We find ourselves in a world in crisis. While theories abound, to some humanity is at the edge of the apocalypse. We are at a time of reckoning, a time of turning. We are both actors and spectators in the time foretold by ancient prophecy.
There has been no greater symbol of this in recent history than the global health emergency due to Covid-19. As a consequence of the virus, borders have been closed, millions of sources of livelihood have been lost, systems have been stifled, economies have suffered, and all the ills of the world have been accentuated. At the peak of the pandemic, the world was stopped in its tracks and activity—as we knew it—and was locked down. Some point out that this may just be the first such pandemic, and that it is merely a harbinger of the crises to come with climate change.
At this watershed moment humanity is asked to re-think, re-imagine, re-define, re-act, re-store, re-generate and re-new.
Can the current Western economic thinking solve everything? What lessons can we learn from Ancient Wisdom?
This series of dialogues aims to bring to light concepts from African Indigenous Knowledge Systems as catalysts for reimagining how to approach issues in our current reality in an interrelated and unbounded way.
By enlarging the space, we can move beyond the existing dominant paradigms and rethink the fictions that shape the modern world. We explore four different Indigenous principles, allowing other ways of knowing to expand our ways of doing—our activity. We create a container for unbounded organising in a time of transition. We traverse the bridge between remembering and imagining and paint the world as we would wish it to become.
Each session addresses one principle:
Ubuntu (Southern Africa)
Ubuntu is the principle of interrelatedness, interconnectedness and interdependence. It asserts that: ‘A person is a person through other persons. I am because you are. You are because we are. We are because it is. It is because All that is is.’ This is the root of identity.
Sankofa (West Africa)
Sankofa tells us to ‘go back and fetch it.’ It is a concept of ‘historical recovery,’ moving us to reflect on and reclaim Indigenous cultural ideas and principles in order to advance towards a co-created future.
Kemetic Tree of Life (Ancient Egypt)
The Tree of Life tracks the process of creation from the Void to All That Is. It is a cosmological principle describing the ancient wisdom about the nature of the cosmos: from the unmanifest to the manifest, the infinite to finite.
African spirituality holds that there is no separation between the living, those who have walked before and those who are to come. Death is a complementary of life and the beginning of the communication between the visible and the invisible worlds.
How do we look back to move forward, what new insights seek to emerge and what transformative activity fractals can we manifest?
Gavin Andersson (2021) ‘Unbounded Organising’ Pari Perspectives, Issue 7, ‘The Common Good’