How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make progress | Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu | Summary and Q&A

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How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make progress | Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu


In this talk, the speaker shares their personal experiences with education in Africa, highlighting the need to incorporate traditional knowledge systems into the curriculum for true progress to occur.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why did the speaker regret purchasing the alphabet sheet for his daughter?

The speaker regretted purchasing the alphabet sheet because it reminded him that not much has changed in the education curricula in Africa. He had a similar alphabet sheet when he was younger and struggled to reconcile his reality with the formal education he received. This led to identity crises and looking down on his ancestry and lineage.

Q: What was the impact of the "A is for apple" concept in the speaker's education?

Introducing education with the concept of "A is for apple" made education an abstraction for the speaker. Growing up in Africa, apples were an exotic fruit and didn't count as part of his reality. This made education something out of his reach and a foreign concept that he felt he needed constant validation from others to progress within.

Q: What did the speaker discover about traditional African knowledge of cultivation?

The speaker discovered that his education never taught him about any form of traditional African knowledge of cultivation, harvesting, or anything that could be successful in modern times. He realized that traditional African methods, such as the Tassa irrigation technique, were highly successful and could produce significantly higher yields compared to imported Western methods.

Q: Why did the speaker believe in advocating for Africa's own knowledge system?

The speaker believed in advocating for Africa's own knowledge system because he witnessed firsthand the lack of belief and voice among Africans during loan negotiating sessions. African individuals didn't believe they had anything to offer and were intimidated by Euro-Americans. The speaker conducted research on Africa's knowledge system and saw remarkable success in cases where it was implemented, such as Rwanda's Gacaca traditional judicial system.

Q: What does the speaker believe is necessary for Africa's further transformation?

The speaker believes that Africa's further transformation and advancement lie in the acknowledgment, validation, and mainstreaming of Africa's own traditional, authentic, and indigenous knowledge. This includes incorporating Africa's knowledge system in education, research, policy-making, and across sectors. He acknowledges that it won't be easy for a people used to being told how to think, but believes it is a task that must be done to make progress.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker reflects on an experience with an alphabet sheet in Africa and discusses how it reminded him of the lack of change in education curricula, causing him to struggle with his own identity and reality.

  • He shares two experiences that highlight the value of Africa's own knowledge system and the need to incorporate it into education and policy-making.

  • The speaker believes that acknowledging and valuing Africa's traditional knowledge is crucial for the continent's development and progress, despite the challenges involved.

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