Indigenous Knowledge and Public Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Munyaradzi Mawere


The discourse on indigenous knowledge has incited a debate of epic proportions across the world over the years. In Africa, especially in the sub-Saharan region, while the so-called indigenous communities have always found value in their own local forms of knowledge, the colonial administration and its associates viewed indigenous knowledge as unscientific, illogical, anti-development, and/or ungodly. The status and importance of indigenous knowledge has changed in the wake of the landmark 1997 Global Knowledge Conference in Toronto, which emphasised the urgent need to learn, preserve, and exchange indigenous knowledge. Yet, even with this burgeoning interest and surging call, little has been done, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, to guarantee the maximum exploitation of indigenous knowledge for the common good. In view of this realisation, this paper discusses how indigenous knowledge can and should both act as a tool for promoting the teaching/learning process in Africa’s public education and address the inexorably enigmatic amalgam of complex problems and cataclysms haunting the world.

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