Taboos as Part of Communal Teaching on Children Safety and Biodiversity Sustainability

Keywords: learning; taboos; superstitions; biodiversity; nature conservation


Aspects of folklore, such as taboos, myths and superstitions, have to some extent been instrumental in influencing social behaviour. Taboos in themselves contain profound indigenous knowledge systems. This study acknowledges that the concept of taboos varies from one culture to another. The researcher preferred the qualitative approach for this study, since it appreciates the fact that knowledge and information do not reside in one specific place—information can be sourced from various places. By using taboos in modelling behaviour, the Social Cognitive Theory is significant as it suggests that learning of any kind occurs in a social context where a person interacts with learned experiences and the environment. This theory focuses on the active interaction between person, behaviour, and environment. The study discusses the use of taboos in the protection of, for instance, tree species, small creatures, medicinal plants and water cleanliness. It has shown that children, to some extent, have acquired knowledge on safety and how to protect nature due to the use of taboos.

Author Biography

Isaac K. Mndawe, University of Johannesburg

Department of African Languages - Lecturer