n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Indigenous knowledge archives in a West African society

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



This article argues that resort to and competency in the deployment of indigenous knowledge archives are a prerequisite rather than a supplement for studying African life and phenomena, and I use the Bono (Akan) of West Africa and a shared dimension of African cultural knowledge - indigenous medicinal knowledge - to elucidate this position. The issue is not that indigenous knowledge has not been valuated inasmuch some revere European archives but rather indigenous archives have been left malnourished and after our hiatus to 'things Western, ' the realization is that the latter can provide its own interpretative perspective on African realities. Indigenous African archives of knowledge 'have things to say, ' which presupposes that these archives have a language that functions as a repository and transmitter of culture - in spiritual, conceptual, and material terms - and serves as a nexus between the life of this language and the life of its speakers. The production of knowledge on indigenous therapeutic or other systems, especially from the perspective of indigenous specialists and the culture in which they are a part, are challenges left in abeyance. The following, therefore, represents an attempt to explore the relationship between indigenous medicine and the proverbial, 'gold weight, ' adinkra symbolism, and oral narrative archives of the Akan. <br>"The same tree that just stands there dumbly to everyone, to the healer its leaves have things to say. The healer learns the meaning of the river's sound, of the sounds of the forest animals. And when he [or she] needs the curing spirit from a plant, if his [or her] eyes are well prepared, he [or she] may see from a great distance some small sign of the leaf that is ready to be taken."

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