Indigenising the University Curriculum in Southern Africa

Indigenising the University Curriculum in Southern Africa

Soul Shava (University of South Africa, South Africa) and Nkopodi Nkopodi (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0838-0.ch005
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Abstract

The academic landscape in higher education institutions (universities) in southern Africa (countries in SADC)) remains highly influenced by western epistemologies. This is despite the fact that these academic institutions are situated in independent states. The research and teaching activities in universities are entrenched within western theories and knowledge disciplines that are presented as neutral, universal and singular. The implication is that while we celebrate political independence we are still entrapped in continuing coloniality. This points to a need for reframing the curriculum to prioritise the interests of Africans. This chapter explores possible factors that contribute to the continued alienation of indigenous knowledges in southern African universities. It argues that in order to achieve the indigenisation of universities in Africa there is a need for a decolonial process to subvert and decentre western epistemologies by offering African Indigenous epistemologies and African-centred standpoints as alternatives in research and teaching processes in the academy.
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Resilient And Hegemonic Colonial Epistemologies

Nyamnjoh (2012) correctly contends that African education is a victim of a resilient colonial and colonising epistemology. This is more evident in African higher education with its dependence on western pedagogic approaches and theoretical perspectives on the basis of the rhetoric that universities need to be competitive internationally (Nyamnjoh, 2004; 2012). However, such a stance perpetuates the perception that African indigenous knowledges are inferior and invalid in the academy, let alone in all sectors of society, thereby contributing to the continuing epistemicide of indigenous knowledges.

Commenting on the impact of western derived education systems, Hoppers (2001:74) contends that:

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