“Revisiting Theories and Practices of Endogenous Governance in Africa” Co-Convened by Afrospectives and Global Humanity for Peace Institute took place on Zoom on 11-12 May 2022 at 14.00 – 18.00 UK (Summer) Time. Read about the Symposium below. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SYMPOSIUM FLYER.
Africa, the continent where humanity created its first communities, has always had rich philosophies, wisdom and praxis aimed at developing humanising systems of governance through regulating power, enriching social interactions, distributing resources fairly, and harmonising human’s relationships with nature and other non-human entities. Examples of this rich heritage include the political traditions of Ubuntu of the Bantu peoples, the Kurukan Fuga Charter of the Mandingos, the Xeer of Somalis, the Gacaca in Rwanda, the Gada of Oromos and the Madqa of the Afars, to name but a few. Africa is also home to incredibly diverse socio-political organisations ranging from multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empire structures to small homogeneous community formations. It is the continent par excellence where sophisticated methods of consensus-building, conflict transformation, and relational reconciliation have been elaborated.
More than 60 years after formal independence, the legacies of coloniality that have perpetuated the prejudices, toxic viewpoints and dehumanising behaviours inherited from colonial domination continue to shape the worldviews and imaginations of African decision-makers. In most African countries, political and institutional mimicry of the ruling classes has led to the emergence of fragile nation-states, unsustainable socio-political and economic structures and inappropriate governance policies, all based on Western paradigms. In this context, some countries such as Botswana, Rwanda and Somaliland, have initiated interesting experiments to revitalise indigenous and traditional values and practices in response to people’s needs.
To explore these significant examples of endogenous (vs. exogenous) government systems within the African continent, we are proposing an international symposium, co-convened by the think-tank Afrospectives and the Global Humanity for Peace Institute. The Symposium brought together high-level panellists who are African scholars, experts and practitioners, including:
- Scholars who have done research in the field of concrete systems of governance in Africa
- Experts who have studied policies and practices of traditional governance in Africa at all levels
- Thinkers who have been reflecting on the relevance of African endogenous humanist and political philosophies and their contribution to Africa and to humanity
The panellists and participants were invited to:
- Present the result of their field-research on endogenous systems of governance;
- Identify and discuss specificities and communalities and complementarities between different governance systems in Africa;
- Present and analysis examples of revitalisation and modernisation of traditional systems of governance to respond to current needs;
- Discuss the contribution that African endogenous visions and perspectives on governance could make to the current crisis;
- Define some guidelines for African countries willing to revitalize their indigenous systems of governance.
Together, the panellists and the participants will identify inclusive forms of community decision-making aimed at consensus building, especially those demonstrating respect for diversity, mutual listening, dialogue, and understanding. Practices highlighted are those rooted in values that are more deeply human, more communitarian, and more in tune with the spiritual nature of human life. Thus the examples to be explored can help re-envision the contribution of traditional African governance practices to the emergence of contemporary Africa approaches to democracy.