On Monday 19 August 2013, in acknowledgment of South Africa’s earliest inhabitants and the knowledge that they imparted, a benefit sharing agreement was signed between Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, the South African San Council (SASC) and the National Khoisan Council (NKC) in Cape Town.This partnership acknowledges that, as the earliest inhabitants of our country, the San and the Khoi’s medicinal plant knowledge predated that of any subsequent inhabitants. As the primary traditional knowledge holders of the many medicinal benefits of the buchu plant, they are legally entitled to a fair and equitable share of the benefits that result from the commercial development of this plant.
Michael Stander, Managing Director of Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals – a Cape Town-based company that acquires and processes the buchu plant in South Africa – commented: “This benefit sharing agreement is a fitting acknowledgment of the wealth of knowledge that was gleaned from the San and the Khoi, who introduced buchu and its various medicinal benefits to the early Cape settlers at the beginning of the 17th century.”
Stander explains: “Cape Kingdom’s buchu products widely benefit people around the country – but this would never have been possible without the initial knowledge of the San and the Khoi. For this reason, Cape Kingdom is proud to sign an agreement which recognises them as the primary traditional knowledge holders of this amazing plant endemic to South Africa.”
(from left to right) Ernst Hartwig and Michael Stander, managing directors of Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals; Andries Steenkamp, chairman of the SASC; and Cecil LeFleur, chairman of the NKC
In addition, Cape Kingdom will share
their knowledge of the commercial use of the plant with the San and the Khoi,
with the intention of encouraging their co-operation in this joint venture. In
return, the San and the Khoi are happy to collaborate with Cape Kingdom by
endorsing the products and providing marketing assistance where appropriate.
Over the past 14 years, Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals has actively researched the medicinal benefits of the buchu plant. In its quest to establish scientific evidence supporting the benefits of buchu, the company has commissioned leading scientific research institutions to conduct clinical trials and analytical research focused on developing buchu extracts that address lifestyle threatening diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
Chairman of the SASC, Andries Steenkamp, commented at the signing of the agreement on Monday: “Today is an historical day that the SASC is proud to be a part of, in supporting the Khoisan and the practise of traditional medicine for many years. We want to be recognised for this tradition and share the benefits of traditional medicine with our country. The San people live close to nature – it is part of their way of life – and it is this very practice that we want to share with the world. The San and Khoi people are proud to give to others.
“The SASC appreciates Cape Kingdom’s efforts in engaging the San, and acknowledging our traditional medicines, practises and customs. “
His thoughts were echoed by Cecil LeFleur, Chairperson of the NKC, who added: “We are very proud and excited to be part of this process. Today we share the benefits of our historical knowledge with Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals. We feel that this partnership will be to the benefit of the Khoi and San people in South Africa, and will contribute to our development and empowerment.”
The rich tapestry of South Africa’s history is something that should not be forgotten. Steps that are taken to acknowledge this history – like the agreement signed by Cape Kingdom today – are to be celebrated as proudly South African.