Long-time ACCORD researcher, Professor Jannie Malan writes a searching and unique book delving into the wealth of traditional conflict management practices on the continent, and discusses how these might be applied in our current context to embellish, enhance... and even inform current efforts to intervene in conflict.
In his concluding remarks our author reminds us that “...the shape of our continent (like a question mark) can serve as a continual reminder to all of us to keep asking penetrating questions in our search for conflict resolution wisdom.” ACCORD’s entire existence has been characterised by this attitude of searching and researching for old and new ways of dealing with conflict. Our latest contribution to this ongoing process of searching is Conflict Resolution Wisdom from Africa.
We have held a firm belief, for a long time, that Africa has a rich heritage and history, supplemented by a colourful oral tradition that is pregnant with knowledge and expertise. We do not therefore have to look far for the answers to our challenges. Our problem today is that the intrusion of modernity and its attendant features, especially the gravitation of communities to urban life, has robbed the oral tradition of its utility as a tool for transferring centuries of useful life experiences and communal approaches to problem solving.
It is in this context that we make our modest contribution by recording in writing some of Africa’s wisdom. We hope that this will encourage others to join us in capturing the richness of our continent’s knowledge and making it accessible, not just in Africa, but for the entire world. Conflict Resolution Wisdom from Africa is being released at an important juncture in the history of Africa. This is a period that is increasingly being referred to as the African Renaissance. The popular and historical renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries refers to, among other things, a period of unprecedented accumulation of knowledge, spurred on by innovations in the printing industry. In many ways our renaissance at this juncture should also celebrate an accumulation of our inner knowledge and its unprecedented dissemination through the written word.
The author of this excellent contribution, Professor Jannie Malan, is Head of Research at ACCORD. His contribution emanates from tireless, meticulous and thorough research. More importantly, his research is complemented by a dedicated and deep commitment to the greater values that underpin conflict resolution wisdom from Africa. In the process of his search, he has made an enormous contribution to the struggle for freedom in South Africa. His reflections in this book are therefore a combination of skilled academic research and inner wisdom.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tata Jannie for his contribution to peace in Africa. I would also like to thank our dear friends, Professor Francis Deng and Dr. Alioune Sall, for taking time to read and review Conflict Resolution Wisdom from Africa. Finally, let me record our sincere appreciation to our friend and brother, Dr. Chris Bakwesegha (Head of the Conflict Resolution Department of the Organisation of African Unity), for all his supportive, constructive and amplifying editorial comments, which could indeed be incorporated.