Education: A Contested Concept in pre-colonial Zimbabwe
The colonisers denied that the indigenous people of Zimbabwe had a system of education primarily because they were people without reason and “civilisation” (Austin, 1975: 28).Such a false perspective was imposed on the colonised people by the colonisers through colonial education (Curtin, 1981: 54). The colonisers falsely claimed that the education and knowledge that they imposed on the colonised people of Zimbabwe was of a superior kind. Lebakeng (2010: 24) rightly notes that: a major intellectual fallacy of our time is the continued fatuous assertion that knowledge systems were introduced to the African continent through colonialism. The incontrovertible fact is that colonialism introduced western knowledge systems, as a particular form of knowledge, through imposition and systematic attempt to destroy indigenous knowledge systems.
The fact that the colonisers imposed their own culture, education, philosophy and epistemology to the indigenous people of Zimbabwe does not at all prove that the indigenous people of Zimbabwe did not have the same prior to the arrival of the colonisers.
Scientific research has actually shown “Africa” to be the cradle of human civilisation, culture and education (James, 2009: 24; Diop, 1984: 23; Asante, 2007: 1). It has also been established that the widely acclaimed Greek philosophy has an “African” origin (James, 2009: 23).The Greeks are among people from various parts of the ancient world that benefited from Egypt’s well developed education system (James, 2009: 33). Ancient Egypt was regarded as the greatest education centre of the ancient world (Pappademos, 1984: 98; James, 2009: 24; Davidson, 1991: 25). Van Sertima (1994: 3-4) has noted that recent findings at Katanga and Ishango in northeastern Zaire13 show that technology moved northwards through the Nile Valley from the interior of “Africa” to pre-dynastic Egypt. In this light, one can argue that the discoveries of aspects of technological advances in the interior of “Africa” some of which predate ancient Egyptian civilisation 13 The then “Zaire” was renamed the “Democratic Republic of Congo” after the fall of the president Mobutu Seseko’s government.
The supposed separation of ancient Egypt from the rest of “Africa” is not supported by facts (Obenga, 1981: 80; Davidson, 1991: 25-26). Such a supposed separation of Egypt from the rest of “Africa” was intended to justify the colonisers’ thesis that the rest of “Africa” or “Africa proper” had no civilisation and thus deserves to be characterised as primitive. This is the thesis that is defended by Hegel (1975: 175-176). The mythic separation is not supported by concrete evidence and must be rejected. Despite the fact that pre-colonial “African” societies had culture, education, philosophy and epistemology, and had contributed significantly to world civilisation (Bohannan and Curtin, 1971: 264), the colonisers conveniently denied them these attributes (Clements, 1969: 8). In fact, the colonisers sought to impose their own culture, education, philosophy and epistemology on the indigenous people of “Africa”. The colonisers’ strategy was to externally project good intention of their supposed “civilising” mission when in fact they wanted to destroy the cultures and epistemological paradigms of the colonised people (Dussel, 2006: 490).
The Meaning of Culture, “Tradition” and “Modernity”
The colonisers denied that the indigenous people of Zimbabwe had a culture and at times accepted its existence but regarded it as inferior. The colonisers’ denial that the indigenous people of Zimbabwe had a culture as they understood it, would as of necessity mean that they also lacked a system of education, philosophy and epistemology. In this regard, it becomes imperative to define the term “culture” in order to establish whether the indigenous people of Zimbabwe indeed had a culture prior to the arrival of the colonisers.
In this study, culture is defined as a way of life of a given people as a whole (Oruka, 2003: 58, Bourdillon, 1993: 7). It includes the whole distinctive complex of spiritual, material, intellectual, ethical and emotional features which constitute the heritage of a society or social group (Abraham, 1992: 13; Ball, 2008: 25; Lemmer, Meirer and van Wyk, 2012: 20-21). Education, philosophy, epistemology and a whole host of belief systems are part of culture.
In the view of the colonisers, the culture, education, philosophy and epistemology of the indigenous people of Zimbabwe were “traditional” while the culture, education, philosophy and epistemology of the colonisers were “modern”. The concept of “tradition” is a contested one as it is understood by the colonisers in reference to the history of the indigenous people of Zimbabwe. “Tradition” is often contrasted with “modernity” (Rodriguez, 2001: 55). Just like “tradition”, “modernity” is equally a contested concept (Larmore, 1996: 1; Rengger, 2000: 3) especially as it is understood as solely a product of Europe and as an opposite of “tradition”. It is often used to refer to the so-called age of reason in the European continent (Dussel and Ibarra-Colado, 2006: 490).
Oral “Tradition” as a valid source of Historiography
The denial of alterity or otherness which is characteristic of Eurocentric “modernity” (Dussel, 1995: 12) can as well be reflected in the manner in which oral “tradition” as a legitimate source for the reconstruction of history has been viewed by the colonisers. There has been a tendency to take the written word as superior to oral “tradition” conquerors, this study subscribes to Battiste’s argument that genuine independence of “Africa” from colonial bondage is still to be realistically achieved.
(Vansina, 1981: 142). The written word has been associated with “modernity” while oral “tradition” has been associated with “tradition”. It becomes necessary to establish whether we can legitimately use oral “tradition” as an authentic source of history for the indigenous people of Zimbabwe. This is important given attempts by the colonisers to deny history to the indigenous people of Zimbabwe on the basis that they were not gifted with the art of writing prior to the arrival of the colonisers (Brock-Utne, 2000: 143).
CHAPTER 1: THE CONTESTED NATURE OF EDUCATION IN PRE- COLONIAL ZIMBABWE
1.1 Theoretical Framework
1.2 Education: A Contested Concept in pre-colonial Zimbabwe
1.3 The Meaning of Culture, “Tradition” and “Modernity”
1.4 Oral “Tradition” as a valid source of Historiography
1.5 The nature of Education in pre-colonial Zimbabwe
CHAPTER 2: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS OF THE INTERPLAY OF CULTURE AND EDUCATION
2.1 Culture Defined
2.2 Education Defined
2.3 Culture and Education
2.4 Curriculum and imposition of the Colonisers’ Culture andEducation
2.5 An Afrocentric Approach to Education
2.6 Critique of the Afrocentric Approach to Education .
2.7 The need of an Afrocentric Curriculum in Zimbabwe
CHAPTER 3: CHALLENGES IN PLACING EDUCATION OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE INTO THE “POSTCOLONIAL” CURRICULUM
3.1 The Philosophical Dimension of Epistemicide
3.2 Impact of Colonial Education
3.3 “Independence” and the challenge to change the Imposed Education
CHAPTER 4: THE CASE FOR THE AFRICANISATION OF EDUCATION IN “POSTCOLONIAL” ZIMBABWE
4.1 Africanisation Defined .
4.2 Transformation Defined
4.3 In Defense of the Africanisation of Education in “Postcolonial” .
4.4 Responses to the call for the Africanisation of Education
CHAPTER 5: UNCOVERING REASON THROUGH SHONA PROVERBS
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE IMPACT OF WESTERN COLONIAL EDUCATION ON ZIMBABWE’S TRADITIONAL AND POSTCOLONIAL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM(S)