Silencing and Sharing Southern African Indigenous and Embedded Knowledge

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    Increasingly, more intangible aspects of Indigenous being and heritage are being explored and made known. Though battles over land restitution, the repatriation of people and objects, and related issues are by no means settled, making explicit the systems of thought embedded in these places, people and objects helps overturn stereotypes of Indigenous people as removed from the arena of socio-political action. Fortunately, the last decade has seen unparalleled growth in Indigenous creativity and the empowered transmission of Indigenous knowledge. Indeed, many non-Indigenes are beginning to understand the possibility of a world in which multiple contextually contingent systems of knowledge can operate. Yet willful ignorance persists. In southern Africa Indigenous issues are complicated by c. 2, 000 years of successive human colonisations that have resulted in dangerously ill-defined and shifting terms such as`Africanas`African', `Indigenous' and`Firstand`First Nation'. This definitional danger combines with the legacy of Apartheid and a crisis of representation to silence Indigenous knowledge. However, there are encouraging signs that the sharing of Indigenous and Embedded knowledge can act as points of anchorage; reintroducing the potent but eroded role of ritual and storytelling in daily life. The power of words and silences Words and silences are powerful things. They hunt together, feeding off each other contrapuntally. The force of a word depends on the quality and texture of the silences surrounding it. Similarly, the valence of a silence is shaped by the words that extend or interrupt it. Words and silences are seldom neutral.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIndigenous archaeologies
    Subtitle of host publicationDecolonising theory and practice
    EditorsClaire Smith, Martin Wobst
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)0203215052
    ISBN (Print)0415309654
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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