Humanising and harmonising humans with nature

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Chapter Three Theoretical framework: Afrocentricity

Introduction and background

This research is largely guided and informed by Afrocentricity. The theory was propounded and coined by the African-American scholar, Molefi Kete Asante. The theory was further popularised by various scholars of African descent who among them include Maulana Karenga, Kwame Ture, Ama Mazama, Marimba Ani, Marcus Garvey, Cheik Anta Diop, Kwame Nkuruma, Ali Mazrui and Franz Fanon. The central argument with Asante concerning Afrocentricity is re-locating Africans given the idea that they have been for a long time stripped out of their cultural, economic, religious, political and social terms. Asante (1998) holds that Africans have primarily existed on the periphery of Europe, a situation that forcefully made Africans view Europeans as superior and them inferior. Africans have for so long survived under the inferiority complex of the West. Afrocentricity is not a religion but an intellectual discipline which has several tenets, ideas and disciplines that can be studied across generations as well as across continents.
Basing on such grounds, the theory intends to relocate Africans from a state of dislocation. Afrocentricity intends to destroy the notion of object-hood which originated from the West with the aim to dominate, conquer, oppress and suppress Africans. The theory urges Africans to be subjects and not objects of transformation. The approach sees Africans as agents in the making of human history. Afrocentricity places African beings, their history, agendas, aspirations, philosophies and culture at the centre of any development. Through colonialism, Africans have survived in relative historical isolation in their villages. Now colonialism and underdevelopment have added to Africa’s problems today. The African continent has been pushed to the periphery of the world’s affairs. For Africans, the situation has not been so prior to colonialism, hence the need to reclaim her identity and integrity.

Tenets of Afrocentricity

Below are the thirteen principles that were extracted by Gray (2001) and represent The Gray Template:

  1. The Meta- Constants : Humanising and Harmonising
  2. The Primacy of African people and African Civilization.
  3. An African Audience as the Priority Audience.
  4. Njia as Theme.
  5. The way of Heru as theme.
  6. Harmosis as Mode.
  7. Whollistic Afrocentric Action as Goal.
  8. Sankofan approach.
  9. Nommoic Creativity.
  10. Maatic argumentation.
  11. Explicit Locational Indicators Intentionality.
  12. African Collective Memory- Perception Competence.
  13. Nzuri as Invitation and Standard.
    The Meta-Constants: Humanising and Harmonising is the priority principle because the primary goal of Afrocentricity is to humanize and harmonise Africans. Gray (2001:90) examines that;
    The quintessential intent of Afrocentric thought and praxis is to humanise and harmonise [Africans]. This particular principle is non-negotiable. An effort or product qualifying as Afrocentric demonstrates the intent to humanize [and harmonise] African people.
    The other important principle is the primacy of African people and African civilization. Gray (2001: 91) shares that, “Afrocentric thinkers [and] practitioners are clear about the fact that African people are not only the parent people but the parent civilisation of world civilization”. Gray contends that an Afrocentric work should celebrate the unquestionable genuineness that Africa is the mother of civilisation. The study is committed to untying the degree at which post-independence sungura music is dedicated to projecting African people as the parent people and parent civilisation.
    Another principle, an African audience as the priority audience, emphasizes on the idea that writers, artists, thinkers and practitioners should view and treat African people as the priority audience with a view to elevate Africans. Gray (2001:94-5) stresses that, “a non-African audience is secondary, a Pan African audience or a particular African audience is primary.”
    Njia as theme is another tenet which is rooted in Afrocentric thought. Tembo (2012) holds that Njia is a Kiswahili word which means “the way.” The primary concern under this principle is profound hope and victorious thought regardless of dire life situations. This Afrocentric principle confronts Afro-pessimism and objecthood; rather it promotes subjecthood and optimism. Gray (2001:95) reminds us that for any thinker, practitioner or artist;
    The final word is a victorious word. Afrocentric [artists] do not follow the tradition of the Greek tragedies. Afrocentric thinkers are not proponents of dread or pessimistic existentialism. Afrocentric practitioners do not practice or teach accommodationism, the chosen way of those who are cowardly, those who fear or who cannot envision whollistic freedom and authentic independence.
    In this thesis the musicians are judged in terms of their commitment to Njia as theme. The basic assumption is that African musicians must challenge the notion of pessimism in such a manner that victory in various disciplines is realisable and achievable.
    According to Gray (2001:96), the way of Heru as theme “involves doing the work of resurrecting and restoring African people with confidence.” Afrocentric artists, thinkers and practitioners must emphasise on the importance of culture as a foundational matter that must be understood as an instrument of stability and transformation. The way of Heru implies that African people can achieve ‘complete’ emancipation and independence in the contemporary era if they appreciate a unifying force to key areas to society transformation.
    Harmosis as mode is another principle of The Gray Template. Gray (2001) defines Harmosis as the harmonious amalgamation of ancient and African traditional and cultural ideas to life with constructive contemporary cultural possibilities and approaches to life that empowers Africa and its people. However, the synthesis of ancient and traditional African cultural ideas should not harm African culture such that the present and future generations do benefit from it. In view of this study, we expound the musician’s commitment to synthesising traditional and contemporary cultural possibilities to the betterment of human conditions.
    Wholistic Afrocentric action as goal is another principle. The tenet seeks to distinguish between Afrocentric thought and praxis. Gray (2001:100) argues that, “the goal of all Afrocentric endeavours is to produce persons and a people who move, behave, act in an Afrocentric manner in every sphere of life.” Be this as it may be Afrocentric artists “work to influence behaviour wholistically,” Gray (2001:101). Their intention is to encourage people to be Afrocentric in every dimension.

Chapter One 
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Aim of the Study
1.4 Justification of the Study
1.5 Definition of Key Terms
1.6 Literature Review
1.7 Theoretical framework
1.8 Methodology
1.9 Ethical Considerations
1.10 Scope of the Study
1.11 The Decade of Crisis in Zimbabwe
1.12 Delimitation of the Study
Chapter Two 
2.0 Introduction
2.1 The Relationship that binds music and politics
2.2 Music and society: Zimbabwean perspective
2.3 Conclusion
Chapter Three Theoretical framework: Afrocentricity 
3.0 Introduction and background
3.1 Tenets of Afrocentricity
3.2 Humanising and harmonising humans with nature
3.3 Human Agency: an Afrocentric Imperative
3.4 The quintessence of Afrocentricity
3.5 Africa and struggle in continuity: a patriotic motif
3.6 Culture and history: non-negotiable pillars of Afrocentricity
3.7 Unity as a symbol of victory: Karenga’s vantage
3.8 Reparation as a therapeutic process
3.9 Remembrance, reflection and recommitment
3.10 The significance of Afrocentricity to the study
3.11 Conclusion
Chapter Four Research Methodology 
4.0 Introduction
4.2 Defining a research design
4.3 Data collection tools
4.4 Population sampling techniques
4.5 Analysis of data
4.6 Ethical considerations
4.7 Conclusion
Chapter Five Data presentation, analysis and discussion 
5.0 Introduction
5.1 An analysis of the results from questionnaires regarding factors that encumber complete
independence in Zimbabwe
5.2 Engaging struggle to cease tyranny: an optimistic vantage
5.3 Survival strategy through vandalism and larceny
5.4 Political leadership’s remorselessness and atrociousness
5.5 Applicability of Afrocentricity to the study
5.6 Conclusion
Chapter Six Conclusion
6.1 Introduction

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