Student Projects


By Rumbidzai Chitakunye Supervisor : Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus The increasing awareness in conservation of natural resources has brought about the initiation of conservation projects such as the SCIONA project. One of its aims is at finding livelihood strengthening activities based on natural resources for Indigenous communities. Some of the activities suggested being the collecting of ethnobotanical data and ethnobotanical walks. Previous ethnobotanical data collected without the indigenous communities has shown to be incomplete, inaccurate and underutilized. The main objective of this project is to develop digital tools which promote the safeguarding of traditional plant knowledge by indigenous communities to improve livelihoods. A research through design methodology will be employed and the expected results being an ethnobotanical database which will be populated using the plant data collection application. Collected data will then be used to design ethnobotanical features for ecotourism.

03 Jun: A Digital Indigenous Knowledge Preservation Framework: The 7C Model—Repositioning IK Holders in the Digitization of IK

By Donovan Maasz Principal Supervisor: Heike Winschiers-Theophilus Associate Supervisor: Colin Stanley Indigenous Knowledge (IK) preservation and management has been taken up as a serious endeavor by various governments who have realized the value of IK as well as the opportunities given by emerging technologies. Considering the various phases and activities of indigenous knowledge management which need to be supported through adequate designs and technologies, we propose an integrative framework: the7C model. The aim is to guide design and implementation efforts as well as to identify and rectify any possible gaps in current implementation plans. The model comprises seven major phases within the indigenous knowledge digitization process, namely, co-design, conceptualization, collection, correction,curation, circulation, and creation of knowledge. We exemplify the application of the model with technologies currently developed under an indigenous knowledge holder’s toolkit promoting the agency of digitalizing indigenous knowledge across the phases.

03 Jun: Ensuring data security and protection of remote OvaHimba digital collections despite intermittent network connectivity

By Michael Bosomefi Chamunorwa Principal Supervisor : Prof. Dr. Heike Winschiers-Theophilus Associate Supervisor: Dr. Tariq Zaman Safeguarding Indigenous Knowledge through digitisation has gained momentum across the world. Countries have taken different approaches, while some have spearheaded national-driven projects others have supported community and grassroots-driven initiatives. In Namibia, national support was consolidated with existing university initiatives running different approaches concurrently. At the Namibia University of Science and Technology a community-based approach has been implemented where community representatives have been involved in the design of technologies that are used to record Indigenous Knowledge. The tools empower knowledge holders to record their data in-situ and remain the owners of the same regardless of where the data is ultimately stored. While there have been successes in using the tools to record Indigenous Knowledge, a few technical problems still exist. Firstly, there are no on-site backup mechanisms for the recorded data. As a result, the loss or corruption of a tool means the loss of the data recorded on it. Secondly, many knowledge holders reside in areas with intermittent network connectivity. Without reliable network coverage, the recorded data cannot be transferred to secondary locations for further processing and persistent storage. The transfer of data to…