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  • learning about biodiversity Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Plants

    CAPS In January 2012, a single comprehen-sive Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was put in place for each subject. As this section of Veld & Flora is specifically targeting the Further education and training (FET) phase that incorporates grades 10 to 12, we will be highlighting sections in which Veld & Flora can be used as a resource to compliment the FET curriculum. The whole FET CAPS can be downloaded from http://w w w.educat ion.gov.za/Curr iculum/CurriculumAssessmentPolicyStatements/CAPSFETPhase/tabid/420/Default.aspx.

    Be informed about Traditional Knowledge Systems Veld & Flora updates teachers and learners on what is happening in the world of science, especially in Life Sciences and Geography. Even if an article is not directly about teaching the curriculum, it will widen your and your classs general knowledge, and give you a step up the academic ladder. Download this Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Plants fact sheet and the poster overleaf on the BotSoc website http://www.botanicalsociety.org.za.

    An excerpt from the new Life Sciences curriculum for Grade 11TERM 4. STRAND 3: ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES Organisms interact with other organisms and with the environments in which they live. This section is structured in such a way that learners must explore the impact of people on their environments (global, international and local). Learners are encouraged to look for, and suggest, solutions to local environmental problems. The intention is that the behaviour of the learners will be modified to become more sensitive to environmental issues.TOPIC: Human impact on the environment: Current crises forhuman survival: problems to be solved within the next generation.


    Food security (link with population dynamics) Human exponential population growth. Droughts and floods (climate change). Poor farming practices: monoculture, pest control,

    loss of topsoil and the need for fertilisers. Alien plants and reduction of agricultural land. Loss of wild varieties: impact on gene pools. Genetically engineered foods. Wastage.

    Loss of biodiversity (the sixth extinction) Habitat destruction: farming methods e.g.

    overgrazing and monoculture, golf estates, mining, urbanization, deforestation; loss of wetlands and grasslands.

    Poaching e.g. for rhino horn, ivory, bush meat. Alien plant invasion: control by mechanical,

    chemical, biological methods. Indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable

    use of the environment e.g. Devils Claw, Rooibos, fynbos, African Potato (Hypoxis), Hoodia.


    Practical observation of ONE example of human influence on the environment in the local area (e.g.impact of alien species on biodiversity). Written report on the chosen example.

    Read articles and make suggestions.


    Textbooks.Reference books. Reports in the media.Share- Net booklets.

    Medicinal and Charm Plants of Pondoland by Domitilla Raimondo

    The first ever publication to document the use of plants by the amaMpondo, Medicinal and Charm Plants of Pondoland by Domatilla Raimondo, Tony Dold, Tony Abbott and Sinegugu Zukulu was recently launched at the Umtamvuna

    Nature Reserve in Pondoland, an undeveloped wilderness area on the east coast of South Africa stretching between Port Edward and Port St Johns. Pondoland has over 2500 plant species 220 of which are endemic to the region occurring nowhere else on earth. It is recognized by conservationists worldwide as a biodiversity hotspot. The region is however under imminent threat from the proposed expansion of a large multi-lane national highway and from opencast mining. The amaMpondo people who live in this region have a rich culture which includes extensive customary and medicinal use of local species, particularly the plants. Many of the plant species that occur only in this region are central to healing practices and rituals that are unique to the amaMpondo.

    Like many ancient healing traditions, the amaMpondo have a broad, holistic approach to health care. Traditional Mpondo medicines and charms, called amayeza, include many plants used to treat a wide range of illnesses. These plants are also used for cultural and religious purposes, such as ritual purification, protection against witchcraft and religious ceremonies. Whereas

    Western health care is based on curing physical symptoms, many Mpondo people attribute disease and misfortune to metaphysical powers, which can be controlled with the correct use of amayeza. For the amaMpondo, misfortune and ill health are caused by a breach of customs and traditions or by supernatural powers. Herbal remedies and charms are used in rituals to appease the ancestors, to protect against evil forces and to remove ritual impurity. Medicinal and Charm Plants of Pondoland describes sixty amayeza plants and their uses, based on information from interviews conducted with four herbalists, Ixhwele Mashona Sulamntwana Wetu Dlamini, Inyanga Samson Jakalas Gampe, Umnumzana Sizwe Mistoli Shezi and Umnumzana Mpondombini Sixteen Danca.

    The information in this book will be of relevance to anyone interested in plants in the region, but it is primarily aimed at school pupils. Despite the international fame of the Pondoland Biodiversisty Hotspot, the majority of the AmaMpondo people who live in this region are not aware of their unique natural heritage. The knowledge of which plants are used in rituals and for healing is typically held with the elder generation and the youth of the region are not learning from the elders about how biodiversity traditionally has played a key role in their lives. This knowledge is of prime importance to ensure the long term valuing and therefore conservation of these species.

    Medicinal and Charm Plants of Pondoland was produced and published by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) with financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AVIS. The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) sponsored the printing of 5000 books. It is available from the BotSoc at bookshop@botsoc-kirstenbosch.org.za.

    DECEMBER 2012 | VELD&FLORA 167


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