Alternation 20,1 (2013) 295 - 320 ISSN 1023-1757 295Appraisal of African Epistemology in the Global System Ndubuisi Christian Ani Abstract Prior to colonialism, Africans as every other people with common identity and culture had their peculiar way of attaining knowledge and confronting life issues. However, with the dawn of western expansionism, western-oriented mode of behaviour and knowledge acquisition became objectified and universalized. Consequently, any form of knowledge that did not conform to the western model was deemed irrational and unworthy of scholarship. Since the ostensible decolonization of the continent after independence, education in Africa remains western oriented. Outsiders, as well as some Africans, dismiss African-oriented epistemology as being unscientific and delusory. Albeit the debasement of African epistemology has become somewhat obsolete, mainstream epistemological considerations rely hugely on western oriented and universalized form of knowledge acquisition. Beyond the purported ‘unscientific’ nature of African epistemology, this research underscores that powerful nations delineate what constitute valid knowledge worthy of pursuit and what is not. Beside its holistic nature, the intuitive, religious and mythological perspectives in the consideration of African epistemology are justified and deserving to be considered in contemporary education system and epistemological discourses. Any attempt at considering knowledge under the lens of western-oriented epistemology alone, is a procrustean reductionism. A better decolonization of the continent can be achieved with the transformation of the mindset of Africans to appreciate their indigenous form of knowledge and incorporate it in contemporary education and epistemological discourses. Additionally, Africans ought to develop their socio-economic and political system to give the continent a reasonable power-base to assert itself and its epistemological views in the global system.
Ndubuisi Christian Ani 296Keywords:African epistemology, Western epistemology, rationality, intuition, myth, religious knowledge 0. Introduction It is rather unfortunate that contemporary epistemological1discourses rarely capture the plural indigenous knowledge systems which had made meaning to individuals, peoples as well as cultural groups in the past. These indigenous knowledge systems continue to make profound meaning to people in the face of the limitations of mainstream scientific epistemological traditions. Although it shares commonalities with other non-African people, African indigenous knowledge in particular, continues to have profound and meaningful bearing on the lives, behaviour and thinking of people of African descent. Yet, in the academia and epistemological discourses, African-oriented knowledge systems are deemed unworthy of academic considerations –if not by design, then by default. African indigenous forms of knowledge acquisition (with its commonalities and particularities) have