Efficacy of Culture Houses and Centres in the Acquisition, Preservation, and Dissemination of Indigenous Knowledge in Zimbabwe

Efficacy of Culture Houses and Centres in the Acquisition, Preservation, and Dissemination of Indigenous Knowledge in Zimbabwe

Josiline Phiri Chigwada (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe) and Blessing Chiparausha (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0838-0.ch014
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Abstract

This chapter documents the role played by culture centres and houses in the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge (IK) in a digital era in Zimbabwe. It states the ethical issues involved when acquiring, preserving and disseminating IK in the digital era. A history of culture houses and centres was studied and a literature review of the role of culture centres was done. In Zimbabwe, it was noted that culture houses and centres do not have a web presence. However, there are challenges that are met by information specialists working in these culture houses and centres in the process of managing IK. These challenges are part of the ethical issues that should be considered in the production, access and use of IK. Recommendations have been put forward that would help culture houses and centres in their bid to manage IK in the digital era.
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Background

Acquisition, preservation and dissemination are part of indigenous knowledge management which have been greatly affected by the advent of information communication technologies (ICTs). Indigenous knowledge (IK) is also regarded as one of the areas which are under threat of being extinct. Culture houses or centres were identified as one of the areas where IK can be safeguarded since most of the knowledge is not documented and is unique to a given culture, community or society. According to the Cultural Policy of Zimbabwe, (Zimbabwe, 2007), culture centres were supposed to be established in the provinces, districts and villages where major cultural events can be promoted. There was also need to strengthen existing culture centres. The Constitution of Zimbabwe, (Zimbabwe, 2013) says that the state must take measures to preserve, protect and promote IK in medicine and other properties of animal and plant life possessed by local communities. It is against this background that this chapter is addressing the role that is played by culture centres in the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge in the digital era in Zimbabwe.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intellectual Property Rights: Ownership rights legally granted to indigenous people with the aim of protecting their works.

Culture House: An organisation or building that promotes culture and arts.

Dissemination: The process of spreading widely the accessibility and usability of indigenous knowledge.

Mbende/Jerusarema: A traditional dance that is practised in Murehwa District.

Preservation: The act of keeping indigenous knowledge safe and protecting it from being extinct.

Indigenous Knowledge: Ways of knowing and thinking that are unique to a certain culture and community and are passed from one generation to another through oral means.

Ethics: A set of principles of right conduct when dealing with indigenous knowledge research.

N’angas: A person who heals using herbs, religious advice and spiritual guidance.

Digitisation: Ways of providing access to rare and fragile materials using information communication technologies.

Acquisition: The act of getting indigenous knowledge from the IK holders so that it can be made accessible to a wider community.

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