In folklore, the wise person is always an old person. They hold all the knowledge of the tribe or village. Just as wisdom has a human archive, so it is stored at the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge.
Researchers at the World Bank define indigenous knowledge as "the local knowledge… that is unique to a given culture or society … It encompasses the skills, experiences and insights of people, applied to maintain or improve their livelihood."
Such local knowledge is invaluable, particularly in understanding the natural environment, and is a vital tool, especially for poorer people to manage small-scale farming, tend domestic animals and conduct basic health care. Loss of this knowledge in rapidly changing political and economic circumstances often leaves poorer people, or indigenous locals, vulnerable, with little understanding of the new paradigm and limited experience in adapting swiftly to new circumstances.
In many instances, new knowledge is wildly at odds with local systems, which ensure long-term sustainability of resources. It is also often responsible for introducing practices that lead to political destabilisation and loss of resources. It is essential, then, to preserve indigenous knowledge, as it can be transferred, adapted and/or adopted elsewhere to the benefit of all.
Centre for Indigenous Knowledge
At Freedom Park, the //hapo Museum's exhibits present extensive South African and African indigenous knowledge and indigenous knowledge systems. These exhibits also fall under the Pan African Archives, which preserves such teachings for future generations. The exhibits comprise artefacts and information on how Africans lived, going back some 4 000 years, and showcases African innovations and achievements.