Harnessing Cultural Capital for Sustainability
394 Pages
English
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Harnessing Cultural Capital for Sustainability

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394 Pages
English

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This book argues that the basic component of any society's social security and sustainability is cultural capital and its ability to fully recognise diversity in knowledge production and advancement. However, with regard to African societies, since the dawn of racial slavery and colonialism, cultural capital - indigenous knowledge in particular - has iniquitously and acrimoniously suffered marginalisation and pejorative ragtags. Increasingly since the 1990s, cultural capital informed by African knowledge systems has taken central stage in discussions of sustainability and development. This is not unrelated with the recognition by America and Europe in particular of the central role that cultural capital could and should assume in the logic of development and sustainability at a global level. Unfortunately, action has often failed to match words with regard to the situation in Africa. The current book seeks to make a difference by exploring the role that African cultural capital could and should assume to guarantee development and sustainability on the continent and globally. It argues that lofty pan-African ideals of collective self-reliance, self-sustaining development and economic growth would come to naught unless determined and decisive steps are taken towards full recognition of indigenous cultural capital on the continent.

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Published 20 June 2015
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Editored by
HARNESSING CULTURAL
Munyaradzi Mawere &
CAPITAL FOR SUSTAINABILITY Samuel Awuah-NyamekyeTURAL
This book argues that the basic component of any society’s social security and
sustainability is cultural capital and its ability to fully recognise diversity in CAPITAL FOR knowledge production and advancement. However, with regard to African
societies, since the dawn of racial slavery and colonialism, cultural capital –
indigenous knowledge in particular – has iniquitously and acrimoniously suffered SUSTAINABILITYmarginalisation and pejorative ragtags. Increasingly since the 1990s, cultural capital
informed by African knowledge systems has taken central stage in discussions of
sustainability and development. This is not unrelated with the recognition by A Pan Africanist Perspective
America and Europe in particular of the central role that cultural capital could
and should assume in the logic of development and sustainability at a global level.
Unfortunately, action has often failed to match words with regard to the situation
in Africa. The current book seeks to make a difference by exploring the role that
African cultural capital could and should assume to guarantee development and
sustainability on the continent and globally. It argues that lofty pan-African ideals
of collective self-reliance, self-sustaining development and economic growth
would come to naught unless determined and decisive steps are taken towards full
recognition of indigenous cultural capital on the continent.
MUNYARADZI MAWERE holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University
of Cape Town in South Africa. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department
of Social Anthropology at Great Zimbabwe University. His research interests include
knowledge studies, environmental conservation, African studies, post-coloniality, culture
and heritage studies.
SAMUEL AWUAH-NYAMEKYE is Associate Proferssor in the Department of Religion
and Human Values at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Awuah-Nyamekye holds a
PhD from the School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science of the University
of Leeds in the United Kingdom. His current research interests are focussed on religion
and the environment, environmental ethics, religion and development, religion and
politics, and women and religion.
EDITED BY
Langaa Research & Publishing
Common Initiative Group Munyaradzi Mawere &
P.O. Box 902 Mankon
Bamenda Samuel Awuah-NyamekyeNorth West Region
Cameroon

Harnessing Cultural Capital
for Sustainability:
A Pan Africanist Perspective






Edited by

Munyaradzi Mawere &
Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye















Langaa Research & Publishing CIG
Mankon, BamendaPublisher:
Langaa RPCIG
Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group
P.O. Box 902 Mankon
Bamenda
North West Region
Cameroon
Langaagrp@gmail.com
www.langaa-rpcig.net



Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective
orders@africanbookscollective.com
www.africanbookscollective.com





ISBN:9956-762-50-4

© Munyaradzi Mawere & Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye 2015

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording,
or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written
permission from the publisher.

DISCLAIMER
All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.List of Contributors


Munyaradzi Mawere holds a PhD in Social Anthropology
from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Dr Mawere
also holds a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and B.A (Hons)
Degree in Philosophy from the University of Zimbabwe. He is
currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Culture and
Heritage Studies at Great Zimbabwe University. Before joining
this university, Dr Mawere was a lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe and at Universidade Pedagogica, Mozambique,
where he has also worked in different capacities as a Senior
lecturer, Assistant Research Director, Postgraduate
Coordinator and Associate Professor. He has an outstanding
publishing record of more than eighty pieces of work which
include more than twenty books and over sixty book chapters
and papers in scholarly journals. His research interests include,
but not limited to, knowledge studies, environmental
conservation, political anthropology, African studies,
decoloniality, post-coloniality, African political systems, culture
and heritage studies.

Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye is Associate Professor in the
Department of Religion and Human Values at the University
of Cape Coast in Ghana, where he also received his MPhil, BA,
and Diploma of Education. Awuah-Nyamekye holds a PhD
from the School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of
Science of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Awuah-Nyamekye also has a certificate in HIV/AIDS
Counselling and Care Giving from the University of Ghana.
He is a member of the Association for the Study of Literature
and Environment (ASLE) and the International Society for
Environmental Ethics (ISEE) Representative for Ghana. His
current research interests are focussed on religion and the
environment, environmental ethics, religion and development, religion and politics, and women and religion.
AwuahNyamekye has written and published two books, co-edited two
books and has authored several articles in internationally
esteemed scholarly journals. Awuah-Nyamekye has presented
papers at several international conferences. Awuah-Nyamekye
is an Assistant Editor of De Gruyter Open and as well serves
on the Editorial Board of Philosophy Journal and reviews
articles for several academic journals.

Nelson Chanza is a Researcher in the Department of
Geosciences at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in
South Africa, where he obtained his PhD in Environmental
Geography. Dr Chanza also holds an MSc in Environmental
Policy and Planning and a BSc in Biological Sciences from the
University of Zimbabwe. Dr Chanza has also worked as
lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe since 2007. He has also
actively participated in national and international training and
capacity building programmes on monitoring and evaluation,
poverty alleviation and disaster management planning and
programming. His current research interests are in participatory
climate risk assessment and community-based adaptation.
Nelson has written several articles and book chapters on the
topics of sustainable rural development, disaster management
and indigenous-based responses to climate change.

Moussa Traoré is a lecturer at the English Department of the
University of Cape Coast in Ghana where he teaches
Literature. He received a BA and an MA from the English
Department of the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina
Faso and an MPhil from the English Department of the
University of Ghana, Legon. Moussa Traoré holds a PhD in
Comparative Literature from Illinois State University (USA)
and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from the
same university. He is a member of African Studies Association
(ASA), African Literature Association (ALA) and Modern
Languages Association (MLA). He did some extensive work in Translation-Interpretation (French & English) and his research
interest focusses on Pan Africanism, Diasporan Studies,
Postcolonialism, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), English
as a Second Language (ESL) and Sustainable Development. He
published a book titled Intersecting Pan-Africanisms: Africa, North
America and the Caribbean and several articles in academic
journals. He also presented papers at several international
conferences.

Tapuwa Raymond Mubaya is a Lecturer and a PhD
candidate at Great Zimbabwe University, Faculty of Culture
and Heritage Studies. Before joining Great Zimbabwe
University, Mr. Mubaya worked for National Museums and
Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) for eight years as the
Curator of Archaeology and Head of the Great Zimbabwe
Monument Conservation Centre. Currently he is heading the
Department of Heritage Studies at Great Zimbabwe
University. Mr Mubaya holds a Master of Arts Degree in
Heritage Studies from the University of Zimbabwe. He is also
a member of the Association of Southern African Professional
Archaeologists (ASAPA) and the Zimbabwe Association of
Professional Archaeologists and related Disciplines (ZAPAD.
His current research interests are focussed on heritage
management and conservation, cultural tourism and museums.
Mubaya has fourteen articles in internationally esteemed
scholarly journals and is the co-editor of the book: African
Cultures, Memory and Space: Living the Past Presence in Zimbabwean
Heritage.

Kojo Okyere is a Lecturer in the Department of Religion and
Human Values at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana,
where he received his MPhil, and BA. He is currently pursuing
his PhD in the same university. Kojo Okyere also has a
certificate in Marketing, from Chartered Institute of Marketing
in the United Kingdom. He is a member of Ghana Association
of Biblical Exegetes. His current research interests are in the areas of Bible and Development, biblical hermeneutics,
wisdom literature of the Old Testament, and work in the Old
Testament. He has several articles in academic journals, and
has present papers at several international conferences.

Akiti Glory Alamu holds a PhD in the studies of religions. He
is currently with the Department of Religions at the University
of Ilorin in Ilorin in Nigeria. His research interests are, but not
limited to, sacred places, indigenous communities’ traditional
practices, African traditional religions, and conservation.

Misheck P. Chingozha holds BMgt (HR), MBA, MSc. in
Peace Leadership and Conflict Resolution from the Zimbabwe
Open University, an MSc. in Development Studies from the
Women’s University in Africa (WUA). Mr Chingozha is also a
holder of a Diploma in Adult Education from the University of
Zimbabwe, Diploma in Business Studies (FBS), a National
Diploma in Electrical Power Engineering, Certificate in
Electrical Engineering (HEXCO), Certificate in Accountancy
(ZAAT), and Skilled Worker Class One (manpower).
Chingozha is also an incumbent part-time Lecturer in the
Faculties of Commerce and Law, and Applied Social Sciences
at the Zimbabwe Open University. Besides, Chingozha is an
incumbent Senior Officer at the Rank of Superintendent in the
Zimbabwe Republic Police, and is the Deputy Officer
Commanding responsible for administration for Masvingo East
District. Chingozha has written and published a Shona novel
and co-authored 4 modules for the Zimbabwe open University.
His research interests lie in the areas of development, policing,
gender, leadership, indigenous knowledge systems, and
environmentally related issues.

Hezekiah Olufemi Adeosun holds a Ph.D. in Yoruba
Literature from the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. He is
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian
Languages, University of Ilorin. Dr. Adeosun has many article publications to his credit both locally and internationally. He is
the author of “Socio-semiotic Theory and Practice in Yoruba
Written Poetry” and “Gender Discourse in Yoruba Written
Poetry: A Socio-semiotic Analysis”. Adeosun’s research
interests include Yoruba Literature, Cultural Studies and
Sociosemiotics.

Joshua Chikozho is a holder of a Master’s Degree in Heritage
Studies from the University of Zimbabwe. He is the current
Curator for the BaTonga Community Museum. His research
interests include but not limited to community museum,
intangible heritage and heritage management.

Matabbeki Mudenda is currently the Manager of Binga
Community Craft Centre in Binga. He has more than 20 years’
experience working in Tonga craft commercial industry. His
research interests include but not limited to indigenous
knowledge systems of indigenous communities, environmental
conservation, and heritage management.

Pius Oyeniran Abioje is a Senior Lecturer in the Department
of Religions at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He received B.
Th in Urban University, Rome; M.A. and PhD in University of
Calabar, Nigeria. He is a member of the Nigerian Association
for the Study of Religions (NASR); Nigerian Association for
Biblical Studies (NABIS); African Association for the Study of
Religion (AASR); American Academy of Religion (AAR), and a
former member of the Board of Trustees of the International
Association for History of Religion (IAHR). His current
research interests are focused on religion and culture. Abioje
has written and published a book, and has authored several
articles in internationally esteemed scholarly journals. Abioje
has presented papers at several international conferences.

Liveson Tatira is a Senior Lecturer and current chairperson in
the Department of Curriculum and Arts Education, University
of Zimbabwe. He holds a BA (Hons) in Shona, MA in African
Languages and Literature, Graduate Certificate in Education
and a DPhil, all from University of Zimbabwe. He holds
another PhD from Atlantic International University. He has
published books, several journal articles, book chapters and
poems. His research interests are in Onomastics, Indigenous
Knowledge Systems, Folklore and Literature.

Vincent Assanful is a Lecturer in the Department of Religion
and Human Values, University of Cape Coast where he
obtained his MPhil and B.A degrees. His area of research
includes comparative religions, Religion and Medicine, Religion
and Development, Religion and Politics and Religion and
Gender. He has some publications to his credit notable among
which is The Obaahemaa Stool: A symbol of Political and a Religious
Authority (2012). He currently is pursuing his PhD in the
Department of Religion and Human Values, University of
Cape Coast. His PhD thesis is an investigation into the
influence of Akan Traditional Religion on inheritance and
succession among the Assin. Table of Contents


Cultural Capital, Social Security and Sustainability in
Conversation: An Introduction……………………….. xiii
Munyaradzi Mawere and Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye

Chapter 1
Indigenous Mechanisms for Disaster Risk Reduction: How the
Shona of Zimbabwe Managed Drought and Famine?......... 1
Munyaradzi Mawere and Tapuwa R. Mubaya

Chapter 2
Indigenous Political Structures in Africa: Interrogating
Rotational Kingship in Yorubaland vis-à-vis Political Crises
and Terrorism in Nigeria………………………………... 33
Pius Abioje

Chapter 3
Pan-Africanism, Marxism and Sustainable Development in
Jacques Roumain’s novel Gouverneurs de le rosée (Masters of the
Dew)…………………………………………………….. 55
Moussa Traoré

Chapter 4
Indigenous-Based Adaptation: An Imperative for Sustainable
Climate Change Strategies for Africa……………………. 85
Nelson Chanza

Chapter 5
Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the Politics of
Development and Sustainability in Africa: A Critical Appraisal
of the Involvement of NGOs in Sustainable Development in
Zimbabwe……………………………………………… 135
Munyaradzi Mawere and Misheck P. Chingozha
ixChapter 6
Traditional religion, Sacred Places and Sustainability in Africa:
The Role and Contribution of Sacred Places in
Nigeria…………………………………………………... 159
Akiti Glory Alamu

Chapter 7
The Role of Indigenous Religion in Fostering Social Stability
and National Development: Lessons from Ifá of
Nigeria......................................................................................... 179
Hezekiah Olufemi Adeosun

Chapter 8
Intangible Heritage Politics and Sustainability in Africa:
Reflections on the Politics of Language in
Mozambique............................................................................... 203
Munyaradzi Mawere

Chapter 9
Indigenous knowledge: A Key Factor Towards Africa’s
Sustainable Development……………………………….. 221
Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye

Chapter 10
Nyaminyami, ‘The Tonga River-God’: The Place and Role of
the Nyaminyami in the Tonga People’s Cosmology and
Environmental Conservation Practices…………………. 243
Joshua Chikozho, Tapuwa Raymond Mubaya, and Munyaradzi Mawere

Chapter 11
Depiction of Polygamous Marriage in Selected Pre-colonial
Shona Narratives………………………………………... 265
Liveson Tatira



xChapter 12
Living a Sustainable Life: African and Old Testament Proverbs
in Dialogue……………………………………………… 279
Kojo Okyere and Vincent Assanful

Chapter 13
Indigenous Knowledge and Public Education in Africa: A
Search for a Sustainable Education Curriculum……………307
Munyaradzi Mawere

Chapter 14
Cultural Harnessing Among the Tonga of North-western
Zimbabwe: Breaking out of the shell of stereotyping,
reclaiming identity, and fostering sustainable development
through craft...........................................................................329
Joshua Chikozho, Tapuwa Raymond Mubaya, Munyaradzi Mawere and
Matabbeki Mudenda
xi
xiiCultural Capital, Social Security and
Sustainability in Conversation

An Introduction

Munyaradzi Mawere and Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye


Cultural capital as forms of knowledge, skills, education
(formal, informal or non-formal) and other such resources
based on group membership, relationships, and networks of
influence and support have always promoted social mobility,
social security, and societal development since time
immemorial. The link between cultural capital, social security
and sustainability has, however, been dislocated through time
especially with the tide of change that has been brought about
as a result of colonialism, globalisation, neo-colonialism and
other such forces. This link – now the missing link – seems to
have eluded the post-independent leaders in the African
continent. Surprisingly, it is not that these leaders are not aware
of the ever existence of this link as studies abound to show this
beyond doubt (see for example: Ntiamoa-Baidu et al. 2003;
Sheridan and Nyamweru 2008; Mawere 2014a; Attuquayefio
and Fobil 2005). The point is: more often than not, the African
leaders, as their policy makers, have failed or refused to factor
in cultural capital of the indigenous peoples on the pretext that
the capital does not yield anything less than disaster and chaos.
By cultural capital, we refer to the French sociologist, Pierre
Bourdieu’s (1986) one of the four types of capital namely;
economic capital (resources based on cash and assets), social
capital (resources based on group membership, networks and
relationships), symbolic capital (resources available to an
individual on the basis of recognition, prestige or honour). As
already alluded to cultural capital are resources based on forms
xiiiof knowledge, education, and skills available to members of
group of people.
In this book, Harnessing Cultural Capital for Sustainability …,
some explorations of the role that African cultural capital could
and should assume to guarantee social security, development,
and sustainability on the continent and at international level are
carefully and meticulously made. Basing on those explorations
from across the continent, it is noted in this book that lofty
pan-African ideals of collective self-reliance, self-sustaining
development and economic growth would come to naught
unless determined and decisive steps towards full recognition
of cultural capital such as different forms of knowledge, skills,
education, and belief systems are unflinchingly taken. On this
note, the present book, in a similar thrust as that of the World
Bank (1998) acknowledges that the basic component of any
human society’s education, development framework and
sustainability is its cultural capital and full recognition of
diversity in knowledge production and advancement.
The central theme that runs through all the chapters that
comprise the present volume is based on the authors’
realisation that most post-independent African governments
have not laid much emphasis on the role and continued
relevance of cultural capital in fostering social security,
development and sustainability in their respective countries.
Even where there seems to be an attempt to factor in cultural
capital into their scheme of affairs, they often neglect a key
factor in the whole matrix of cultural capital – indigenous
knowledge system – of the indigenous people. Such disregard of
cultural capital possibly stems from post-colonial African
governments’ lack of independent development framework
and their over reliance on West epistemologies and practices to
confront and address African problems. In fact, post-colonial
governments have depended too much on the Western
theories, developmental frameworks, conceptualisations and
definitions to the extent of allowing the West to think and
determine the direction for the continent. This is dangerous a
xivscenario. To bring our point closer home, we make reference
to the widely used and indeed acknowledged definition of
‘sustainable development’ by the World Commission on
Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987 as economic
and social development that meets the needs of the current
generation without undermining the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs (WCED 1987: 8, 43). This
definition has been viewed as the best of all the definitions ever
given in view of the concept of sustainable development, yet it
has been of late criticized by some scholars (Williams and
Millingto 2004; ICLEL 1997) for being too Western-based.
Williams and Millington (2004: 100), for instance, have pointed
out that this so-called standardised definition has been ‘resisted
and contested by ‘many commentators’ (p. 100) for, ‘it is allied
to a particular [Western] worldview’ (p. 100). Again, the
WCED’s definition is criticised for not factoring in and put
into serious consideration the important aspect of culture and
the environment in the whole equation of sustainable
development. The International Council for Local
Environmental Initiative (ICLEI, 1997), for example, pointed
out that the key component of sustainability should be the
society, the economy and the environment. It argues that ‘the
balance or equilibrium between these three stakeholders should
be considered as sustainable development’ (cited in Mawere,
2014b: xx).
Being in mind the observations and criticisms elaborated
above, Harnessing Cultural Capital for Sustainability … emphasises
not only the economic and environmental aspects of
sustainable development, but also the socio-cultural and
political dimensions of sustainable development from the
PanAfricanist perspective. In the African context, all these three
aspects [environmental, socio-cultural, economic, along with
the political aspect], are factored in when talking of
development and its sustainability. Africans traditionally
approach life-related issues from a holistic perspective. For
them, humans are not alone in this world but live in association
xv1 with “other beings” (Mawere 2015). This stems from their
worldview which is embedded in their indigenous cultures and
religious beliefs systems. Religion arguably can be said to be the
most dominant aspect of African culture. This is because
religion manifests itself in every endeavour of the African
people. This explains why African culture is often described as
religious culture (Mbiti 1991; Mugambi 1996). It is for this
reason, among others, that we concur with Mbiti (1991: 10)
when he argues that religion ‘is by far the richest part of the
African [people’s] heritage.’ No wonder some African societies
such as the indigenous Akan of Ghana, consider sustainable
development as any human activity that: a) aims at affirming
life in a holistic way, b) enables every generation to ensure its
survival; and c) enables generations to hand over the survival
potential to the future generation as directed by culture (which
is hugely influenced by religion) (see Awuah-Nyamekye 2009).
Unlike the Western societies where the concept of science
and issues of sustainable development have been restricted to
empirical observations and laboratory tests, in Africa, cultural
capital together with environmental conservation knowledge
and other such skills are profoundly interwoven in the mantra
of sustainable development. It is this complex equation of the

1
Munyaradzi Mawere prefer using the term “other beings” to Bruno
Latour (1987; 1993; 2005) and others’ [i.e. Michel Callon 1986]
“nonhuman” because for him there are some “creatures”/entities that are
difficult to classify either as humans or nonhumans as they are part human
and part nonhuman. Mawere gives examples of Vampire and the Werewolf
(see Jake Kosek 2010: 672), which he says, are part human, part nonhuman
becomings that result from the contagion of the battlefields. Basing on his
researches in the Norumedzo Communal Area in south-eastern Zimbabwe,
Mawere also gives many other examples of such entities as vadzimu
(ancestors), mhondoro (lion spirits), and njuzu (mermaids/half fish half human
creatures) that according to his interlocutors in the Norumedzo are not
purely humans. Neither are they purely nonhumans, but are simply referred
to by the locals as zvisikwa zvaMwari (other beings created by God). In this
introductory chapter, we use the terms humans and other beings, the latter
to refer to all those entities that cannot be classified as humans both in part
or in totality.
xviAfrican conceptualisation and understanding of the matrix of
sustainability that eludes many elites African political leaders
and policy makers who are still trapped at the edge of
colonialism and neocolonialism such that they remain holding
fast onto Western ideologies and approaches in their bid to
address African problems. Kroma and Flora (2001), for
instance, cast blame on the current neglect of indigenous
beliefs and knowledge systems concerning environmental
conservation on Western education and values, which African
political elites of today have gullibly and wholly embraced
without seriously thinking about their consequences. Scholars
on indigenous resource management such as Mawere 2013,
2014a, 2014b, 2015; Mukamuri 1995; Sheridan and Nyamweru
2008; Mapara 2009; among others, have argued that a study of
environmental management in Africa show that pre-colonial
Africans were able to manage, with considerable degree of
success, their environmental challenges before the imposition
of the Western scientific strategies by the colonial governments
which have today been adopted hook line and sinker by
postindependence African governments. Amannor (2003: 1) aptly
captures this in his argument that ‘despite nominal
decentralisation, environmental policy remains largely
unresponsive to rural interests.’
In fact, there is a general consensus that there is no single
authorised response to environmental, economic, and even
political challenges of today and thus, it will be an
understatement to say that it will be an exercise in futility if
political authorities in Africa and beyond (particularly in other
so-called third world countries) refuse to recognise the input of
cultural capital of the indigenous peoples in any policy intended
to fight problems (of any particular magnitude or nature)
confronting them. It is this grand realisation that prompted the
noble idea to undertake a project such as the present; a project
that explores different ways through which cultural capital
could and should be harnessed to ensure continued survival of
indigenous African people’s environments, political systems,
xviiand economic powerhouses, while at the same time fostering
development that is sustainable in their respective societies. It
is in this context that the contributors to this impeccable
volume have strongly argued, from diverse case studies and
perspectives, to bring to the fore the different potential roles
that cultural capital could and should assume in Africa’s quest
to ensuring sustainability of all its systems.
In this respect, chapter 1 by Munyaradzi Mawere and
Tapuwa R. Mubaya grapples with disaster risk management
strategies in Africa using the perspective and epistemological
lenses of the indigenous Shona of Zimbabwe as a case study.
The duo argues that natural disasters such as drought and
famine pre-date colonial Africa and in particular colonial
Zimbabwe. But in all cases, the Shona people, relying on their
wealthy experience of the environment and indigenous
epistemologies, had been able to manage or withstand the
onslaughts of these anti-surviving natural phenomena. In terms
of the specific indigenous Shona mechanisms designed to
confront the menace of drought and famine in Zimbabwe,
Mawere and Mubaya mention zunde ramambo (chief’s common
granary), nhimbe/jakwara (beer cooperative parties),
Musanganiswa wembeswa (intercropping), growing
droughtresistant and early-maturing indigenous crop varieties, hunting
and gathering wild fruits and vegetables, wetlands cultivation,
kupemha (a diversity induced begging) and rain-petitioning
ceremonies. They go a step further to provide graphic
descriptions of how each of the above-mentioned indigenous
Shona mechanisms was (and continues in some areas to be)
deployed either in isolation or in association with others to
successfully hold the devastating effects of drought and famine
in check with little or no external intervention. They are,
however, quick to point out that the above-discussed Shona
anti-drought-famine mechanisms are, today, not as effective as
they used to be in pre-colonial Zimbabwe. They cite
globalisation, among other factors, and particularly what they
refer to as ‘the introduction of the triumvirate of colonialism,
xviii