27 July 2010

Museum herbarium develops recipe for the blind

Phumlani Cimi, a botanist in the Selmar Schonland Herbarium, Albany Museum, has compiled an information booklet about imifino (wild vegetables) and arranged for it to be translated into braille. Braille is a system of writing in which patterns of raised dots represent letters and numerals to enable sight impaired people to read. Louise Braille was a French educator who lost his sight at the age of three and invented a system of writing and printing for sightless people in 1821. Cimi, himself a paraplegic, is passionate about improving the lives of the disabled and recognized the need for such a booklet.

The booklet is a compilation of his own research and other published sources such as the copyright free imifino recipe book published by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University. Cimi’s Masters Degree in Science Education focussed on the use of indigenous knowledge in school curricula, including local knowledge of imifino use. Imifino refers to wild growing herbaceous plants that are collected and cooked as pot-herbs. The booklet discusses the origin of imifino plants (most were introduced from other countries many years ago), the health aspects of imifino plants (most are highly nutritious), and provides 10 delicious recipes. The booklet is available, in braille, here at Albany Museum in Selmar Schonland Herbarium and also at the Library for the Blind in High Street.

A young girl prepares imifino.

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