“… I feel the other, I dance the other, therefore I am…” – Leopold Senghor
The anthropocentric ethos of Ubuntu has significant influence in the manner in which people on the African continent co-produce knowledge through a markedly participative mode of collective and collaborative engagement. In a nutshell, Ubuntu finds expression in a philosophy that embraces the other – “I am because we are; and I participate therefore I am”…
Ubuntu as it is known in Zulu and Xhosa is also known
as ‘utu’ in Swahili; ‘unhu’ in Shona, and ‘botho’ in Tswana. At its very core, this empathic approach elaborates
the dynamism, productivity, transformative potential
and creativity of working in concert with others. African philosophical traditions are human-centered by default.
Whereas Africa is far from being a homogenous region, it has a predominantly youthful demographic and is home to just over 1 billion people living in 54 countries and speaking over 2000 languages. Uniquely, the continent has some of the fastest growing economies in the world – economic growth that is ostensibly driven by extraction of its vast wealth in natural resources, agriculture, and more recently, technology adoption and innovation. Indeed, Africa has the potential to leapfrog in a relatively short time given this positive trajectory.
To unlock the latent potential and talent of the denizens of our continent, relevant, creative, innovative, adjustable and context-responsive tools and methodologies need to be developed and deployed across the continent.
Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa