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Democracy In Africa: Myth or Reality?Vol 23 No 2 (2021)
Democracy is a contested concept that has a number of different definitions. Even some totalitarian and military dictatorships attempt to give themselves respectability by pinning a democratic label on themselves. Any generally agreed definition of what democracy entails involves government in which supreme power is invested in the people and is exercised directly by them or by their elected agents. In general terms, democracy refers to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Although there may be many forms of democracy, the most acceptable form is representative democracy. In this system, citizens elect officials and entrust them with powers to make political decisions, formulate laws, and administer programs for the common good. As such, since elected officials stand in for the people, they remain accountable to the people for their actions. In addition, the separation of power constitutes another component of democracy. Power is separated because it breaks down the responsibility of the state into three agencies: legislative, executive and judicial. These tasks are distributed to different institutions in such a way that each of them can limit the powers of the others. Consequently, no institution can become so powerful in a democracy that it becomes dominant and other institutions are disabled.
In just over a year, Africa has experienced three successful coups (two in Mali and one more recently in Guinea), an arbitrary military transfer of power in Chad following the assassination of its president, and two unsuccessful coup attempts in Niger and Sudan. These power grabs threaten the democratization process in Africa. But does Africa observe democracy in the first place? In other words, has Africa undergone the democratization process or it is still a fantasy? Is it possible that Africa only possesses a simulacrum of democracy? What kind of democracy suits the African status quo or is democracy a one-size-fits-all system? Are there limits to democracy in Africa? Is Africa able to function without democracy? Should democracy be fixed or replaced in Africa? Because these are pressing issues in so many of our countries, the editorial board of Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe Jesuit University, for the December 2021 Issue, invites us to reflect on democratization process in Africa by answering the following question: “Democracy in Africa: Myth or Reality?” It could be argued that democracy is a foreign concept to Africa where power traditionally was located with elderly men or despotic rulers who inherited their positions from their families. Differently put, democratic constitutions are often an imposition of the departing colonizers who had hardly demonstrated popular sovereignty in the way in which they managed the colonies. Can this be an accurate account for the failure of democracy in Africa?
Elections are a test of Africa’s democratization process. But, there is a sense in which elections in and of themselves seem to be insufficient markers of democracy or political reform in Africa. Nelson Chamisa, the president of the Movement for Democratic Change, filed a court case against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission claiming that the presidential election of 2018 was not conducted in accordance with the law and was not free and fair. The constitutional court dismissed this appeal on the grounds that the applicant failed to place before it clear, sufficient, direct and credible evidence that the irregularities that he alleges marred the election process materially existed. In other words, the applicant did not prove the alleged irregularities as a matter of fact. Similarly, following the Mozambique’s 2019 general elections, Resistência Nacional de Moçambique, Renamo, submitted an official complaint to the National Electoral Commission to be judged by the constitutional council for “massive electoral fraud” and breaching the country’s peace deal by using violence and intimidation on voting day. Some international observers had raised concerns about the results’ credibility. All the same, Mozambique’s constitutional court dismissed Renamos’s application arguing that the applicant did not provide sufficient evidence to support its claim. Why is it that elections are almost always contested in Africa? To what extent are electoral commissions and the judicial power independent and democratic?
Internal secession constitutes another threat to democratization process in Africa. Across the African continent, diverse secessionist movements are back in the spotlight in Africa. The conflict in Tigray Region in Ethiopia is such one example. Indeed, in November 2020, the forces from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked an Ethiopian military base in the region following a longstanding dispute over the distribution of power and the nature of ethnic federalism in the country. Similarly, agitation for internal secession has turned violent in Nigeria. If legislative bodies are represented by whichever group or political parties that had the largest electoral support, are regional and ethnic minorities never going to be represented adequately in parliaments? Or is proportional representation likely to give smaller ethnicities or regions some say in how government is exercised? Maybe a general question would be what constitutes democracy? Is it the will of the majority of the people? Is 50.1% the majority of the people? If this is the case, what happens to the will of the other 49% of the people? Nevertheless, there are signs of democracy in some African countries. For instance, Kenya has tried hard to get rights for smaller ethnicities have some rights in the constitution. In 2017, Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled the results of the presidential elections due to irregularities. This was a commendable move, for it is unprecedented in Africa for an opposition court challenge against a presidential election to succeed. Equally, the Malawian constitutional court nullified the 2019 presidential elections and called for fresh ones. This verdict resulted from a court challenge filed by Lazarus Chakwera, leader of the Malawi Congress Party and incumbent president of Malawi and Saulos Chilima, leader of the United Transformation Movement Party and current vice-president of Malawi against the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). The court found out that the electoral process was marked by massive irregularities which included the use of correction fluid, uses of duplicate forms and lack of signatures on some result sheets. Besides, the court found that MEC had breached constitutional provisions demanding transparent elections. But are these moves a sign of maturity of democracy in Africa? Or they are simple smokescreens? In addition, after Hakainde Hichilema’s landslide victory in Zambia’s 2021 general elections, Edgar Lungu conceded defeat. This concession ensured a peaceful transition of power. This was the third time that power has been peacefully transferred from a ruling party to the opposition in Zambia. This is an uncommon occurrence in many African countries as authoritarian regimes cling to power despite electoral downfall. Why is this Zambian ‘culture’ of transfer of power lacking in most African countries? Could it be argued that Kenneth Kaunda, the Zambian founding father, instilled this tradition when he acknowledged defeat against Frederick Chiluba?
Articles should be strictly 4,000 words or less. We also welcome articles, book reviews, poems which do not necessarily reflect these topics or our theme. All articles are to be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org either on or before the 30th of November, 2021. Please refer to the Chiedza Website https://www.aju.ac.zw/journals/index.php/chiedza/about/submissions for other details, including the Chiedza style sheet.
Timóteo B. Portásio
Covid-19: Will Africa Survive?Vol 23 No 1 (2021)
The next New Year Eve will mark the second anniversary of the first reported case of Covid-19. The first cases of Covid-19, as the name suggests, were identified towards the end of the year 2019 in Wuhan Province, China. Due to its exponential spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Following this introduction, governments, virtually worldwide, adopted various preventive measures to control its transmission. National lockdowns were the most prominent and, perhaps, the most effective of those preventive measures. Since its rise, more than five million people have died of Covid-19 throughout the world. Meanwhile, more than eight and half billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have been administered globally and new drugs have been developed to fight the disease. Apart from bringing the world at a standstill, the Covid-19 pandemic has created great public health crisis and affected economic productivity in state after state. Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the educational methods and exposed social and political inequalities that have previously been ignored. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed some weaknesses in the concept and practice of globalization.
Thus, when envisaging a theme for this edition, the Editorial Board of Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe Jesuit University could not overlook the Covid-19 pandemic. This being the case, the theme of this May 2021 Issue is Covid-19: Will Africa Survive? The editorial board invited articles that examine the issue of Covid-19 which devastates the entire world. As indicated in the call for papers for this issue, this theme is, possibly, ironic because, in Africa, the question of survival is asked and answered on a daily basis. Differently put, life,for most Africans, is on the quotidian and too many of them live from hand to mouth and day to day activities. In many parts of Africa, the economies are depleted by protracted crises and Africans exist precariously through informal employment. Consequently, a government order to stay at home seemed to be an order to starve. On the one hand, although people understood the need to control the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, they, on the other hand, knew that if “social distancing” is practiced, the congregated groups through which they trade, it would deprive them the context which enables them to survive. In addition, the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines is another factor that influenced the choice for the theme of this Issue. Precisely, in the scramble for Covid-19 vaccines, wealthier continents had procured several million doses for their populations. Conversely, African continent was practically unnoticed in the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The first contribution to provide some answers to the editorial board’s question is an analysis of human rights and the Covid-19 pandemic precautionary measures enforced by the Malawian government. Nazombe REUBEN CHIFUNDO addresses the issue of right to food especially of children from poor households in Malawi. He argues that despite the need to contain the spread of Covid-19 through measures such as lockdowns, the state has an obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to food as well as to take steps towards the realization of the right for children from food insecure households in Malawi. Reuben looks critically at the state obligations in order to bring out what the state should do or should not do to ensure the enjoyment of the right to food for children from urban poor households in Malawi.
Looking at the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic Lupinda JEAN-LUC MULYANGA urges the Congolese people to turn to a subversive system of thought which, in one way or the other, may change their vision of the world. In this way, the Congolese people would have to think differently about the conduct of their daily lives. In a nutshell, Lupinda’s article is a call for hope or a forward-looking spirit capable of making the Congo D.R survive in the face of Covid-19 and future pandemics of the like. Portásio TIMÓTEO looks at the Covid-19 pandemic from a philosophical or metaphysical perspective. He brings Heraclitus into the discussion of Covid-19. He uses Heraclitan philosophy of change or flux to intellectually and morally analyze the possible emergence and cause of Covdi-19. He suggests that Covid-19 may have emerged as a natural way of the universe to maintain itself. Thus, Portásio, controversially, suggests that Covid-19, though it killed a lot of people and it brought the world to a standstill, it might have risen to bring about some good in the universe.
Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change remains another much discussed topic at the present moment globally. Perhaps, this great concern is because climate change seriously threatens the gradual extinction of the universe and, of course, of humanity. Probably, this is why climate change and biodiversity losses have attracted the attention of many scholars in the field of environmental ethics. In this debate, some intellectuals have suggested that ethical egoism and anthropocentrism are major threats to climate, biodiversity conservation as well as environmental sustainability. Nyurahayo JEAN GAETAN brings the issues of Covid-19 and climate change together. He critically discusses the “Impact of Ethical Egoism and Ethical Anthropocentrism on the Climate and Biodiversity Conservation in the Face of the Covid-19 Pandemic.” In his discussion, he proposes three approaches: (i) a “win-win” method, (ii) an “I am because the environment is”, and (iii) the adoption of ethical anthropoholism rather than anthropocentrism. He thus moves from a position in which human beings claim to be at the center of all that there is in the universe and therefore abuse the rest of the living and non-living constituents of the environment. Gaetan’s ideas developed in this paper are summed up in his poem “Live and Let Live” also published in this issue.
Richard KAZADI KAMBA shifts his attention from the Covid-19 pandemic to the discussion begun by Gaetan above which is ecology. He argues that the contemporary world must be ready to face the ecological challenge as one of its most fundamental questions. This is a matter of examining the interplay between human beings and their biological surrounding or environment. Hence, his plea is for the establishment of a necessary ecology as a path towards an authentic development. Essentially, he argues that the problem of ecology requires a holistic approach because, fundamentally, it touches all angles of human life. In turn, Alfigio TUNHA further shifts the discussion from Covid-19 to leadership. He investigates the impact of gerontocratic political leadership on youth who have been Marginalized in Zimbabwe. Principally, his study seeks to establish reasons why youth have been excluded from leadership positions in Zimbabwe with a view to finding solutions that impact positively in the developmental and transformational growth of the Zimbabwean youth. To achieve these goals, Tunha employs Mannheim’s theory of generations and he uses quantitative method.
The articles above are followed by one book review and two poems. Bomki MATTHEW contributed with review of Moisés Silva’s book Biblical Words and their Meaning. An Introduction to Lexical Semantics. As the title of the book suggests, it is on Linguistic Semantics. This is a new approach to Biblical Lexicography. It is quite insightful and maybe not known to many schools of thought. The first poem, Live and Let Live, is by Gaetan Nyurahayo and it addresses issues of Covid-19 and environmental ethics. Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, called for an “Ignatian Year” to celebrate the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. The Year opened on May 20th 2021, the 500th anniversary of when Ignatius, the soldier, was injured by a cannonball in the Battle of Pamplona. The second poem, “Santo Inácio de Loyola”, is by Mário Virgílio Cipriano. The poem is about Saint Ignatius and it is allusive to the Ignatian Year. I wish to show my gratitude to all those who, direct and indirectly, have labored to make this endeavor to birth. In a special way, I would like to thank Mr. Ashly Salima, the former Editor-in-Chief of Chiedza Journal for his continuous support. He has always checked on both me and the status of the Journal. I want to extend my appreciation to Mr. Tyolumun Tsaor for his availability and never-failing assistance. Besides, I owe plenty of gratefulness to Prof. Anthony Chennells whose dedication to this Journal never sways. Apart from advising me and the editorial board, he has given me emotional support to carry on with this noble task. In the same vein, I want to thank Dr. Isaac Mutelo, the acting chairperson of the Department of Research, Innovation, and Publication at Arrupe Jesuit University (AJU) and all members of this department for their care, concerns about the status of the Journal, suggestions, and comfort. Finally, I want to thank all the contributors, members of the Chiedza journal editorial board who reviewed the articles published herein, the Arrupe Jesuit University Student Association (AJUSA), and the entire University for, direct or indirectly, contributing to the growth of this enterprise. May we never tire in our trust to light and enlighten Africa through Chiedza Journal.
Timóteo B. Portásio, SJ
UNDERSTANDING AFRICA’S REALITIES THROUGH IDEOLOGYVol 22 No 2 (2020)
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
POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAVol 22 No 1 (2020)
The theme of this issue of Chiedza is ’Popular Sovereignty in Contemporary Africa’. The Editorial Board of Chiedza invited articles that reflect on and examine the people’s collective power to decide who governs them and how that governance is exercised. As we observed in the call for articles for this issue, in most contemporary African states, some constitutional mechanism is put in place which enables the citizens to select their leaders who in turn should make policies which correspond to what the people who put them into executive and legislative offices want. The constitution also details the mechanism which allows citizens to dissolve or dismiss the government when it does not fulfil or deliver what they anticipated. If such mechanisms function then the citizens in a particular state can be said to be sovereign. This theme is thought-provocative, because it brings to our attention, the need to investigate philosophically, research and discuss contentious issues like representative democracy, the traditional origins of popular sovereignty, how our social institutions like education foster and enhance democratic principles, participatory democracy and the practicality of popular sovereignty in contemporary Africa. This theme also compels us to realize the structures necessary for the realization and actualization of popular sovereignty in Africa. Most articles in this issue, however, dwelt principally on issues like representative democracy and its practicality in African States, the quest for genuine freedom from imperialism. They also address the issue of freedom from various compulsive socio-economic and political conditionalities and ideologies which are imported to Africa from the West. These imported ideologies threaten human autonomy in Africa and thus, affect popular sovereignty (democracy) in Africa.
Marvellous Tawanda Murungu takes us through a philosophical appraisal of Aquinas’ traditional concept of popular sovereignty which is enshrined and founded on his notion of the intrinsic common good. The author also evaluates the relevance of Aquinas’ traditional notion of the intrinsic common good in contemporary Africa. The author establishes that Aquinas’ traditional concept of popular sovereignty enshrined in his notion of the intrinsic common good is too ideal, demanding and difficult to attain in contemporary Africa. He alludes to the ambivalent reactions to this concept by various schools of thought.
Christian Ekesiobi investigates the question of whether popular sovereignty is a myth or a necessary route as well as its practicability in contemporary Africa. The author notes that the classical concept of popular sovereignty is not practical in contemporary Africa. He thus proposes representative democracy as a feasible way of practicing popular sovereignty in Africa which he postulates has a greater probability of yielding the socio-economic and political development which most Africa states so desire. In order to ensure full participation and engagement of all citizens, the author proposes that the people need to view life as existentially meaningful as postulated by Victor Frankl. He then employs the ‘Capability Approach to wellbeing’ in order to buttress his proposition. He finally advocates that if Africa is to succeed in its quest for socio-economic and political sustainability, it should renew its understanding and engagement of democracy.
Augustin Koffi then expounds that democracy is not only a political regime but also a political ideal of which the key element is to give voice to the people. Popular sovereignty is, therefore, at the heart of democracy as a political system. Though each country in Sub-Saharan Africa is unique and sovereign, each has adopted democracy as their current system of governance. Democracy has its requirements but its practical implementation in some sub-Saharan countries faces many deviations. Despite the various deviations from the ideal of democracy in Africa, it must be recognized that African peoples try to play their role in controlling public action through the use of social networks.
Christian Mukadi analyzes the question of sovereignty in the context of DR Congo. He presents the status-quo of the question of popular sovereignty in DR Congo, how people are fighting to reappropriate their rights. He depicts ‘democracy in crisis’. The author argues that one of the fundamental characteristics of democracy is how the people as centers of sovereign power control the governance of their country and maintain balance and checks on their political representatives. To this effect, the author notes that accountability is obligatory for the representatives, and it is also an essential foundation for representative democracy. In most cases, representatives do not consult the people but their hierarchical leaders, when making key decisions pertaining to the state and they in turn dictates what the people should do. The author argues that this is not democracy, but an anocracy.
In his insightful paper, Jean-Luc Mlyanga Lupinda also evaluates the question of popular sovereignty in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The author built his paper on two issues, the first one is the evaluation of the meaning of popular sovereignty and an analysis of whether or not popular sovereignty is present in DRC. The second point is an expose of various movements and ideologies that rise in order to explain what hinders the presence of popular sovereignty in the DRC society. The author appraises these movements that bring new ideologies that put people at the Centre of affairs of the nation. The author reinforces the importance of people getting engaged in the fight for their sovereignty.
Andrew Madume critically examines the role of education to enhance and foster economic development, in promoting participatory democracy in Africa as well as its role in the promotion of socioeconomic and political coherence in Africa. He furthermore contends that the modern Higher Education Institutions in Africa as centers of knowledge, learning, research and innovation have a critical role to play in championing participatory democracy and socio-economic and political development and cohesion.
In his paper, Pierre Nyandwi examines the African struggle for freedom and seeks to establish whether or not it was a failed project. He states that the general atmosphere in Africa is one of frustration and disappointment because having fought against imperialism to gain freedom, it seems most African states are still not free to exercise their power to elect leaders of their choice. Although the African freedom fighters eradicated the colonial rule and brought freedom from imperialism, the author contends that, their successors failed to carry on the cause for freedom. He expounds that their successors failed to foster and enhance democratization of African states and to promote the wellbeing of their citizens. The author also proposes that there is need to reform the African education system and to re-think the notion of democratic government in Africa.
In his well-researched paper Fosu Bonosa Kwadwo bemoans a continent rich in minerals and other natural resources and yet it remains the poorest. He notes that most developed countries prey on Africa for minerals and other raw materials. Paradoxically, post-independent Africa, is renowned as a beneficiary of ‘Foreign Aid’. Foreign Aid is a form of neo-colonialism, and that means Africa is not free nor sovereign to decide their socio-economic and political course. He thus, confirms Nkrumah’s understanding of neo-colonialism and propounds that Foreign Aid infringes and compromises the nation’s sovereignty to freely act the way they want. As a panacea to this disadvantageous and power usurping vice, the author proposes that Africa should promote unity in continental trade, common economic agreements and foreign policies. If Foreign Aid is to be accepted in Africa, he outlines the modalities and conditions under which Africa should accept Foreign Aid, which are anchored on knowledge transfer instead of financial aid.
Tobias Dindi provides a philosophical reflection concerning democracy in contemporary Africa. He also provides a historical discourse which shows how the ideas of social contract, capitalism and transhumanism shaped the society. The core of this paper is that the author argues that most of these ideas, from social contract, capitalism to transhumanism is that it threatens human autonomy. The author furthermore problematizes this issue by stipulating that a threat to human sovereignty is a threat to democracy.
Gift Batsirai Chinyadza gives a philosophical exploration of capital punishment and investigates its moral justification. The author postulates two contrasting schools of thought: the abolitionists and the retentionists. The abolitionists advocate that capital punishment should be abolished whilst the retentionists contends that capital punishment should be retained. The author argues that destroying innocent life by killing innocent people is morally wrong. The author also delves into issues like proportional retributivism and capital attrition. These articles are followed by two book review: The first is Ashley Salima’s review of the book Faith Doing Justice: A Manual for Social Analysis, Catholic Social Teachings and Social Justice by Elias O. Opongo, SJ and Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ. The second one is by Bomki Mathew’s review of Le Superleadership par dépouillement by Fr Wilfrid Okambawa SJ. These book reviews are followed by two Poems; the first one is based on the theme of this Issue, popular sovereignty by Victor Manirakiza and the last one Jeremiah Mood by Orcastro Júnior.
We trust that the academic articles in this edition will provide original commentary on the diverse realities surrounding popular sovereignty. They also unveil the critical discourses which are indispensable if we are to attain the socio-economic and political development and coherence we greatly desire in Africa. Some of these articles also propose solutions to the problems surrounding popular sovereignty. Other articles which do not directly address our theme also bring to our awareness topical issues so that by reflecting on them we can acquire more autonomy over our lives in Africa.
A word of gratitude goes to the Editorial Board of Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe Jesuit University for their invaluable and unswerving support, availability and ardent commitment to the Journal. I remain thankful to Timoteo Portasio (Ass. Editor-in-Chief) for his prompt and forthcoming assistance and generosity; I Salute you. I also want to thank Victor Manirakiza for designing this issue and laud his relentless assistance in reviewing French articles. I remain grateful to the venerable Prof. Anthony Chennells for his wise counsel and guidance as well as his unparalleled intellectual and academic prowess. I also extend my gratitude to the administration of Arrupe Jesuit University, more-especially Dr. Evaristus Ekwueme (Pro-Vice Chancellor Academics), for his continuous support.
Finally, a special thanks goes to our authors. This issue is possible only because our contributors took the time to write on political problems that they have pondered on and shared their conclusions with us. I greatly appreciate your invaluable contributions, patience and cooperation. Thank you so much our beloved authors. God bless Chiedza Journal in its endeavour to light up Africa and beyond.
Ashley Salima, O.Carm
Science and Technology, Africa’s Gain?Vol 21 No 2 (2019)
‘Science and Technology, Africa’s Gain?’, this theme of the December 2019 edition emerged from a threefold point. The first one concerned the fact that science and technology introduced various important trends that highly define development in the contemporary society. The second was a recognition of the necessity of African nations to assess various ways of benefitting from the exponential growth of scientific endeavors and technological activities. In fact, the intention of the editors when they introduced this theme was to analyze the contributions of science and technology in the realization of Africa’s renaissance and to evaluate how Africa contributed, contributes or can contribute to the growth of the two fields. Thirdly, given the undeniable support of science and technology in developmental sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, education, et cetera, we proposed to reflect on the commitment of African nations vis-à-vis these efficacious instruments of sustainable development. In other words, in addition to the acknowledgement of what Africa’s knowledge systems contribute and can contribute to science and technology, we proposed this edition of Chiedza as a platform to assess the role of African political systems, economic and educational sectors in bridging the gap between the significant exponential growth of science and technology globally and the slow growth of these fields in Africa due to various instabilities.
The importance of reflecting on the place of science and technology on the African continent and the necessity of continuous discussions on issues related to these two domains are illustrated in the articles that make up this issue. This edition introduces a number of different topics that reflect the status of science and technology in contemporary Africa. Though almost all our contributors chose to focus on technology, they built up arguments in which they manifest that, in various instances, science and technology are married in such a way that progress in one leads the promotion of the other. Christian Ekesiobi Uchechukwu, in his well-researched paper reflects on the causes of Africa’s seemingly poor technological mobility. Also, he goes on to propose various solutions that can help enhance the project of sustainable technological development in Africa. Precious Nihorowa chooses to assess the role of technology in the promotion of democracy on the African continent. For Nihororwa, so far, technology has been on one hand an agent used for the promotion of democratic principles. On the other hand, technology is also a hindrance and a disorientation of the people’s vote as they participate in a democracy. Hence, he suggests that, ‘if technology is to be a helpful agent in democracy in Africa, it has to be guided by clear well-designed policies.’
Christian Ntsolani puts the theme of this issue in a different perspective by using Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideas on science and the arts in order to evaluate how the accelerated progresses in science and technology shape human experiences in the modern world. Ntsolani, following his reading of Rousseau’s Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, warns us of the fact that what we call progress may in fact be a form of human enslavement. Victor Mureithi reviews various debates and discussions around the acceptance of biotechnological development and innovations in the domain of food productions. Mainly, he analyzes the role of the genetic modification of food sources. Mureithi proposes the search for an answer to the question whether or not we should adopt technologies or not. He concludes that ‘there is need for more groundwork by the African states in order to be able to make adequate decisions.
In this issue, there are two articles that can be put under the thematic area of ‘philosophy of Artificial Intelligence’. They manifest a growing awareness of the necessity of getting familiarized with issues that relate to Artificial Intelligence both at purely social and academic level. It is in this line that Bikorimana Félix and Dr. Stephen Buckland in their respective papers assess the famous Turing Test. For Bikorimana, his paper summarizes various positions on the experiment that Turing proposes. His conclusion echoes French M. Robert’s view that ‘since the Turing Test evaluates intelligence in human standards, it is not an accurate test for evaluating machine intelligence because it is ethnocentric’. Dr Buckland approaches the Turing Test as a strategy. In an analytic way, he sets out to explore the following questions on the Turing Test, ‘What does it, and what can it, show?’. Toure Ousmane Jonas contributes a paper in which he examines diverse means of the cultural survival of an African identity vis-à-vis the influence coming from emerging new technologies.
This edition includes other articles that are not directly related to the main theme of science and technology. These include, Guillaume Semugisha’s paper which evaluates the situation of environmental law. He argues that ‘environmental law increases people’s awareness and offers worthwhile boundaries to the level of usage or exploitation of the environment’. Another article comes from Tassi Yves who dialogues with various African thinkers to analyze their comprehension of African humanism or identity in the Ubuntu concept. He notes that there are various problems with the interpretation of this African humanism and suggests ‘the concept of “glocality” as a new attempt to talk about African identity in a contemporary and ever fragmented world’. All these articles are followed by Kevin Shijja Kuhumba’s review of the book Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach authored by Martha Nussbaum. In addition, this edition contains a short story by Uchechukwu D. Oguike. This story brings out the complexity and emptiness of life.
No doubt, the articles and contributions in this edition play an important role in the assessment of ways of promoting science and technology as instruments of sustainable development and essential tools of the innovation ecosystem in Africa. Moreover, other works that focus on themes other than science and technology have also done a good job in introducing us to various new concepts and by proposing interesting systematic solutions to a number of issues.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the editorial board of Chiedza for their laudable support and invaluable commitment to the journal. I remain grateful to Ashley Salima and Tobechukwu Tobias Edeh for their assistance and dedication. Also, I want to thank Christian Ekesiobi for designing this issue and for tirelessly assisting me with the review of various articles. Also, I am grateful to Prof. Anthony Chennells for being a pillar of support and highly appreciated guidance. I cannot forget to extend my gratitude to the administration of Arrupe Jesuit University especially Dr Evaristus Ekwueme, the Pro Vice Chancellor Academics, for his continuous support. Finally, I wholeheartedly thank all those who contributed articles, book reviews and short stories to this edition.
African Environments: A Restless PeopleVol 21 No 1 (2019)
In the call for articles for this issue ‘African Environments: A Restless People’, the board of Chiedza invited articles that reflect on issues related to ecology and migration emphasizing the African context. Our intention was to provide a platform for discussion around various factors that are responsible for migration and ecological crises in Africa. These two phenomena can be independent of one another but sometimes they appear to be inseparable. Because of this frequent connection the editors of Chiedza used “environments” to provide the context to consider them. Though most of our contributors chose to write on the ecological crisis, all essays that are contained in this issue stresses the importance of tracing the patterns migration takes and the different manifestations of the ecological crisis. To assess these phenomena, they do it at different dimensions such as philosophical, theological, sociological, etc. Then, they complement their work with suggestions of various ways through which we can remediate to the aforementioned crises.
Elaigwu Ameh explores the concept of nudity within the lived context of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria. His objective is to argue that ‘in nudity, both in its iteration as a feeling of exposure and as a metaphor for human nature, lies not only an effective lens for examining the multifaceted lived experience of IDPs but also the capacity for IDPs themselves to transform their lives and living conditions.’ Also, he evaluates the necropolitical world order as an important framework that lead to the understanding of the exclusion from the common good that IDPs face. Then he assesses how, in such a necropolitical context, the IDPs’ bodies become instruments of resistance. One of the first contributors to consider issues related with ecology is Kevin Shijja Kuhumba. In his paper, he evaluates the ecological crisis in contemporary society and suggests that this phenomenon impedes the program of sustainable development. Thus, as he draws insights from Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ and argues that, in order to achieve sustainable development, two ethical imperatives have to be adopted. These ethical principles are ‘ethics of responsibility, and a paradigm shift towards a stewardship in management of sustainable resources.’
For his part, Jean-Luc Mulyanga Lupinda, writing in French, evaluates the interdependency between the ecological crisis and migration. In his essay, he argues that, as far as Africa is concerned, the ecological crisis is a phenomenon which is not separated from the social crisis. In order to examine these correlations of patterns between ecological and social crises, he evaluates the place of human beings in the universe and their relationship with their environment. His purpose is to conscientize Africans into taking care of their environments in all their dimensions be it ecological or social or economic. For him, by taking care of the African environment, Africans will overcome the migration crisis. Robert Ssekyanzi uses Sacred Scriptures to contribute to a theology that promotes environmental protection. In his paper, he argues that ‘it is plausible to talk about the end of world without creating anxiety, fear, and indifference among people, with a view of promoting responsible use and care of the environment’.
Carolyne S. Mudeje Buya focuses on indigenous African morality and its critical role in enhancing ecological responsibility for sustainable development in Africa. Her aim is to advocate for a way forward for promoting ecological responsibility for sustainable development in Africa. For Ivan Kivinge, to take care of the environment also involves the protection of certain human rights. It is in this line that he evaluates environmental issues that hinder human rights. He ends his paper by proposing a possible panacea to the environmental crisis through education, researches and the process of implementing environmental laws.
Djérareou Éric, writing in French, analyses various problems that are part of the contemporary reality of the African continent. Most especially, his thought-provoking paper examines the economic status of the former French colonies in West Africa. He sets as his task to reveal the operating mechanism and what he calls the ‘economicide politics’ behind the West African CFA franc. Charles Pastory Kulwa examines the impact of trade policy reforms or domestic policies on Smallholder Farmers and Food Security in the East African Community with a focus on the cases of Kenya and Tanzania. Victor Mureithi in his poem Restlessness, bring out the complexity of the African political and social reality.
We are grateful to the contributors who submitted these insightful papers, book reviews and poems. My gratitude also goes to the Chiedza Journal editorial board members for their availability, efforts and valuable help. My profound gratitude to Prof. Anthony Chennells, for his support and precious pieces of advice. I would like to express my gratitude to Christian Ekesiobi for helping out with the designing of this issue and to various students who helped us in various ways. Also, I acknowledge the support of the administration of Arrupe Jesuit University for their pleasant collaboration with the Editorial Board.
Finally, to you our readers, happy reading!
Hubert Niyonkuru, SJ
Sexuality in AfricaVol 20 No 2 (2018)
When the Editorial board of Chiedza chose “Sexuality in Africa” as the theme for this issue, one of the principal intentions was to find out if the emerging ways of understanding sexuality in Africa today constitute an evolution, a degeneration or a revolution. In addition to the dominant forms of language employed in the understanding of sexuality today, we also wanted to find out which is more valid in the African sexual landscape – sexuality or sexualities. The essays in this volume address, in different tenors, these concerns, sometimes from different assumptions and arriving at different conclusions.
Rather than follow the traditional manner of presenting the contents of each essay sequentially, I will highlight the themes that emerge from this collection and indicate how various authors deal with them. The purpose of this is to stress the conversational attitude that Chiedza hopes to foster. In every conversation, the conversing parties, all concerned with a common subject-matter, come to the conversation with their historically effected consciousness, prejudices and hopes. These, rather than being impediments to a fruitful conversation, are the beginnings of any conversation. As the conversation progresses, the conversing parties gradually experience a kind of elevation. This elevation will be experienced not as a loss of self-possession, but rather as an enrichment of each party (Gadamer 54-5). In the end, we will feel enriched as the horizons of the conversing parties are fused and the fusion becomes an enlargement of our understanding.
Culture – in its various dimensions: political, economic, social, legal and environmental – always defines correct sexual behaviour in societies that observe the norms of that culture. African cultures are usually praised for their communitarian outlook where the community takes care of every individual within the culture. Communal values and practices are sometimes used to undermine individual needs. One area where this is rife is with childless couples as Precious Nihorowa observes in “The Communal Dimension of Sexuality: Exploring and Reviewing the Concept of Posterity in Traditional Africa in the Context of Childless Couples”. Although life within the institution of marriage is valued in African cultures, Nihorowa argues that the presence of childless couples is one that demands a reconsideration of the African way of viewing sexuality. In analyzing the consequences of being childless in African societies, Nihorowa suggests that the understanding of life can be broadened beyond its biological scope. The communal dimension of sexuality for which Africa is known must not be used as a tool to alienate childless couples from their societies.
Since for many, issues of sexuality in African societies belong to the realm of the sacred, sexual taboos therefore, become important in any discourse about sexuality. Augustin Effa Effa in “Sexualité et tabou au Cameroun: Pudeur ou Inhibition?” evaluates the domain of sexuality and taboos in the Cameroonian society through a case study of the Ewondo people. In considering liberalization in contemporary Cameroonian society, he notes the changes that have occurred in the cultural apprehension of sexuality and sexual taboos. In his analysis of Cameroonian music, Effa shows how this type of music offers a deviation from what was formerly considered as sexual modesty. Since this kind of music has a huge following, mainly the youth, Effa calls for sexual education within families as a way of discussing issues of sexuality with openness and sincerity.
Feminism and Power Relations
For those who appeal to one or more traditional understandings of sexuality, almost divinely constituted roles are assigned to either males or females in a society. It is within this social imaginary that individuals are culturally obliged to understand themselves as sexual beings and living out what such an understanding demands. On this score, it could be said that society confers gender on individuals. But the assignment of gender roles is an expression of the patriarchal hegemony in most African societies. In a world where male dominance is entrenched in quotidian social relationships, Eziokwubundu Amadi calls for the revolutionary change in the way we view women in “Women in Men’s Metanarratives”. Such a change will involve the acknowledgment of the domination of women by men, as well as greater efforts to understand how privilege and oppression are manifested today in both subtle and open ways. The desire to challenge male domination has led to the rise of feminism in its various configurations. At a time when feminists’ movements, in their different shapes, appear to be fashionable, Tobechukwu Edeh in “Sexism, Gender and Feminism”, calls for caution on the part of Africans. The path towards eradicating sexism in Africa does not consist of a mere adoption of the feminist discourse and practices of the West. Rather, it involves a re-evaluation of our African values of community and family alongside the desire for gender equality. This requires conversation and sensitization at all levels of society.
In African countries such as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Uganda, homosexual activity is criminal, attracting several penalties including the threat of life sentences. In this context, the South African constitution - which guarantees gays and lesbians the same rights as any other citizen - is the most “liberal” African constitution. According to that constitution, to deny same-sex unions would therefore be a denial of a fundamental constitutional right. But what is the end of human sexuality? “Exorcising the Emerging Ghost of Homosexuality in Africa: Inspiration from Natural Law Theory” by Ivan Kivinge seeks to answer this question. Kivinge does this particularly in exploring the relationship between the sexual act and homosexuality. From reflecting on Thomas Aquinas’ Natural Law Theory, he argues that since the end of sexual intercourse is procreation and homosexual acts are not procreative, we have to conclude that homosexual relations violate natural law and disrespect human values. They cannot therefore, be tolerated.
One of the biggest challenges of this century, argues Negussie Andre Dominic in “Sexual Identity: Biblical and Anthropological Reflections”, is the problem of sexual identities. The presence of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) individuals seem to distort traditionally held views about sexual identities. Dominic asks if such sexual identities are compatible with what it means to be human. He reflects on this question using biblical as well as anthropological lenses. He calls for the constant humanizing of sexuality; a humanizing that sees the human person not only in sexual terms. The human person is more than the material, physical body, and hence, should not be treated as a mere thing.
In his study, “Same-Sex Practices: A Study of LGBTI Movements and Allies in Zimbabwe”, Tabona Shoko shows how Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) groups have been represented in public discourses in Zimbabwe and the limited cultural space in which LGBTI people occupy. He also presents the main strategies used by LGBTI groups to advocate equality and social inclusion. He therefore calls for the opening up of public spaces in Zimbabwe to include LGBTI issues.
The Media and Sex Education
There is little doubt that the media continues to shape the discourse of sexuality in Africa. With its breadth and increasing ease of access, social media plays an important role in shaping public opinion and understanding sexuality in Africa. By analyzing both the print and electronic media in “The Power of the Media and the Escalation of Sexual Immorality: An Ethical Response”, Kevin Shijja Kuhumba argues that the media has reduced love to sex. This, he argues has led to among other things, increase in premarital sex and sex trafficking through the internet. He therefore calls for the adoption and practice of ethical standards by the media in order to foster the cultivation of virtues and good character in society. This can be achieved when the media focuses on ethical sex education. Grace Richard Kambona takes up this reflection on ethical sex education in “Towards the Incorporation of an Ethical Sex Education into the Tanzanian Educational Curriculum”. Kambona observes that in many countries in Africa, sex education has been introduced into the High School curriculum. This is in a bid to make teenagers understand sexuality. One such country is Tanzania. But, sex education in the Tanzanian education curriculum, she argues, focuses only on biological facts about sex and sexual reproduction, leaving out ethical dimensions about sex. The kind of ethical sex education that Kambona calls for is one that emphasizes values of love, mutual concern, loving respect and deep meaningful communication. The task of ethical sex education is not reserved for teachers only, but also for parents, the Church and civil society.
According to Martha Nussbaum, “certain truths about human life can only be fittingly and accurately stated in the language and forms characteristic of the narrative artist […] the terms of the novelist’s art are alert winged creatures, perceiving where the blunt terms of ordinary speech, or of abstract theoretical discourse, are blind, acute where they are obtuse, winged where they are dull and heavy” (5). Thus, this edition of Chiedza contains a literary essay, a short story and a collection of African proverbs. In “Ngũgĩ’ wa Thiong’o’s Literary Landscape”, I discuss one of Africa’s most prominent novelists – Ngũgĩ’ wa Thiong’o. By exploring the literary landscapes in three of Ngũgĩ’s earlier novels – The River Between, A Grain of Wheat and Petals of Blood, I show how Ngũgĩ uses these narratives to bring to bear the complexities present in Africa’s public life, as well as the variety of responses that characters make in an attempt to come to terms with these complexities. Ngũgĩ’s masterful combination of the traditional novel and a specialized rhetorical style produces a revolutionary political ideology that not only analyzes social dilemmas, but also offers hope for a better Africa. Thus, Ngũgĩ’s use of Art in expressing a political ideology, is one that ends on a confident note of hope for the future of Africa. In their short story, “Backpockets on my Shirt”, Uchechukwu Oguike and Leanne Munyoro bring out the complexity of being homosexual in a Nigerian society. In a way that only narrative can do, Oguike and Munyoro present, through the consciousness of the weird child, disturbing issues of family life, a self-righteous Christian outlook, the contradictions inherent in culture, child marriage and abuse of minors by “men of God”. This gripping story calls for a rethink of society’s attitudes towards homosexuals. In “The African Proverbs”, Tersoo Gwaza presents wisdom from our African forebears. If “Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”, Gwaza’s collection of African proverbs invites readers to “eat” the words in this edition of Chiedza with the ever-present wisdom of our ancestors.
As the essays in this edition suggest, sexuality in Africa is an issue that demands continued reflection. All of the articles demonstrate this awareness. It is our hope that readers will in turn, continue reflecting on the issues raised and discussed in this edition.
I wish to thank the members of the Chiedza editorial board for their commitment to the journal. I remain grateful to Hubert Niyonkuru, the Assistant Editor-in-Chief (who will serve as Editor-in-Chief for the year 2019) for helping out with the French essay. I am also grateful to Akakpo Ghislain for the commitment in designing this edition. This edition will not be possible without the unwavering support of the indefatigable Professor Anthony Chennells. Thank you so much Prof. I also thank the administration of Arrupe Jesuit University, especially the Pro Vice-chancellor (Academics) and Dean of the School of Philosophy, Dr. Evaristus Ekwueme, from whose office Chiedza is sustained. Finally, I thank the contributors whose generosity in sharing the fruits of their research made this edition possible.
Emmanuel Omoghene Ogwu, SJ
Cultural Survival of AfricaVol 20 No 1 (2018)
More than fifty years down the line, there are indications that the cultural survival of Africa is under threat. Culture may be seen as the constellation of the learned ways of feeling, thinking and acting that enables a group of people to understand themselves and the world around them. This is facilitated by a narrative conception of the self, where, as Alasdair Maclntyre points out, individuals make sense of their lives in terms of the stories in which they find themselves. Thus, they come to define themselves as members of a particular family, ethnic group, nation or continent. The recent calls for secession by the English-speaking Cameroonians and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) reflect a loss of faith in the national narratives of Cameroon and Nigeria respectively. Such a loss of faith in a grand narrative can be caused by economic and social inequalities. Culture is not only something we are born into; a passive acquiring of ways of feeling, thinking and acting. Stuart Hall argued that we position ourselves in culture. This allows for agency when thinking about culture.
Despite the “African Rising” tale, the continent is marred by growing inequality and deprivation. The increase in the rate of unemployment, lack of basic social amenities, ailing and dilapidated educational and health facilities, poor governance and unbridled corruption, are some of the factors that seem to threaten the once-held faith in a multitude of new and hopeful nations and in the continent. One of the consequences of all these is the massive migration of Africans to other African states and outside the continent. All of these put the cultural survival of Africa at risk. Culture is here taken in its various dimensions: political, economic, social, legal and environmental.
Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe Jesuit University, has for its theme of Volume 20, No.1, May 2018: The Cultural Survival of Africa. In this issue, we intend to reflect on various factors that threaten, as well as ways of ensuring, the survival of Africa both at individual and collective levels. What are the historical factors that has shaped the cultures of Africa in their various dimensions? Can we talk with any precision about a homogenous African culture or is this simply a refusal to acknowledge Africa's diversity? There is the view that cultures never die; that they constantly transform to accommodate new contexts and contingencies. Is the vibrancy of that process of transformation and the new manifestations of African culture worth celebrating? If the understanding of the self as belonging to a nation is through narratives, who controls national memory? What are the effects of censorship of art, books and school curricula on the national memory and the sense of belonging to a nation? Does censorship sometimes have its basis in cultural fundamentalism? What are the prospects of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right in contemporary African states? Can the failure of the nation-states be traced back to the inadequacy of colonial-imposed boundaries? If the identity of a group of people is partly shaped by recognition or its absence, what is the place of recognition in the cultural survival of Africa? What is the role of the media in ensuring recognition and survival of cultures? In the current era of social media, with its breadth and increasing ease of access, how can it (the various social media platforms) contribute to cultural survival? Does the anonymity present in the use of social media pose any threat to public opinion?
Many have viewed the recent change of regime in Zimbabwe as a victory for public opinion. How do such changes guarantee the survival of democratic institutions? Does the recent withdrawal of Burundi from the International Criminal Court (ICC) serve the interests of the citizens or that of the leaders? What kind of reforms are needed in the political institutions of Africa to guarantee survival of Africans? What contributions can Africa make to the rest of the world?
The recent discovery of slave markets in Libya has been greeted with an outburst of condemnation. Should these condemnations be directed solely at the slave traders or the governments of the nations from which these migrants come? How does the growing population of internally displaced persons affect the survival of a people and a nation? Is secession the way forward for Biafra and English-speaking Cameroonians? How much importance has been given to the survival of the ecosystem? What contribution can science and technology make to ensuring survival? All of these issues affect the cultural survival of Africa in its political, legal, economic, social and environmental dimensions.
The Education Industry in Africa: An Education for Humanity?Vol 19 No 2 (2017)
Use and Abuse of Religion in AfricaVol 19 No 1 (2017)
Reviewing the Concepts of Leadership in AfricaVol 18 No 2 (2016)
Overcoming the Dependency Syndrome in AfricaVol 18 No 1 (2015)
Beyond Africa's Predicament: What are The Ways Forward?Vol 17 No 2 (2015)
Reconstructing Structures of Trust in AfricaVol 17 No 1 (2014)
Historical Memories: Re-searching Re-imagining AfricaVol 16 No 2 (2013)
Discernment: Rethinking Knowledge in ContextVol 16 No 1 (2013)
Cultures of PowerVol 15 No 2 (2012)
ICT in Africa: Creating or Fragmenting CommunitiesVol 15 No 1 (2012)
Thinking Ethics, Epistemology and Politics in AfricaVol 14 No 2 (2011)
Religion in Public Life: African Perspective?Vol 14 No 1 (2011)
(In)Dependent Africa?Vol 13 No 2 (2010)
Power Relations and the Just Distribution of WealthVol 13 No 1 (2010)
Culture and LeadershipVol 12 No 2 (2009)
Africa's Reconstruction of the Past: Blessing or Curse?Vol 12 No 1 (2009)
Cross-Cultural, Cognition, Conflict & African IdentityVol 11 No 2 (2008)