Indigenous Pottery Embedding Worldviews in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Keywords:Northern Sotho, pottery, worldviews, proverbs, indigenous knowledge systems, Ven?a
This article applies a culture-sensitive approach to an exploration of three topics related to African pottery: first, the core culture that constitutes a specific worldview, second, the socio-historical contexts of clay pots whose names are associated with verbal expressions that have been anthropologically analysed and found to be pertinent to communality, and, third, selected indigenous South African pottery mentioned in local Northern Sotho and Vhaven?a proverbs that convey local knowledge. Through interviewing potters and heritage practitioners and applying an emic view, I seek to contribute to a more accurate interpretation of African pottery meanings by emphasising the need for documentation processes to take into account indigenous languages in order to recognise the epistemological significance of indigenous pottery productions and their meanings in their respective cultures. I argue that the use of Western models to evaluate and understand local pottery meanings is problematic. A method needs to be developed to integrate African knowledge systems into mainstream knowledge production to address challenging aspects of theories currently used to describe and formulate pottery names and meanings.
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