|KTHPA SANParks staff at Nkuhlu
Enclosure (Photo: Cath Traynor)
|KTHPA discussing medicinal plants with
SANParks staff (Photo: Cath Traynor)
The Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners Association (KTHPA) of Bushbuckridge, South Africa visited Kruger National Park’s Skukuza Indigenous Plant Nursery earlier this year. The Kukula were invited by Michele Hofmeyr, the Manager of the nursery after she attended the Kukula’s Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP) Revision Workshop. The aim of the visit was to explore areas of mutual interest: South African National Parks (SANParks) is developing a list of medicinal plant species of interest to communities in the bufferzone areas of the park, and KTHPA are interested to access propagules of medicinal plant species that only occur within the park.
Members of the Kukula spent an afternoon in the nursery, looking at the existing stock of medicinal plant species, learning how the different species are propagated, and discussing which species may be suitable for KTHPA to propagate themselves. The following day, Nursery staff joined the Kukula on a walk in the Nkuhlu Enclosure, a 139 ha fenced area consisting of dense woody vegetation thickets along the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers. The KTHPA members identified species of particular interest, and SANParks staff collected specimens so that scientific names could be ascertained.
The nursery kindly donated seedlings and plants to the Kukula, including saplings of the pepper-bark tree (Warburgia salutaris), this is a highly sought-after medicinal plant, which is critically endangered, and one that the nursery is cultivating on a large-scale.
|KTHPA at SANParks Skukuza
Indigenous Plant Nursery
(Photo: Cath Traynor)
|Michele Hofmeyer, SANParks
Skukuza Indigenous Plants Nursery
Manager sharing her knowledge regards
successfully germinating different
plant species (Photo: Cath Traynor)
Natural Justice, together with partners K2C and Wits Rural Facility are supporting the Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners to revise their BCP, and to utilize it to constructively engage with external stakeholders such as SANParks. Running throughout South Africa’s legislation on conservation is the balance between conservation on the one hand and sustainable use for the benefit of communities on the other. Through collaborations such as these KTHPA hope to both conserve biodiversity and to advance the health of their communities through their traditional healing practices.