Sankofa: African Thought and Education

Sankofa: African Thought and Education

Sankofa: African Thought and Education

Sankofa: African Thought and Education

Synopsis

"To prevent the alienation and crisis facing African youth, this book urges the building of a new form of African education that is firmly founded on all that is positive in indigenous thought and education. It also examines the impact of the concepts that underlie indigenous and Westernized education. As an in-depth illustration of African thought and education, traditional Amara (Ethiopian) thought and education is discussed in two chapters. The book underscores the need to understand Africans on their own terms within the context of their culture, and the necessity to be judicious in importing foreign ideas and institutions to Africa. Otherwise, the cultural and spiritual fabric of African way of life will be torn beyond repair. This book has great implications for African and African American education." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

I want to point out from the outset that I use the terms philosophy and thought interchangeably although I am more partial to the term "thought." It does not readily connote separation of "religious" and "nonreligious" thinking as the term "philosophy" has come to mean in the West. Since 1700 Europeans separated philosophy from science and from religion as well. African philosophy is wholistic since it encompasses all aspects of life. "In African thinking, the sciences and other disciplines are not divided; they still intertwine" (King, 1986, p. 27).

The way people interpret their world shapes their understanding of themselves, nature and divinity. This interpretation also determines how they relate to each other and the rest of creation (Sindima, 1989). a model of living arises from a particular cosmological framework--a framework that "shapes the mind or informs knowledge and understanding" (p. 537). When we turn to Africa, we find that approximately seventy to ninety percent (depending on their location) of African people follow the traditional mode of living. This means that their relationship with each other, and with the rest of life is determined by the way they interprete the world. in other words, their understanding of cosmic life is the basis of their political, economic and educational activities. Before delving to discuss some of the fundamental concepts in African philosophy, it is important to clarify the existing challenges surrounding African thought.

Although a great deal has been written about Africa by Western scholars, almost all of them have been written from a Western perspective that is highly ethnocentric. They have used European and American standards, concepts and cultural peculiarities as universal measures to evaluate traditional African affirmation of life, art, music, self- governance and other social institutions. As Legesse notes . . .

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