Indigenous Knowledge Use of Clay within an African Context: Possible Documentation of Entire Clay Properties?

  • Charles Akwe Masango University of Cape Town
  • Georges Ivo Ekosse University of Venda
  • Vhonani Netshandama University of Venda


This article explores the use of indigenous knowledge in documenting applications of clay. It explores whether it is possible to document the entire properties involved in the indigenous application of clay; considering that clay properties encompass a wide variety of scientific structures, as well as spiritual healing properties. Several studies have been carried out, which documented the varied scientific properties, but of intrigue, concern is the difficulty in doing the same to the spiritual healing properties of clay, as it encompasses intangible mechanism. The challenge to documenting the spiritual elements that form part of clay properties is tantamount to documenting certain portions of properties of the indigenous use of clay, and not the entire indigenous knowledge properties of clay. The raison d'être for the exploration stems from the notion that cultures across continents and scientists have documented the use of clays for several gainful applications. The article explores African indigenous knowledge, which is tied to the properties in the use of clays that can and cannot be documented in their entirety, and advances reasons why the spiritual aspects tied to clay properties cannot be documented. The article proposes measures within Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the form of copyright, through which the entire properties involved in the indigenous knowledge use of certain clay properties could be documented in their entirety. 


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