Moving toward Indigenisation of Knowledge: Understanding African Women’s Experiences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Traditional Western and Anglo-American centres of knowledge have continued to dominate African societies, despite decades of postcolonial research and recent debate around decolonisation. To date, African scholars have yet to question or report comprehensively on the legitimacy of Western and Anglo-centric knowledge as the universal source of authority; developing their own theories on which to base their own literature. In response to the need for challenging cross-cultural theorisation − which includes intellectual, political, and ethical considerations – this chapter focused on examining how African women’s experiences can be understood through localised theories within an African context. Two dimensions (renouncing and critiquing tradition, and expanding terrain to globalisation) were foregrounded to strengthen African feminism as a framework on which to understand African women’s experiences in education research. This analysis was located within the premise that the taken-forgranted epistemological privilege and capitalist development strategies have relegated African knowledge to the shadows. Existing literature was used to form conclusions and recommendations. The analysis affirmed, elaborated, and took further the assertion established by scholars, of the importance of using indigenous theories (African feminism) to understand the experiences of African women. It was also found that theorising African women with Western and Anglo-centric knowledge is fraught with contextual factors leading to questions – the question of origin (where was the theory constructed?); the question of subjectivity (who approves?); and the question of whose interest is being legitimised. The imperial nature of theorisation needs to be further questioned to give legitimacy and validation to African indigenous theories. In other words, theories emanating from dominant societies, cum colonial masters, misrepresent other contexts – such as former colonies. The study argues for frameworks that accommodate African women’s realities and history. African feminisms are central for scrutinising, deciphering, and describing the African women’s daily lived experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurriculum Theory, Curriculum Theorising, and the Theoriser
Subtitle of host publicationThe African Theorising Perspective
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789004447943
ISBN (Print)9789004447936
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • African context
  • African feminisms
  • African women
  • decolonisation
  • indigenouss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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