An exploratory study of indigenous knowledge systems of housing in the Xhosa households
Rozani, Funeka Nozibele
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Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) refer to the complex set of knowledge and technologies existing and developed around specific conditions of populations and communities indigenous to a particular geographic area. Indigenous knowledge systems of housing therefore refer to the complex set of knowledge and technologies regarding housing, held by populations and communities in particular geographic areas. Xhosa indigenous knowledge systems of housing in this study, refer to the set of knowledge and technologies regarding housing, held by the Xhosa people of the Eastern Cape. Housing refers to the variety of processes through which habitable, stable and sustainable public and private residential environments are created for viable households and communities. All the data regarding the Xhosa indigenous knowledge systems of housing is collected through the use of various data gathering methods. The data gathering methods used are the following: literature review; focus group interviews with rural current households and pen-urban households; individual interviews with the rural elderly households and photographs of Xhosa indigenous housing. The advantage of using multiple methods of gathering data is that it renders the study trustworthy. The data that is collected explores the concept of place, through its various constituents, which are the following: activities, conceptions and physical attributes. The results drawn from this research indicate that the Xhosa men and women of Gqebenya and Ezibeleni possess indigenous knowledge systems of housing. For example the results indicate that the respondents shared common conceptions, performed universal activities and occupied physical parameters that were common to all, depending on whether they were rural or peri-urban. The conclusions of the study also point out to a limitation that the results from this study cannot be generalised over all the Xhosa speaking people as the Xhosa are comprised of many different but related factions. Since the main aim of this study was to document this knowledge that has always been passed orally from generation to generation. it has therefore contributed to the larger body of knowledge in that it has exposed undiscovered facts and principles of IKS of housing. The documented Xhosa indigenous knowledge systems of housing in turn have the potential of leading to other important research in housing and other related fields.