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Towards rethinking and decolonizing Africa's development futures: the place of indigenous knowledge 
Hali Healy (University of Johannesburg)
Geoffrey Nwaka (Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria)
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Hali Healy (University of Johannesburg)
Palmer 1.05
Thursday 29 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The science and practice of development should integrate the traditional knowledge of local communities in Africa. Researchers and the development community should tap into the time tested resource of indigenous knowledge to formulate locally appropriate policies and programmes of development.

Long Abstract:

Global inequalities today derive largely from the unequal power relations in the way knowledge about development has historically been produced and applied. African knowledge systems have been undervalued because of the dominance of Eurocentric mindsets and practices. Critics now blame state failure and the development crisis in Africa on “the structural disconnection between formal institutions transplanted from outside and indigenous institutions born of traditional African cultures”. How can Africa engage profitably with globalization and modernization by drawing on local human and material resources for greater self-reliance and sustainable development? We argue that Africa should search within its own knowledge systems for appropriate ideas and approaches to many of its development problems. Africa stands to gain from global science and international best practices, and indigenous knowledge and global science need to be made to complement and enrich each other; but the panel stresses the need to tap into indigenous/local knowledge for locally appropriate ways to achieve more inclusive, participatory and sustainable development. The panel welcomes papers that deal with various aspects of the indigenous knowledge movement and of decolonial activism in Africa. Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

- Traditional knowledge and institutions for good governance

- Informal justice systems, and traditional conflict resolution mechanisms

- Traditional medicine and healthcare, debates about intellectual property rights

- Indigenous knowledge, environmental protection and local responses to and adaptation to climate change

- Centering Africa in the educational system, the language question and curriculum reform

- Preserving and promoting indigenous knowledge systems. Collaboration between scientists and those who hold and use indigenous knowledge to co-produce updated and widely applicable knowledge.

- The rising decolonial activism in Africa such as the Rhodes-Must-Fall movement in South Africa, and the agitation for the return/restoration of African works of art looted in the colonial period.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -