A short piece by Thobeka Nyathikazi as an introductory to a series on African Thought and the ways it can be utilised to alleviate Africa's Socio-Economic dilemmas.
The mounting pressure on Africa to find and implement solutions to not only reverse the negative impacts of colonization but also improve the socioeconomic status of it's people, continues to plague leadership within inter-regional and domestic frameworks as well. Over the years much policy has been created and developed to ease poverty and eradicate civil wars but we find ourselves continually battling the same demons even in sectors where plenty resources have been allocated.
Before now, African traditional systems of thought have often been disregarded by leadership and to a great extent by African academia too when formulating solutions for Africa. Many African problems and even basic African questions such as that of Blackness have often been considered within the confines of Western epistemology and its sensibilities.
The ability to ask Questions like "What is Blackness?", and attempt to define it through the application and study of traditional African systems of thought, has become a necessity in todays society. The Black wo/man in Africa urgently needs mental freedom from Western ideals to enable them to strive towards an Africa that is prosperous without attempting to mimic the West.
I want us to focus strictly on the concept of Blackness for a moment and avoid the compulsion to weigh it against global standards in order to ascertain its qualities and worth. Blackness as something that is not "other" or "flawed" because of the oppression-filled history it carries. Blackness in its most pure form as the center of where we discover the identity of Black people and what Black is in relation to those of African descent and those who are African.
Yes, defining Blackness outside the reality of a world that developed off of it's back, only to leave it behind.
Why would an answer to questions such as this be necessary?
Well, Black communities continue to rank below other races socio-economically. I believe knowledge of self is a large factor in discovering our way towards a socio-economic freedom that transcends the locales of our financial and commercial districts. Beginning to answer questions like these can ultimately lead up to gaining the ability to find African tailored solutions to the plight of Black men in the America's and the suffering of Black Women and Children within Africa itself. The discovery and creation of knowledge by my generation, will be the answer to all the questions money cannot help us answer.
To be able to apply African thought to any question, we have to first acknowledge the reality that is the diversity in resources to be considered within the large variety of ethnic groups in existence. The use of one or three indigenous knowledge systems can lead to inadequate generalizations and therefore result in any answer being incorrect for its inadequacy, no matter how right it may be in respect to one or even three systems of thought. So there is work to be done, but we are up to the task, and statistically, we have enough young people to get the work done if we are intentional about it.
We can not persist to turn a blind eye to the knowledge which continues to inform how multitudes of communities function across the continent. Neglecting to note and learn from our own because of the preconceived idea that Black thought is backwards unless it can be substantiated by Western standards has failed us. We cannot and will not continue to consider Africa and Africans through systems that were not created with us in mind nor for us to strive within.
What we know about Blackness universally is that it strives for and achieves excellence in both primitive and contemporary societies. Another thing we know universally about Blackness is that it never claims to know what it cannot prove to be true. So in my quest to define Blackness through African epistemology I find myself becoming a scholar of Blackness rather than a well-informed individual who can attempt to define it on my own. So I won't. But what I definitely will do is notify you that African knowledge has ceased to be invisible for many within Africa's rising leadership and is a rich resource worthy of consideration when creating more frameworks and policy.
Therefore, in short, This Generations Revolution Will Not Be Westernized.