African indigenous knowledge systems relevant to solving the continent’s problems


Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. PHOTO: file

  • Women should be at the center of peacebuilding and development in Africa.
  • More should be done to promote the use of indigenous knowledge systems and gender dimensions in solving African problems.
  • Retired former presidents should be consulted to find local African solutions.

For Africa to successfully resolve conflicts, advance economically, achieve academic excellence, and champion its rich culture and scientific breakthroughs, there is an urgent need to promote indigenous knowledge systems and gender dimensions where women play a role. important in the consolidation of peace and the development of the continent.

In his closing remarks at a high-level virtual colloquium hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor John Tesha, Executive Secretary of the African Forum, said: “We have to work hard to see that Africa, our continent is peaceful. Peace is not only when the guns are silent. We have to go beyond that. Even in countries where the guns don’t blaze, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is peace. “

He added that Africa’s rich cultural and linguistic diversity offers the continent a chance to tap into indigenous potential.

The five-hour symposium panel included former Presidents Joyce Banda from Malawi, Armando Guebuza from Mozambique, Cassam Uteem from the Republic of Mauritius and Jakaya Kikwete from Tanzania joining various academics.

The organizers included the former heads of state because of their institutional knowledge of the African fabric.

“The continent has many former heads of state and government who have stepped down democratically. There has been little effort to solicit the views of these leaders and elders on the role of local African indigenous approaches in contemporary conflicts and conflict resolution “, one reads in the press. statement by the African Institute of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIIKS).

The main concern of the speakers was that women, children and young people were placed against the backdrop of the problems facing the continent.

With this in mind, in Africa’s most marginalized communities, especially in rural areas, women are the custodians of indigenous knowledge systems and languages ​​for sustainable community livelihoods.

Young people, including girls, are recruited as soldiers in conflicts, and the deterioration of their national economies affects their employment and other life opportunities. Banda said traditional core values ​​should be promoted.

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She also spoke about the traditional role of women in social structural strengthening.

“The role of women as gatekeepers has always been central… women stand out as leaders, we can serve as queens and leaders. We can own land but more importantly, women play a central role in ensuring that people can coexist. In the recent past we have seen that among women leaders who have ruled states there have been fewer wars, ”Banda added.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said women play a leading role in traditional societies.

Dlamini-Zuma said:

In our [Zulu] culture there is the mafungwase [first born in the family], she is revered in the family. Not only is it expected to be part of every traditional ceremony… it plays an important role in ensuring that there is peace.

She also spoke of the philosophy of Ubuntu as “the golden thread in Africa” ​​for peace and development in Africa.

However, traditional African values ​​were diluted by the colonial system which chose to dismantle African knowledge systems leading to the oppression of women.

“Sexual violence, rape is now used as a weapon of war. Yet African women in our culture are not even attacked during our wars.

“No one was allowed to attack women and children, but nowadays women and children are the victims. We should go back and find our ways … as long as the conflict continues, women will suffer,” said declared Dlamini-Zuma.


– Lenin Ndebele is the reporter for News24 Africa Desk. The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced by the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained therein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


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