Celebrating our own: The power of local knowledge

January has come and gone, and most of us have wished our compliments for the happy new year to those we know, made resolutions, some of which we stuck to, at least in the beginning, and have now had the time to know which one of those have already gone down the drain-or will soon be heading that way. But, we also know which commitments we are going to keep, and as the month ends, we grown even more positive as things become clearer that we have made the right decisions. What is left now is for us to work towards our set goals. This is true for us at Bokamoso Leadership Forum.

Therefore it is only right that on this first day of February, we launch our theme for the year – ‘Celebrating our own: The power of local knowledge’. This is a commitment from us that during the year, we will do our best to bring to the light the best of our local knowledge, our ‘traditional’ or cultural institutions and strategies, and show how useful these can be in the 21st century. This is not to say that all of them are or were good, or that we would like to go back, but it is rather an attempt for us, all of us, to reflect on what our rich cultures have to offer, without shame or favor, and highlight it so that in the end, before we throw everything away, we are sure that it is only the unnecessary that we leave behind.

Last year our theme of the year was “Gearing up towards the FIFA World Cup in South Africa 2010.” We examined the World Cup as an example of looking at sports as part of governance, diplomacy, infrastructure development as we looked at the impact of the world cup on telecommunications, and African ‘aesthetics’ such as the controversy of the vuvuzela. This new theme of local knowledge we intend to look at the success of the ‘African’ world cup as contributing to, and a product of, African knowledge production.

As in 2010 many African nations celebrated 50 years of independence, the limited inclination to blow our horns in boistorerous celebrations, is revealing of the necessity to go back to the basics as we look forward to another 50 years of African politics, economics, culture and community which is the home of the ‘local’. As over 18 African countries will be hosting elections this year, it is worth revisiting and redefining if need be our ‘local’ understanding of leadership, participation, democracy, governance and indeed the local as it relates to the nation and the nation relating to the continental. What is the ‘local’ in Africa in 2011? What is knowledge? And indeed what is power? Thus, we invite you to share your thoughts with us as you have done so spectacularly in the past year, to send us articles related to the theme ‘Celebrating our own: The power of local knowledge’. Share with us the brilliance of your culture and your local knowledge system, after all, its 20elevation aka 2011, let us celebrate our own!


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