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Placing Indigenous Knowledge at the Core of Production and Marketing of Medicinal Plant (Mpesu) in Zimbabwe and South Africa

aUniversity of Venda, South Africa
bUniversity of Limpopo, South Africa

Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa

ISBN: 978-1-80262-252-2, eISBN: 978-1-80262-251-5

Publication date: 16 August 2023


This chapter explores the role of indigenous knowledge system (IKS) in the development of informal entrepreneurial models in Africa. This was undertaken through a discussion of the production processes and the marketing platforms used in producing and distributing mpesu (a traditional medicine used for sex enhancement and reproductive healthcare) by Traditional Healthcare Practitioners (THPs) in the Vhembe District of South Africa, and Beitbridge areas of Zimbabwe. The argument is that drawing on Vhavenda IKS-based strategies, entrepreneurs involved in the healthcare product have managed to develop context-appropriate and innovative strategies for marketing mpesu. However, while this model may appear unorthodox, it has helped sustain the appetite and demand for the product. It has also, despite its imperfections, provided economic safety-net for local entrepreneurs.




The authors are grateful for the funding offered to the two postdoctoral fellows, Dr KE Amaechi (Grant Number: 129610) and Dr (Adv) Stewart Lee Kugara (Grant Number: 129634) by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF), as this study is based on the research supported wholly by these fundings. However, the grant holders wish to express that the opinions and conclusion reached in the publication is that of the authors and that the NRF or Emerald (the book publisher) has no liability for the study.

The authors also express gratitude to the editors and reviewers for the positive and constructive feedback for the chapter.


Ekene, A.K., Lee, K.S., Decide, M.T. and Thobejane, T.D. (2023), "Placing Indigenous Knowledge at the Core of Production and Marketing of Medicinal Plant (Mpesu) in Zimbabwe and South Africa", Adeola, O. (Ed.) Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 167-185.



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Copyright © 2023 Amaechi Kingsley Ekene, Kugara Stewart Lee, Mdhluli Tsetselelani Decide and Tsoaledi Daniel Thobejane. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited