Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

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Is primitivism indigenous to Africa?

C-M P Olatunji


To know where one is coming from is to know where one is heading, and to know where one is heading is to know where one is coming from. A statement such as this is often employed successfully to help maintain an indigenous knowledge system. Western scholars, on the other hand, have effectively excluded all non-Western knowledge systems from the domain of science. In Africa, all that seems left is the maintenance of relics of history in the name of African indigenous knowledge system. Like having to decide between the undesired and the impossible, choosing between obsoletism and the ‘impossible African science’ seems to leave Africa with only an option of having to extol primitivism. Is Primitivism indigenous to Africa?
Especially in the Western world, culture is often associated with such things as good breeding and finesse in human relations: an educated condition; a well developed taste and capacity for the arts such as music, sculpture, literature ..., in Africa, culture often refers to the way of life of our forefathers. In this sense it is often reduced to an unchanging tradition (Okpokunu 2002, 99-126).

Keywords: Indigenous knowledge systems, indigenous knowledge, philosophy, privitivism, Africa

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