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‘Potted Plants in Greenhouses’: A Critical Reflection on the Resilience of Colonial Education in Africa

‘Potted Plants in Greenhouses’: A Critical Reflection on the Resilience of Colonial Education in... This paper draws on Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino and other critical voices to argue that education in Africa is victim of a resilient colonial and colonizing epistemology, which takes the form of science as ideology and hegemony. Postcolonial African elite justify the resilience of this epistemology and the education it inspires with rhetoric on the need to be competitive internationally. The outcome is often a devaluation of African creativity, agency and value systems, and an internalized sense of inadequacy. Education has become a compulsion for Africans to ‘lighten their darkness’ both physically and metaphorically in the interest of and for the gratification of colonizing and hegemonic others. The paper calls for paying more attention to popular systems of knowledge, in which reality is larger than logic. It calls for listening to ordinary men and women who, like p’Bitek’s Lawino, are challenging the prescriptive gaze and grip of emasculated elite. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Asian and African Studies SAGE

‘Potted Plants in Greenhouses’: A Critical Reflection on the Resilience of Colonial Education in Africa

Journal of Asian and African Studies , Volume 47 (2): 26 – Apr 1, 2012

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References (150)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2012
ISSN
0021-9096
eISSN
1745-2538
DOI
10.1177/0021909611417240
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper draws on Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino and other critical voices to argue that education in Africa is victim of a resilient colonial and colonizing epistemology, which takes the form of science as ideology and hegemony. Postcolonial African elite justify the resilience of this epistemology and the education it inspires with rhetoric on the need to be competitive internationally. The outcome is often a devaluation of African creativity, agency and value systems, and an internalized sense of inadequacy. Education has become a compulsion for Africans to ‘lighten their darkness’ both physically and metaphorically in the interest of and for the gratification of colonizing and hegemonic others. The paper calls for paying more attention to popular systems of knowledge, in which reality is larger than logic. It calls for listening to ordinary men and women who, like p’Bitek’s Lawino, are challenging the prescriptive gaze and grip of emasculated elite.

Journal

Journal of Asian and African StudiesSAGE

Published: Apr 1, 2012

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