Department of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Heritage Studies

About the department

The Department of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and heritage studies host the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (BIKS) a four-year professional degree. BIKS is inter-disciplinary, intra-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary in nature thus making it unique and relevant to the University of Venda’s strategic plan in the current discourse of African Renaissance, decolonization, transformation, and cultural diversity. The BIKS is categorised into four streams; Health, Agriculture, Science and Technology (Innovation), and Arts and Culture.

The main responsibilities of the Department are to facilitate research, teaching and learning, information brokerage, networking, and service rendering. The Department also promotes the recognition of a multiplicity of knowledge systems in the global knowledge economy, which are culturally, place-based, and complementary in order to mitigate against the dominance of western knowledge system in the global knowledge economy. As a knowledge system on its own merit, Indigenous Knowledge (IK) has its own worldview, epistemology, research methodology and value systems. Therefore, its promotion enables South Africa and the African continent as a whole, to enter the global knowledge economy on its own terms rather than those dictated by others. The inclusion of IK holders and practitioners in knowledge production, management, and protection, makes knowledge production, innovation, and human capital development more relevant to sustainable community livelihood and development. It breaks barriers between local communities, academia, industry, business, and government. It builds an active citizenry through mobilisation of community-based knowledge systems in the knowledge economy and sustainable development process.


• To develop, promote, preserve, and protect Indigenous Knowledge through teaching and learning, research, and community engagement


• To become a leading force in capacitating rural communities in different areas of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) through integrated rural development programmes

Undergraduate qualifications offered:

• Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge System [BIKS]

Admission requirements

The minimum admission requirement is a National Senior Certificate (NSC) as certified by the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education (UMALUSI) with an achievement rating of 4 (adequate achievement, 50-59%) or better in four subjects chosen from the recognized 20 credit NSC subjects. In addition, applicants must have a minimum point score of 30 as determined by the University (using percentages). A grade 12 certificate with exemption is required if grade 12 has been achieved before 2008, (A student must have achieved an E in English Higher Grade or a D in English Standard Grade.

Recognition of prior learning (IKS practitioners) will also be considered.

Postgraduate programmes offered:

• BA Honours in African Studies

Admission requirements

An applicant for an Honours degree programme must normally have obtained a Bachelor’s degree with a Final Mark of 60% or more. An applicant with a Final Mark of less than 60% who, in the discretion of the Department concerned, has additional related qualification and/or experience in the field, may be subjected to a written entrance test and/or an interview.

• Masters in African Studies

Admission Requirements

An applicant for a Masters degree shall have obtained an Honours degree in the same, or a similar (related), field. An applicant with a qualification obtained from another institution must apply for status recognition subject to the prescribed conditions

• Doctor of Philosophy in African Studies

Admission requirements

An applicant for a Doctoral degree programme shall have obtained a Master’s degree in the same, or a similar (related), field.

Career opportunities:

The graduates may be absorbed in the health sciences, National House of Traditional Leadership, cultural tourism, communication, agriculture, nature conservation, arts and culture, education, law, human and social sciences, physical planning and construction, government departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), traditional authorities, local municipalities, research organizations such as (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) or Human Science Research Council (HSRC), etc.

Staff profile

Full names: Adv. Dr. Pfarelo Matshidze
Designation: Senior Lecturer and Head of Department
Qualifications: BA, (Hons), UED, Postgraduate Diploma in Higher education (Rhodes), PGDI(HE), LLB (Univen), LLM (Unisa), MPhil (SUN), PhD (Unizulu) Phone: +2715 962 8131
Office No: 39, Humanities and Social Sciences Building

Full Names: Mr. Tshimangadzo Justice Makhanikhe
Designation: nGAP lecturer
Qualifications: BA Hons (Univen), MA African Studies (Univen)
Phone: +27159628397
Office no: 08, Music Building

Full names: Dr Ndidzulafhi Esther Ramavhunga
Designation: Senior part-time lecturer
Qualifications: PTD(Tshisimani), Further Diploma in Educational Guidance (RAU), BAHons (Univen), MA, PhD (Univen)
Phone: +2715962 8131
Office No: 44, Humanities and Social Sciences Building

Full names: Ms Thizwilondi Joanbeth Daswa
Designation: Part-time lecturer
Qualifications: STD (Venda College of Education), Further Diploma in Educational Guidance (RAU), BED Hons (UJ), MA (Univen)
Phone: +27159629364
Office no: 09, Music Building

Full names: Mr Andani Edgar Budeli
Designation: Part-Time Junior Lecturer
Qualification: BA IKS (Univen)
Office No: 39, Humanities and Social Sciences Building

Full names: Ms Tsakani Emmarencia Nyoni
Designation: Part-time Junior Lecturer
Qualification: BA IKS (Univen)
Office no: 44, Humanities and Social Sciences Building

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