WIT Press

Indigenous Knowledge, Women And Issues Of Sustainable Development


Free (open access)





Page Range

45 - 54




2,780 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


B. G. Ndawonde, E. T. Dlamini & S. N. Imenda


This paper reports the results of the study that investigated the kinds of medicinal plants sold by medicinal plant sellers at bus ranks in northern KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Among the aims of the research was to explore who the participants in the medicinal plant selling business are. The study also investigated the kinds of species that are harvested, methods of harvesting and what the medicinal plant species are used for. Since medicinal plant sellers use the medicinal plant selling business for their livelihoods, the study also investigated whether conduction of the business was profitable and environmentally sustainable. Data was collected through site visits, structured face-to-face interviews and a workshop. The results showed that the medicinal plant selling business is dominated by poor, elderly black rural women who use unsustainable methods of harvesting and selling. The study also confirmed that Africans still rely heavily on traditional medicine. The use of this type of indigenous knowledge is thriving, but unfortunately the issue of sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants is not considered. For ethical reasons and for promotion of sustainable development of rural communities, the researchers are now working with the medicinal plant sellers in an effort to teach them how to cultivate medicinal plants in their own communities. This would prevent exposing women to collecting plants in dangerous places and also from depleting medicinal plants in their natural environments. This can protect medicinal plants from being harvested to extinction. Keywords: sustainable development, rural Black women, indigenous knowledge and medicinal plants seller.


sustainable development, rural Black women, indigenous knowledge and medicinal plants seller