Current Issue

Vol 22 No 2 (2020): UNDERSTANDING AFRICA’S REALITIES THROUGH IDEOLOGY

Ideology has a range of different meanings. At its most obvious it is the reproduction as ideas and sets of ideas of our experience of material realities. The diversity of Africa in terms of ethnicities, cultures and historical heritages makes possible an equivalent diversity of explanations of socio-economic, political, religious and cultural practices and those explanations we can call ideology. Ideology can become false consciousness when it claims to offer a complete account of how economic and therefore social relations work in a particular society. It is false consciousness because such a claim assumes that there is no other way of accounting for these relations and prevents us from recognising changes in these relations and the possibility of explaining them in different ways. Implicit in the concept of false consciousness is that an ideology can be wrong because it inadequately accounts for both economic and social relations. For example colonialism can justify itself using an ideology of the racial superiority of colonisers and the inferiority of the colonised. But when we know that race is a false category and superior and inferior races are a product of ignorant prejudice rather than a biological fact, we also have to acknowledge that an ideology based on assumptions of racial difference is invalid. When hierarchies of race inform the practices of a society and therefore its consciousness, the consciousness has to be false. Whether true or false we all live within ideological constructs and it is important that we should be aware of how ideologies mediate our consciousness of ourselves and of our continent. The Editorial Board of Chiedza invited contributors to address some of these ideologies and the reality that they describe under the theme ‘Understanding Africa’s Realities through Ideology’. The papers that follow show the wide range of realities that can be illuminated or distorted through ideology.
Ashley Salima analyses the androcentric ideologies and male chauvinism in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. He argues that a patriarchal society produces male-centered narratives in which misogyny is condoned and femaleness is not celebrated. The author contends that men are also victims of androcentric narratives and male chauvinism because they are deprived of the privilege to experience the full spectrum of their humanity of which emotions constitute an integral part. Men are dissuaded from showing emotional vulnerability, like Okonkwo, Achebe’s protagonist, unless it is anger or aggression. The author thus advocates for the need to humanize the narratives with which people are socialized as they grow up, so that both men and women are given the privilege, space and language to express their humanity in every possible way without fear of being judged or stereotyped.
Annah Mandeya unravels the crude realities which some Zimbabwean women religious experience at various levels in contemporary Church institutions. The author bemoans the gender disparity and associated injustice which women religious, Sisters and Nuns, experience at the hands of male religious. The author advocates for the emancipation of women religious in regards to education and which thus equips such women with a professional competence. She concludes her paper by suggesting possible solutions to this problem in Zimbabwe and possibly in other parts of Africa.
Victor Manirakiza discusses the question of identity and how one’s identity is affected by migration. The author uses Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah to show the intricate nuances of Ifemelu’s and indeed any immigrant’s identity in a capitalist and racist society. Through the protagonist Ifemelu’s identity struggles in an American society, the author shows how racism turned ‘blackness’ into an ideology which comes with stereotypes and suspicion. The author thus establishes that identity is fluid and can be affected by other cultures and worldviews.
Jean-Luc Mlyanga Lupinda explores the notion of machiavelism and how it inspires African religious leaders to recruit and indoctrinate their followers for the leaders’ individual benefit. The author gives concrete examples which attest that religion in Africa is used as an income generating enterprise in various countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa. The author contends that some religious leaders capitalize on the fact that religion is central in the life of Africans and thus manipulates and abuses the people. The abuses range from financial to sexual because the faithful look at the pastor with awe and do not question whatever he tells them. To accomplish this, they preach a miraculous ‘god’ that disappoints the people and consequently the African loses the sense of religion.
Victor Mureithi addresses the issue of underdevelopment of African countries. He analyzes the economic system that benefited the western countries to the detriment of the African countries. The author thus proposes that Africa should think of policies which are centered on the welfare of her people. To do so, she must think of getting a sound and appropriate ideology which serves as a framework to the formulation of such people-centered policies. The author suggests the ideologies proposed by Anton Amo, Zera Yakub, Kwame Nkruma and Julius Nyerere as possible solutions to the African reality of underdevelopment.
Bonosa Fosu Kwado, through Zara Yacob’s Hatata philosophy, argues for the need of political idiosyncrasy in Africa which is a political system unique and relevant to Africa, in order for Africa to foster and enhance Africa’s competitiveness in the global community. The author bemoans the aberrant democracy in Africa and how Africa’s political leaders’ individual ideologies infringe the objective realization of genuine democracy in Africa. The author also contends that politics in Africa is dominated by obsession for power in order to fulfill the leaders’ selfish ends at the expense of the polity and socio-economic development of Africa.
Mukadi Ilunga Christian posits that contemporary Africa faces two major problems of brutalism and neo-animism which are primary forces driving contemporary scientific, economic and ideological developments. He argues that human beings are insidiously becoming objects whilst machines are becoming more intelligent. He also postulates that scientific realities like artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare and global warming threaten the relevance of traditional religions in responding to human existential questions. Ultimately, the author posits that spirituality helps us to attain inner freedom and peace of mind.
Precious Nihorowa investigates the ideology of Ubuntu which is traditionally considered to be an African philosophy of community, interdependence and identity. The author contends that Ubuntu is in crisis because its core values of community which traditionally define Africa’s politics, morality and identity are threatened by an ever-growing individualism: corruption and tribalism. For the author, Ubuntu risks being regarded as merely an ideal ideology and may gradually become extinct.
Michael Kyalo postulates that the African philosophy of Ubuntu can provide an African philosophical context for the notion of human rights. Cognizant that human rights aim to preserve support and sustain the flourishing of humanity, the author contends that the ethos and fundamental principles of Ubuntu can be useful in making human rights relevant in an African context as well as in other non-African cultures.
Andrew Madume evaluates the role of Pan African Higher Education in fostering the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. He postulates that Pan African Higher Education has a mandate and responsibility to groom and produce competent graduates who are relevant to contemporary polarized global society. He proposes that institutions of higher learning must ensure efficient provision of qualitative and education to learners which enables learners to generate indigenous solutions to African problems as well as to combat the sad reality of Africa’s brain drain. This helps Africa to become a better place for everyone.
Guillaume Semugisha argues that political interests promoted an ideology of division among the citizens of Burundi. This divided the people into Hutus and Tutsis This divided mainly the Hutus and Tutsis and led to horrendous massacres. The author insists that homogeneity of Burundians should be asserted based on two major elements: language and culture. Based on the fact that the so-called Hutus and Tutsis have the same language and culture, the author dismisses the existence of ethnic categories in Burundi. The author advocates for reconciliation through the amendments of some Constitutional articles and complementarity amongst various Commissions for truth and justice.
Francis Mabiri addresses the issue of Machiavellianism and governance in Southern Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe. The author contends that the general populace in Southern Africa is voiceless and hence the need for the emancipation of the populace in order to take up political spaces and participate in political discourses. The author probes the moral ideology and dynamics which African leadership uses to address socio-economic ills and in order to enhance active and competent political participation among the citizenry.
In his reflection, Kuma-kuma Mousa argues that individualism is at the heart of Africa’s failed leadership. He mentions how Africa’s produce from its fertile soil is used not for the benefit of the general populace but for individuals’ benefit. For the author, African leadership lacks vision and thus it degenerates into neo-colonialism ‘Africans oppressing fellow Africans’. The author proposes that a new generation of leaders be prepared to sort out problems like election rigging, and tribalism which are some of the African socio-political and cultural realities.
These articles are followed by two poems: ‘Mama Africa’ by Sean van Staden and ‘Unfriending with Human Beings’ by Orcastro Junior.
My heartfelt gratitude goes to the Editorial Board of Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe Jesuit University for their staunch commitment, generosity and resilience in reviewing the articles in this issue. Special mention goes to Timoteo Portasio (Asst. Editor-in-Chief) for his continued support. I also appreciate Victor Manirakiza for designing this publication. I remain indebted to the venerable and grand Prof. Anthony Chennells for his competent academic prowess and wise counsel and guidance. My gratitude extends to the administration of Arrupe Jesuit University and special mention goes to Dr. Evaristus Ekwueme (Pro-Vice Chancellor Academics) for his continued support. Above all, heartfelt gratitude goes to our invaluable contributors, those who authored the the articles in this issue. We trust that you will always entrust Chiedza Journal with your academic interests and researches so that together we can light up Africa with knowledge and wisdom tapped from any possible academic disciplines. God bless Chiedza Journal in its endeavour of ‘Lighting Africa’ and beyond.

 

Ashley Salima, O’Carm

Editor

Published: 2022-04-28
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