In Africa we read the Sky: Trend Watching from the Guts – D P Mavia

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My mother is not a rainmaker but before she travelled last Monday she looked in to the sky and said ` it’s going to rain’ just like that! We made sure she boarded her bus and left for upcountry that was Monday; on Wednesday night I was awakened from deep sleep by, you guessed right RAIN! It did rain for the subsequent four days. What is the logical explanation for her seemingly prophetic conclusion? In Africa it is said in some communities someone would put literally his ear on the ground and announce the coming of enemy forces how is that? Looking for something? Spit on your palm and with your index finger strike the sputum the divergent direction it spills becomes the pointer to the lost item, how is that?  Imagine creating a business framework on that.

We tend to have had our own way of reaching conclusions that did not seem to be arrived at in what many call logical ways. Then again who defines what logic is? It is said that Africans have no Philosophy. Some say so because of the superstitious approach we tend to have towards some things, especially to give meaning to the unexplained. What we fail to recognize is that what a western mind refers to as logic is based on some systematic way of reaching conclusions. But what is logic didn’t the Greek term it as the word? – That which comes from the Logos. And just because we do not share a common way of arriving at meaning does that make us illogical or do we just have our peculiar way of being logical? We have the Word they have the Word our paths to arrival are different but they are paths.

Western thinking has market research, deep ideation, brainstorming and yeah, creative disruption. In Africa we may just have a way of thinking not just with the brain but with the whole body. We feel our thinking.

If logic is based on words then we begin to see a different picture and a possibility of redefinition of terms. But what are words? They could be units of speech which when put together create meaning and form codes we call language for effective communication. Which still suggests that this meaning from words has to be gotten to systematically. Man is generally boxed and any attempt to think outside of the box makes him temporarily insane and able to do things he did not think possible. So is our language, as humans we have to define our world to the point that language has become an agent to creation of context but this is more of African than it is western. The western mind analyses context while the African mind creates context. The reason why the African mind bases its continuity and existence on what we call fate is because of spiritual rationalism that claims to go beyond the now. The western mind avoids this illogical speculation and determines its course on certain previous incidences that create empirical evidence of their possibilities. On the contrary the African mind will read futuristic impulses, which might have no systematic `rational’ basis and come to conclusions that create anticipated moments.

It is with this kind of divergent approach to logic that makes us have different technologies. What we read with our bodies the western mind has to create an instrument to verify and come to `logical’ conclusions.

While the western mind will require physics to measure mechanical things the African mind uses its biology.

Africans base their philosophy on life rhythms and social experiences its holistic and collective while the western mind is departmentalised. We tend sometimes to think with our bodies (biology) we feel it is going to rain our technology is incarnated less expensive only needs to be discerned. Compare this to setting up a whole metrological station it is more costly. We feel our music so that an activity like dancing is staked on an ongoing experience, which is intrinsic. A drum is more than a hollow tree and hide. It is a combination of two-deaths, death of a tree and an animal. The final sound has the resonating backdrop of a weeping cow and the echo of a whole forest. It’s the music of sacrifice life has been shed and the dancer must use and appreciate by his whole being the music of all this illogical combinations. 

So when trading in the African context, Creative disruption is not disrupting market mechanics but it is disrupting relational capital. It is disrupting conversations that have led to that moment it is disrupting covenants.

Lets consider

Assumptions

It is sort of automatic and not rare to meet a lot of assumptions in western philosophy. These are suppositions arrived at on the basis of unsure or uncertain expectations. In African thought and philosophy assumptions have no space and form no base for conclusive theoretical conclusions. One operated in finding truth as defined by what Africans believed in. with this in mind it was difficult to base any conclusions on assumptions which goes to tell us that the strength of African philosophy was concerned with reaching conclusions based on verifiable impressions whether the impressions were `rational` or intuitive. However you want to put it, it seemed like the pursuit of coming to a knowing was regarded as a honourable thing and thus it had to be based on reality whatever and however that was defined in the African context.

Economics in the western mind is heavily reliant on assumptions. The African mind-set is non-scenario but that is not to say it is not futuristic. Scenarios are possibilities; they are a science of knowing a way to arrive at possibilities. The African mind-set looks at the future as certainties but receives it as fate.

Premises

A premise is a stated proposition after reasoning, from which a conclusion is arrived at or drawn.

For example

John has a beard

John is a man

The first two are premises that would result into deductions like – therefore all men have beards or all men with beards are Johns.

The African scenario differs here too. Our premises were not based on analyses of facts as conclusive options of collective realities. We would not end up with the conclusions based on such premises. A man was more than a beard and we would have wanted to base our conclusions on a relational level and one would have easily asked who is John or which John? Africans tend to relate their thought and philosophy not only on philosophical syntactical connections but what is stated in philosophy should have relational weight on the ground and that’s why one would ask in Africa which John?

Deductions

In view of the two examples of philosophical entities it goes to say that our deductions would differ based on the on how we generate premises and the divorce of our philosophy from assumptions. Since deductions are referenced from premises and African premises have the relational connection of the subjects they infer to, then our deductions were real interpretations of particulars. We would deduce based on which John and not just the common reference of Johns and beards and man.

Logic is science of necessary laws of thought. African thought is based on the basic law of being. In this case I mean there was no time in African thought that a possibility of deity would be excluded even if it were by proxy of ancestral access. We had no space for atheism. In fact it’s deplorable when you meet ignorant western educated so-called African philosophers who call themselves atheists. Reason and meaning subscribed to contact with a knowing. The epistemology of the African reflects a metaphysical space.

Unfortunately the world is ruled by whoever designs it. Maybe the downside of African thought is that it limbs largely in the seamless time and transcendence continuum. We tend sometimes to stay too long on the other side of time. The social architects linger more in the time construct and design a world we have to get constrained to if we have to make sense on planet earth.

It’s important to note the approach of African thought and how it affected how we lived in societies. Immediately our philosophical base got interfered with and was demeaned by external influence the commonality and death of social experiences diluted the glue that held Afro centrism together. This sufficed and opened us to influence that made us abhor anything that tended to remind us of our true identity. A sad affair after which makes many an ancestor turn and toss in the grave.

But those who tell stories run the world I guess when Africa begins telling its business stories it may begin to make its foetal steps to run the world.

Last modified: November 16, 2019

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