Original Research

Non-agricultural soil uses by communities in uMgungundlovu District and their safety for use

Rebecca Zengeni, Noxolo Hlatshwayo
Inkanyiso | Vol 15, No 1 | a70 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ink.v15i1.70 | © 2023 Rebecca Zengeni, Noxolo Hlatshwayo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 March 2023 | Published: 29 December 2023

About the author(s)

Rebecca Zengeni, Department of Soil Science, School of Agriculture, Earth & Environmental Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Noxolo Hlatshwayo, Department of Soil Science, School of Agriculture, Earth & Environmental Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Abstract

South African communities, especially in rural areas, still use indigenous practices such as applying soil paste as sunscreen, building huts with soil and stones and geophagia among others. This study aimed at identifying non-agricultural uses of soil in uMgungundlovu district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, while focusing on the three areas Elandskop, KwaNxamalala and Willowfontein. Information was gathered using key informant interviews and household questionnaires. Results showed that the most common soil uses were for cosmetics and as geophagia, followed by construction, with medicinal use being the least common. Cosmetic use involved using soil as sunscreen or skin cleaner. While geophagic soil was mostly consumed for enjoyment, to satisfy cravings and least of all as a nutrient supplement. Medicinal soil was mostly used to treat wounds and skin ailments such as rashes and acne. Users believed that their pre-treatment methods such as boiling, burning or baking before use were effective in reducing microbial loads and other contaminants in the soil.

Keywords

Indigenous soil use; geophagia; cosmetics; safety for use; non-agricultural

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

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