• Indigenous peoples in South Africa

    Indigenous peoples in South Africa

    South Africa has voted in favour of adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but has yet to ratify ILO Convention No. 169.
    The indigenous San and Khoekhoe peoples of South Africa were previously known as “coloured”. Now they are exercising their right to self-identification and identify themselves as San and Khoekhoe or Khoe-San.
  • People

    1 per cent of South Africa’s population said to be indigenous. 2 new bills related to indigenous peoples knowledge and leadership.
    The indigenous San and Khoekhoe peoples of South Africa were previously known as “coloured”. Now they are exercising their right to self-identification and identify themselves as San and Khoekhoe or Khoe-San.
  • Politics

    The Khoisan Revolution, a new political party, won one seat in the Nama Khoi Local Municipality in the Namakwa District, Northern Cape Province.
  • Rights

    South Africa has voted in favour of adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but has yet to ratify ILO Convention No. 169.

South Africa: Legal recognition of indigenous knowledge

Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals is a pharmaceutical company that processes Buchu, a small shrub endemic to the Western Cape used for its essential oils. Buchu’s medicinal qualities are associated with the traditional knowledge of the Khoi khoi and San peoples. The landmark deal that has been signed confirms that the two indigenous groups are ‘legally entitled to a fair and equitable share of the benefits that result from the commercial development of the buchu plant’.

This deal is an acknowledgement of the San and the Khoi khoi’s knowledge of the medicinal plant predates that of any subsequent inhabitants of South Africa. It is all too rare for a private company to recognize, especially financially, traditional knowledge and the intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples. Under the benefit sharing agreement with Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, the Khoi khoi and San communities will receive 3 percent of the profits related to Buchu products. Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals also commits to share its knowledge of the commercial use of the plant with the indigenous communities in exchange for the San and Khoi khoi endorsing the products.

About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

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