming to discover how indigenous knowledge can inspire better learning, improve student contribution and make science more relatable. Through the experience of a school learner at Tantyi Primary School this film shows that indigenous knowledge has made a positive impact on his life and future career endeavors. It is an exploration of bringing two worlds, home and science, together.

The film begins with an avid learner, Lithe-tha, who was first introduced to indigenous knowledge in the classroom at Tantyi Primary school in 2015. His teacher, Mr Nuntsu demonstrates to us how he builds the bridges between knowledge at home and knowledge at school. A fundamental role in this knowledge project is encouraging students to bring back knowledge from their elders, parents and siblings on indigenous knowledge. Furthermore, we meet Nomzi who offers insight on indigenous practices and cultural values and why they are important. Later we meet Maren, PHD student, a member of the research project. She speaks on how indigenous knowledges can serve as a tool which not only offers alternatives to western science but also allow for a practical and relatable take on education. Lastly, Lithe-tha reveals the potential in integrating indigenous knowledge alongside classroom science. He inspires a hope in bringing about a change in the South African science curriculum.

Report by Tess Miles, Thingo Mthombeni

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