A New Visualization Approach to Re-Contextualize Indigenous Knowledge in Rural Africa

  • Kasper Rodil
  • Heike Winschiers-Theophilus
  • Nicola J. Bidwell
  • Søren Eskildsen
  • Matthias Rehm
  • Gereon Koch Kapuire
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6947)


Current views of sustainable development recognize the importance of accepting the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of rural people. However, there is an increasing technological gap between Elder IK holders and the younger generation and a persistent incompatibility between IK and the values, logics and literacies embedded, and supported by ICT. Here, we present an evaluation of new technology that might bridge generations and preserve key elements of local IK in Namibia. We describe how we applied insights, generated by ethnographic, dialogical and participatory action research, in designing a structure in which users can store, organize and retrieve user-generated videos in ways that are compatible with their knowledge system. The structure embeds videos in a scenario-based 3D visualization of a rural village. It accounts for some of the ways this rural community manages information, socially, spatially and temporally and provides users with a recognizable 3D simulated environment in which to re-contextualize de-contextualized video clips. Our formative in situ evaluation of a prototype suggests the visualization is legible to community members, provokes participation in design discussions, offers opportunities for local appropriation and may facilitate knowledge sharing between IK holders and more youthful IK assimilators. Simultaneously differing interpretations of scenarios and modeled objects reveal the limitations of our modeling decisions and raises various questions regarding graphic design details and regional transferability.


3D visualization indigenous knowledge rural Africa design 

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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasper Rodil
    • 1
  • Heike Winschiers-Theophilus
    • 2
  • Nicola J. Bidwell
    • 3
    • 4
  • Søren Eskildsen
    • 1
  • Matthias Rehm
    • 1
  • Gereon Koch Kapuire
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Architecture, Design, and Media TechnologyAalborg UniversityDenmark
  2. 2.School of Information TechnologyPolytechnic of NamibiaNamibia
  3. 3.CSIR-MerakaCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchSouth Africa
  4. 4.Port Elizabeth South AfricaNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversitySouth Africa

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