What is the role of libraries in disseminating knowledge about South African intellectual property laws in rural communities?


This study investigated a rural community in a village in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, to access what was known about South African intellectual property (IP) laws. The study sought to establish whether the local libraries played any role in educating the community about these laws. A qualitative method using grounded theory was adopted for this study. Focus group discussions were used to elicit data from twenty-nine community members. They were chosen purposively because they were knowledge holders in various indigenous knowledge practices. Semi-structured interviews elicited data from two primary school educators. They were selected because the studied community members indicated that they shared knowledge with them on crop farming. The findings revealed that the community members did not have any knowledge about South African IP laws. Local libraries, such as school libraries, did not play any role in educating them about local IP laws as the two educators who were interviewed also did not have any background knowledge about South African IP laws. The study concluded that the community needs to be educated about these laws. Because of the low levels of information literacy of the community members, libraries must help in repackaging and simplifying this information to facilitate its access. The community can be educated on how to register individual and communal IP. In post-colonial South Africa, this action is crucial for socio-economic development purposes.

Author Biographies

Sasa Zimu, UNISA
Lecturer, Department of Information Science
Acquinatta Nomusa Zimu, UNISA
Department of Information Science, Lecturer


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