Indigenous African Knowledge System (IAKS) Ethos: Prospects for a Post-Colonial Curriculum

Indigenous African Knowledge System (IAKS) Ethos: Prospects for a Post-Colonial Curriculum

Ntokozo Mthembu (University of South Africa, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1249-4.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter discovers the limitations presented by narrow cultural and moral settings and the possibility of incorporating an indigenous African knowledge systems' (IAKS) ethos to redress past injustices, especially diverse cultural values experienced in countries in the ‘global south'. However, the emergence of related protests in communities and student structures in education circles, such as calls to decolonize the curriculum and the #FeesMustFall movement. The effects of colonialism continue to be reflected in social structural settings that uphold those Aristotelian parameters that are notorious for marginalizing the knowledge of the ‘other', specifically in the ‘global south'.
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Introduction

Worldwide the “postcolonial” era has brought possibilities of social change including in the education sphere, where curriculum change is high on the agenda, in particular in an African country like South Africa. However, the effects of colonialism continue to be reflected in social structural settings that tend to uphold the Aristotelian parameters, which are notorious for marginalising the knowledge of the “other” (Mthembu, 2018, p. 28). In other words, modern-day educational interpretations and analyses of African people, phenomena and milieus continue to reflect a narrow cultural perspective that serves to marginalise indigenous knowledge systems and preserve social inequality among citizens (Do Vale, 2016, p. 600). This scenario tends to concur with the suggestion that colonial moral tenets do not adapt well to African-centred milieus, as they have altered cultural traditions in various parts of the continent in different ways; culminating in social crises on the environmental, political, social and economic fronts and undermining African wisdom and morals (Awajiusuk, 2015, p. 308).

To gain a better understanding of the underlying forces influencing the pace of transformation in the sphere of learning in this country, it is vital to consider how negative power dynamics have contributed to hampering transformation by failing to create an enabling environment where transformation can occur (Duthely, Nunn & Avella, 2018, p. 52). Currently, the absence of such a scenario is observable in the fact that, despite the adoption of various government policies, as well as interventions from stakeholders, to enhance the incorporation of indigenous African cultural, ethical concepts (ubuntu) in public administration structures; the transformation of the compensatory education system (including the curriculum) has not occurred. In reality, the incorporation of indigenous African knowledge systems (IAKS) in the education system is only happening on the fringes and many African scholars are still being denied the relevant support and acknowledgement (Mthembu, 2018, p. 194). This suggests that the compulsion to continue using foreign languages, such as English and Afrikaans, is the order of the day. However, for feasibility of this project, this chapter focuses on revealing the African-centred ethics and related guidelines that defines aspects of African research examination approaches. Thus, it is significant to understand the challenges and possibilities when it comes to the realisation of transformation goals in the governance structures in the post-colonial era and the adoption of relevant policies that will cater for a multicultural education system. In doing so, this chapter looks at the indigenous African knowledge systems’ (IAKS) ethos, followed by strategies for a transformed curriculum, a transformative discourse and conclusion. The chapter serves to contribute to knowledge creation in this field of study, with a view to assist students, researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and IAKS specialists in articulating and understanding features and ethical standards of various knowledge systems especially African moral standards in a pluralistic education system.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Africa: The continent that is known as the cradle of human kind whose majority of population consist of Black African people and the continent that boast with its historical inheritance as it is the first to experience civilisation prior to the emergence of western civilisation. In addition, it also experienced enslavement of Black African majority and intellectual imperialism that this article attempts to grapple with.

Culture: A set of values that are have been in practiced for a long time in a particular community and viewed as form part and parcel of identity of such community.

Socialization: A process whereby social values are imparted in particular young people to enable them to be in a better position to meet all challenges in the journal of life.

Ethics: Refers to a set of regulations or rules that are normally accepted as the guide in a particular community or structure to affect a particular behaviour or outcome.

Coloniality: A concept that relates to the manner in which colonialism sustains itself despite the so called freedoms that were gained by the previously oppressed or colonised populace.

Indigenous African Knowledge Systems (IAKS): Refers to a holistic approach when it comes to a variety of mechanisms that are used to create knowledge in the Africa sphere.

Education: A process that is used and accepted as a manner of inculcating specific values that govern that community. In other words, it is a set of social principles that individual is expected to emulate as a good citizen.

Morals: Denotes a particular standard that is perceived as acceptable in any society or must be emulated by all community members.

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