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Indigenous systems and Africa's development

Authors V. GumedeM. MuchieA. Shafi
Print HSRC Library: shelf number 9814218
handle 20.500.11910/22841
The role of indigenous knowledges in development has not been examined enough. Indigenous knowledge systems tend to mean different things to different people, so does culture. Culture is undoubtedly critical for development but often underplayed or misunderstood. Development in Africa remains elusive. Those who are supposed to benefit from interventions aimed at improving wellbeing are often not involved in decision making regarding those interventions. Indigenous knowledges, cultures and indigenous languages are usually ignored when conceiving policies aimed at advancing development. This book ??? a collection of chapters on these issues ??? demonstrates the importance of indigenous knowledge systems in development. Indigenous knowledges play a role in development practice because of their capacity to generate transferable local skills and set energies in motion to reduce the prevailing inequalities on the continent. In an effort to resolve the enduring puzzle of development in Africa, the role of indigenous knowledges is thus affirmed as important. The book advocates for a paradigm shift in development thinking and practice that reinforces the use of indigenous knowledges as a first line of action in the process of development in Africa. The book uses Africa as the centre of a thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion of the literature on the state of development and indigenous knowledge systems. The acknowledgment of African indigenous knowledges in development practice is critical in the search for the most suitable approach to resolving Africa???s enduring development challenges. In this process the indigenous knowledges assert their relevance in an institutional configuration that tends to suppress indigenous knowledge systems. Local knowledge acts as a force that determines how development is conducted in specific localities. In this regard, the assumption that Western knowledge is superior to other knowledges and provides the only route to development is confronted by indigenous knowledges??? determinative capacity. In shaping the future development agenda for Africa, it is vital to integrate indigenous knowledges in the development process. It must be recognised that for the continent to meet its development challenges, especially the eradication of poverty, integration of indigenous knowledge is crucial. It is therefore important that indigenous knowledge systems are given space to play a role in peoples??? lives to ensure that development takes place on the African continent. It is encouraging that scholars are giving these issues due attention. Research on indigenous knowledge revival is essential to generate output to transform African development.