Learning about nurturant care of the Barotse floods of western province of Zambia.
Ngoma, Matongo Constantine
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The background to this study had its genesis from the fact that little was known about indigenous nurturant care-based knowledge, values as well as competences and practices that have enabled the Lozi people of western Zambia to co-exist with floods over centuries and how such knowledge, values, competences could relate to environmental learning about aquatic ecosystem management. The study argues that nurturant care-based indigenous knowledge, values, competences and practices could provide learning opportunities for aquatic ecosystem management in rural areas or village landscapes better than modern techniques which primarily draw from the ‘hazard’ approach to floods. The study was guided by the following objectives: i) to determine indigenous nurturant care-based knowledge and values that have enabled the Lozi people to care for and co-exist with floods; ii) to establish indigenous competences and practices the Lozi people use to co-exist with floods; and iii) to examine the relevance of indigenous knowledge, values as well as practices to learning aquatic ecosystem management in contemporary society. The aim was to investigate indigenous nurturant care-based knowledge, values, competences and practices that enabled the Lozi people of Western Zambia to care for and co-exist with floods over centuries and how such could relate to learning about Aquatic Ecosystem Management. A case study was used in Lealui Ward area in the Barotse floodplains of Mongu District, Western Zambia. The sample consisted of thirty (30) drawn from the target population of twenty-four (24) indigenous Lozi adults’ respondents who live and utilizes the Barotse plains in Lealui, six (6) local leaders like village headmen and senior traditional leaders known as area indunas. Primary data was collected using semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and observations. Secondary data was collected through analysis of documents. Data collected was analyzed thematically using hermeneutic narrative analysis (HNA). Within triangulation method was used to check on consistency and validate data. The study revealed that the benefits indigenous people derived from the flood plains was the reason they cared and value the Barotse plains for survival and continued existence. In addition, the study revealed that traditional knowledge among the Lozi adults was important in co-existence and adaptation to watery environment. The study findings showed that traditional knowledge is cardinal for society’s continued existence and adaptation strategies which enhance conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The study findings also revealed that the practices included building settlements on mounds; construction of canals for drainage purpose, communication, irrigation and transport of goods; two type of residences in the floodplain and on the upper land; different types of gardens or fields. The study further revealed the competences which enabled the Lozi adults to co-exist with flood environment were paddling, swimming, blacksmith, repairing and boat building. Finally, the study findings revealed that indigenous nurturant care-based knowledge, values and practices are relevant in diversified production system, restraint in resource exploitation, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and adaptation. The study concluded that floods are a source of happiness among the indigenous people of Barotseland of Western Zambia. Among the Lozi a good rain season is one that covers the entire floodplain. The people of Barotseland value the Barotse floodplain because of the many derived benefits. The following were the recommendations: to develop improved governance and regulatory models built on the strength of both traditional authority system and the national fisheries policy guidelines; government through the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries to supply irrigation equipments to farmers in Barotse floodplain to boost agriculture and enhance food security in the province and gazette Barotse floodplain as an Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) in Western Zambia. Key words: aquatic ecosystem management, floods, nurturant care, indigenous knowledge
The University of Zambia
- Education