Khoi and San communities to benefit from rooibos products
November 29, 2019 10:51 AM   Subscribe

"On the 1st of November 2019, the Honeybush Rooibos and Honeybush Traditional Knowledge Benefit Sharing Agreement was signed. It accords Khoi and San communities with a one-year pilot providing them with a 1.5% benefit of the farm gate price from those who process Rooibos." The commercial cultivation of rooibos, a South African plant increasingly used worldwide in teas and other products, has been dominated by a few hundred white farmers, while the Khoi and San communities from whom the knowledge of rooibos originated have been almost entirely shut out.

Stanley Peterson of the National Khoi & San Council said “Our dignity is being restored in the land of our forefathers by recognising our Khoikhoi ancient traditional knowledge on rooibos. Our people are happy and our land healed.”

Hailed as a "world first," the benefit-sharing agreement was signed by South Africa's environment minister, the National KhoiSan Council, the San Council of South Africa and the South African Rooibos Council, at the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre in Yzerfontein in the Western Cape.

Sunday Times report:
Friday’s signing ceremony featured several prominent Khoi and San leaders, among them National Khoi-san Council chair Cecil Le Fleur, who said the agreement was the first to involve an entire industry, as opposed to previous agreements between specific companies and communities.
Speaking at the launch of the agreement, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy said this agreement would serve as a base and example for many similar settlements to be reached with local communities in future. She added that rooibos has also become known worldwide as a proudly South African product and brand.

“Such international recognition cannot exist without appreciating the contribution of indigenous knowledge to the use of rooibos and honeybush. That is why it is important that the parties to the Rooibos Traditional Knowledge Industry-Wide Benefit Sharing Agreement, salute the role of San and Khoi traditional knowledge, without which the variety of medicines and other products made from this plant by the rooibos industry would not have happened.”
Although not a party to the Swakopmund Protocol, South Africa has joined other African nations in protecting traditional knowledge under intellectual property law.

Mail & Guardian:
Since 2010, San and Khoi organisations have demanded that the 100-year-old rooibos industry recognise the role that their traditional knowledge played in its development. A 2014 government-sponsored report concluded that there was “no evidence to dispute this claim” and required those involved in the rooibos sector to engage with San and Khoi people to negotiate a benefit-sharing agreement as required by “access and benefit-sharing” provisions of the Biodiversity Act. These stem from the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity and its Nagoya Protocol.
See also the documentary Rooibos Restitution (49 minutes).
posted by Not A Thing (4 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Oh wow. Rooibos is amazing stuff, and I'm glad the indigenous peoples who developed the knowledge necessary to cultivate it are getting their due!
posted by limeonaire at 11:08 AM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Interesting fact: the Khoi-San languages are the famous "click languages" of southern Africa, which have a large number of click consonants, made with complex articulations of the tongue, found nowhere else in the world. One Khoi-San language has 50 different types of click sounds. Many of these languages are endangered, so I hope the income derived from the roobois agreement can help preserve the traditional culture of their speakers.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:45 PM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

This is pretty cool. I was just drinking a cup of rooibos, and honeybush is another of my favorite hot beverages. I'm glad to see my money is going to go to the people who deserve it.
posted by slogger at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Rooibos is good and this is good.
posted by VyanSelei at 4:13 PM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older “Fashion is fun.”   |   Agrarianism in the United Federation of Planets Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments