Original Research

Evoking the epistemology of climate governance through indigenous knowledge systems for sustainable development in rural Zimbabwe

Shingirai S. Mugambiwa
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 13, No 1 | a1024 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v13i1.1024 | © 2021 Shingirai S. Mugambiwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 July 2020 | Published: 28 April 2021

About the author(s)

Shingirai S. Mugambiwa, Department of Social Work, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa


This article seeks to establish the role of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in climate governance in pursuit of sustainable development in rural Zimbabwe. Rural communities in the developing world suffer the most from the negative effects of climate change. As such, their success in combating the effects of climate change is through establishing culture-specific methods. These methods constitute what I refer to in this article as climate governance through IKS. The impacts of climate change faced by rural communities include water shortages, drought, and floods, to mention a few. Drought is anticipated to bring about adverse consequences to water supply, which negatively affects food production and the environment in its entirety. Hence, this study investigates the methods of IKS water harvesting and other IKS-based adaptation and overall governance methods. The study employed a qualitative method in which participants took part in in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion (FGD) and data was analysed through thematic content analysis (TCA) and grounded theory. The study found that the role of spirit mediums and spirituality is essential in IKS climate governance. It also established that one of the most famous forms of climate change adaptation strategies in Mutoko district is IKS-based irrigation. The role of social networks was found to be essential in the sharing of ideas pertaining to irrigation and other adaptive methods of farming. Through the findings of the study, I developed a model that reflects and interprets indigenous-based climate governance structure in Mutoko district.


climate change; governance; indigenous knowledge systems; adaptation; resilience.


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Crossref Citations

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