Introduction: Key Issues in the Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions in Africa

  • Enyinna Nwauche


‘Traditional cultural expressions’ is defined in the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) document The Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions/Expressions of Folklore: Revised Objectives and Principles (hereafter WIPO Legal Options) as follows:
Traditional cultural expressions’ or ‘expressions of folklore’ are any forms, whether tangible and intangible, in which traditional culture and knowledge are expressed, appear or are manifested, and comprise the following forms of expressions or combinations thereof:
  • verbal expressions, such as:
    • stories, epics, legends, poetry, riddles and other narratives;

    • words, signs, names, and symbols;

    • musical expressions, such as songs and instrumental music;

    • expressions by action, such as dances, plays, ceremonies, rituals and other performances, whether or not reduced to a material form; and

    • tangible expressions, such as productions of art, in particular, drawings, designs, paintings (including body-painting), carvings, sculptures, pottery, terracotta, mosaic, woodwork, metal ware, jewellery, baskets, needlework, textiles, glassware, carpets, costumes; handicrafts; musical instruments; and architectural forms; which are:
      1. (a)

        the products of creative intellectual activity, including individual and communal creativity;

      2. (b)

        characteristic of a community’s cultural and social identity and cultural heritage; and

      3. (c)

        maintained, used or developed by such community, or by individuals having the right or responsibility to do so in accordance with the customary law and practices of that community.



Intellectual Property Trade Mark African State World Intellectual Property Organisation Southern African Development Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enyinna Nwauche
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of LawRhodes University GrahamstownGrahamstownSouth Africa

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