Mechanisms of Ethnomathematical Knowledge Transmission amongst AmaNdebele women: Ways of Transmitting Indigenous Knowledge


  • Monicca Bhuda University of Mpumalanga
  • Talkmore Saurombe North-West University


AmaNdebele, Ethnomathematics, women, transmission, Indigenous knowledge, mechanisms, taboos


Indigenous peoples have their own methods for classifying and transmitting knowledge, just as they have Indigenous ways of deriving a livelihood from their environment. Knowledge and techniques are passed down from one generation to another and they are constantly improved. Guided by the eZiko Sipheka Sisophula theory, the study aimed to investigate how AmaNdebele women have passed ethnomathematical knowledge from one generation to another. This study used the Indigenous research methodologies, which are appropriate for Indigenous studies. An ethnographic research designed was used for this study. Making use of focus group interviews, in-depth interviews and observations, ten (10) participants selected through convenient sampling procedure were interviewed on their views and practices on ethnomathematical knowledge transmission. An observation guide was also used to capture activities during data collection. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis and various themes were identified. Triangulation was done through field notes and observations. The results of this study show that ethnomathematical knowledge (in beadwork and mural art) is passed down from mother to daughter using different strategies such as observations, oral knowledge sharing and participation developed by AmaNdebele women. This is to prepare young girls for married life and for the big task of painting their first homes known as iqathana in the presence of their in-laws and making beaded attires for their entire family. Such is practiced in order to preserve and protect this knowledge so that it can be accessed by the next generation as supported by the arts and culture policy of 2004. The study also revealed that there are customary laws and protocols, which include restrictions surrounding the transmission of ethnomathematical knowledge among AmaNdebele. As a result, men are restricted from engaging in beadwork or mural painting.



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