African indigenous knowledge and languages: perpetuating communication and development
Mathias Bwanika Mulumba (Makerere University)
Seraphin Kamdem (SOAS, University of London)
Barbara Trudell (SIL Africa)
Start time:
29 June, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

African languages play an important (if underrated) role in mediating social and economic development - and even interaction with the rest of the world. This is in addition to their more expected role in embodying and maintaining indigenous values and knowledge.

Long abstract:

As Africa metamorphoses into a dynamic region, especially with the occurrence of the Arab spring, it is highly hypothesized that the continent re-invents its knowledge prowess as the case was 5000 years back. The superior architectural designs of the Egyptian pyramids; the progressive socio-political structures of the greatest kingdoms of Mali, Ghana, and Buganda; the most surviving stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe; and knowledge creation and transfer at the University of Sankore at Timbuktu, displayed Africa as a knowledge base that could compete favorably with other regions in the world. In Africa, intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic communications, and transfer of information and knowledge, are predominantly mediated by indigenous languages. In the current globalization, African peoples and nations are entangled in a web of languages, media networks, and communication highways, where African identities and cultural reflections are either lost or disfigured. Therefore, Africanists need to re-consider the position and use of African indigenous knowledge and languages in the engagement of the continent with herself and the rest of the world. The panel will address fundamental issues regarding the nature and systems of African indigenous knowledge as vehicles for community and national development; it will also discuss the role of African languages in perpetuating African indigenous knowledge. Guiding themes will be on current studies concerning African indigenous knowledge; role of African languages in promoting African indigenous knowledge; education as a channel for perpetuating African indigenous knowledge; rebranding of African Indigenous knowledge through modernization and internationalization.