The Ulwazi Programme: A Case Study in Community-Focused Indigenous Knowledge Management

Part of the Integrated Series in Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 35)


Prevailing ideas about knowledge management in post-apartheid South Africa have been marked by notions of redress, the recognition of previously marginalized narratives and categories such as intangible heritage and indigenous knowledge. Key to these developments has been a democratizing turn, a participatory approach to the development and management of knowledge resources. Born of changes in the broader political context and the policy environment, the Ulwazi Programme is a new South African heritage initiative that has been set up by the eThekwini Municipal Library’s Libraries and Heritage Department to preserve and disseminate indigenous knowledge of local communities in the greater Durban area. The Programme, in the form of a localized Wiki, functions as a collaborative online archive of local knowledge and histories that are collected from the community by volunteer fieldworkers and then shared via the Internet and on cell phones. This utilization of a combination of open-source and social media applications for archival and heritage purposes is unique in South Africa. The chapter presents the structure and the implementation details of this indigenous knowledge preservation system.


Indigenous knowledge Localized wiki Ulwazi Community engagement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McNulty ConsultingCape TownSouth Africa

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