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Coafrwology: Developing a new African paradigm

Coafrwology: Developing a new African paradigm
Thu 14 June 2007
 

 

A. N. Mpeke is an University associate Lecturer, Researcher in social Sciences. In this edited version of his article he explains why "Coafrwology" is a new African paradigm for the 21st century.

A.N. Mpeke believes that there is an African World and that African descendents have a duty to redefine that world and evolve both within it and outside of it to produce a new form of humanity. For A. N. Mpeke, the time has come to show the rest of the world that we EXIST outside of the media and are able to reclaim who we are from what was imposed on us as concepts to define ourselves. Coafrwology is the study of the African experience from the past to the present with a 21st century view within which we expect to objectively mark our needs. It also works to re-establish a certain equilibrium in human relations in a proper sense of term; and indeed project ourselves towards a more reassuring future. To achieve this aim, A. N. Mpeke is convinced that African descendents need first to regain their soul, by redefining their spirituality in the contemporary world. He also believes that a new spiritual concept based on our common past and modern values is paramount in order to rebuild and sustain trust and positive perceptions of one another. These are basic and fundamental values without which any attempt to rebuild our self will be once again prove to be a failure. The questions to be asked are 'what is our spirituality in the 21st century?' 'Is Christianity our only way of connecting with the quintessence or God and also with ourselves as a community?'

In East London where A.N. Mpeke is creating a learning community based around the Coafrwology paradigm he has found that the situation of African descendents in relation to pedagogy is alarming. The perpetual alienation that is created by a myriad of concepts within the learning experience often blatantly ignores the needs, contributions and cultures of African descendents. Unfortunately the effect of this is to assist in the maintenance of the ideology of racism within teaching methods and approaches which he believes to exist not only in this part of London but also in many educational institutions across the country. This is a culture which takes the devastating loss of one of our own (the murder of Stephen Laurence, a talented young African descendent in front of another African descent in South London), to result in the Race Relation Act 2000 and for those in authority to be seen to be doing something to redress the balance.

2. The Race Relation (amendment) Act 2000;

Effectively the amendment to the Race Relation Act 1976 criminalised racism by public authorities which includes educational institutions and it is paramount here to emphasise that it fulfils recommendation no 11 made by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report.

Despite racism and all forms of discrimination towards African descendents in their settlements around the world, A.N. Mpeke argues that we African descendents have to offer an alternative solution to our current situation in these places. In the 21st Century we need to re-examine the outcome and effects of enslavement and recent migrations which displaced our ancestors to regions far and wide, by constantly thinking reflectively as a community not as single individuals. Aware of this need A. N. Mpeke suggests building a world community or nation as other ethnic communities have done so far. Within this world community he recommends an epicentre linking us spiritually, virtually, culturally, and financially thereby enabling us to evolve in a more balanced humanity inspired and strengthened by our different experiences.

3. A Spiritual and academic movement

Coafrwology is therefore a spiritual and academic movement aimed at positively marking the 21st century with a concept that will influence the course of our own development as well as people around us.

A.N. Mpeke also argues that the problem with African intellectuals and politicians is the poor capacity for reflective thinking according to the need of communities over personal interests. Often policies are based on ideologies or paradigms aimed at keeping us and the wider community in the status quo. In this way concepts are extremely powerful tools aimed at changing, or not changing, people's lives. The idea of the 'African Renaissance' is one which A.N. Mpeke does not believe is relevant to the African Experience as it implies the dormancy of the African people at one time, who have suddenly awakened to fight again. His belief is that the African people have neither laid dormant nor died despite the efforts of the perpetrators of Slavery and other attempts to destroy our communities. The notion of an African Renaissance should be an individual settlements descriptive choice which should not necessarily be used to describe other settlements' experiences. With all respect and sympathy to the Southern African experience of from the apartheid, A.N. Mpeke argues that the Coafrwology Movement within the "African Renaissance" is a crucial tool to give to this experience a more global meaning. The Coafrwology is the bridge that should enable the connection between each of our settlements world wide. This, A. N. Mpeke believes, is the key to our freedom in whichever settlement we find ourselves.

We have to remember that each community or people develop its own way of generating a balance for a better world. Coafrwology addresses that need expressed by African descendents in the 21st century to repel racism, all forms of alienation, as well as being an exploration of different sciences in order to develop and propose an alternative based on our own profound experience researched analysed and exposed by our self.

For A. N. Mpeke, along with the notion of Coafrwo, our Contemporary World, within which emanate the Coafrwology paradigm, there is also a need to develop an idea of a virtual Nation of African descendents as a symbol of our redefinition within the world. Coafrwo in A.N. Mpeke's view intrinsically espouse with the notion of 'black transatlantic communities' as described by Paul Gilroy (2002) and Andrew Alpers (2001) in Alpers' attempt to define the African Diaspora. While Coafrwo is an emanation of this description it also takes the issue further and reflects the experiences and aspirations of African descendents in the 21st century but does not find the description of an 'African Diaspora' to be as relevant a description today. While not disputing the definition was useful in the past, A.N. Mpeke does not believe this description is as relevant in the 21st century as it once was. He emphasises that the African experience cannot be defined by a neologism generated to fuel the needs and aspirations of a different ethnic group.

The spiritual element of the Coafrwology concept proposes a way of regaining our individual and collective souls and therefore rebuilding our selves and our community. We often find it easy to compare our self to others then attempt to utilise the same methods to our benefit, forgetting to adapt method to reflect our specific aims and requirements. The spiritual movement within Coafrwology addresses this by creating a concept specifically aimed at empowering and developing our own community. By comparing our experience of the Slave Trade with the Jewish experience of the holocaust and then embodying this Jewish experience by naming our experience the "African Diaspora", is a mistake (Tony Martin, 1979). We are free to sympathise with the Jewish experience of the holocaust at a very personal level, but it needs to be recognised that our experience is neither comparable nor measurable in terms of the magnitude of ignominy a human community can inflict on another.

Before embodying a concept constructed by another community to answer their needs we need to apply some basic reflective thinking approaches that will enable us to have clarification on the etymology and the ideology that empowered the creation of such a concept. Indeed it is paramount that we study any concept but not solely with the aim to identify our self within it or see it as the only alternative. Knowing that each concept contains an ideology, approaches, strategies and methods which enable it to achieve its own goals, we need to apply some level of critical analysis before attempting to adopt any concept. The consequences are that we are often generating literature and educational programmes that are perpetrating the status quo of our under-development. We have to equip ourselves with academic skills such as Reflective Thinking that will enable us to sustain a more effective collective epistemology in order to deconstruct concepts that are not "alienating"(Kimani,2005) to our culture within a super-complex world within which we find ourselves. Therefore it is a matter of developing idiosyncratic ways of acquiring knowledge.

4. Defining ourselves with meaningful concepts to our experience

Members of the Coafrwology Movement should define themselves with concepts emanating from their experiences not those duplicated from others experiences. A. N.Mpeke with Coafrwo and its study (Coafrwology) is at the turning point of an ongoing debate within the domain of African studies which proposes to rename the African settlements around the world. We are proud to talk about Coafrwo as it reflects each African settlement wherever it is in the world and allows each of those communities to define their unique experience themselves. It also allows people to come together and share those experiences with other members of the Coafrwo. It should be determined and explored with objectivity not for its destruction but for our collective development. A.N. Mpeke does not wish to see this concept suffering the same misconception and personalisation that often is the reason for the outcomes of concepts of the past. It is not the aim of A.N. Mpeke to own the idea of Coafrwology alone, it is intended for the African descendents community and is a tool by which we can empower ourselves and build our communities. It certainly requires a level of reflection in our thinking for meaningful actions to come about, in order to fuel our collective epistemology enabling us to identify the subtle concepts imposed on us to our detriment. The current spiritual and religious themes within our communities are often the consequences of ideologies forcibly imposed on us after the destruction of our culture and traditions. These themes have since been passed down through the generations therefore. The difficulty here may be the reluctance, or fear that exists to re-examine our current understanding of our spirituality and religions with the view to regain our African Souls.

The Coafrwology Movement is building firm foundations in East London and creating an impact among our community utilising the tools of the modern day to reflect the progression of our people. The obvious benefits are to bring our communities together both physically, mentally, spiritually and virtually to enable our common interests to be observed and served to our collective gain. We call for your constructive contributions to the evolution of this concept to generate a contemporary African solidarity.

Ian Simon (2007) in his article 'Coafrwology in Multicultural Britain' begins to interrogate the potential impact and effectiveness of Coafrwology in the Britain of today. He describes the issues around education and the lack of role models for our young people and the serious implications this has on our community; he asks whether Coafrwology can indeed be the answer. This important question relates not only to our experiences in Britain but in the wider Contemporary African World (Coafrwo) and is one which Coafrwology specifically aims to address by building a spiritual community based on recognition, acceptance, celebration and positive perceptions of one another. The result of which will be a community supporting one another and generating the respect and supportive and learning environment where this lack of togetherness cannot be perpetuated.

5. Our past should enable to improve our present and plan for our future

To conclude, A. N. Mpeke strongly believes that we should not ignore the opportunity to mark our history in the 21st century for the sake of our community worldwide - Coafrwo (Contemporary African World). We generated this paradigm as an expression of our constant need to improve ourselves and our communities. Coafrwology is a methodology that should enable us to investigate our own past, analyse our present and plan for our future communities. Coafrwology is the bridge between these three dimensions of our existence and A. N. Mpeke has developed it in order to combine them while creating a direction for us in the 21st Century. The essence of Coafrwology allows us to recognise and accept the diversity that exists within our home communities as well as the wider Coafrwo, our Contemporary African World. Coafrwology is a way forward with a more constructive, objective and progressive direction which should be adopted by African descendents. The concept is illuminated by the work and struggles of key figures such as Oloudah Equiano, W. E. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Cheik Antah Diop, Aimé Césaire, Franz Phanon, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Bob Marley, Fela Ramson Kuti and many more.

Coafrwology is the new Social Science looking at the African experience around the world in order to contribute to the development of a new humanity. It addresses our experiences from our Egyptian ancestors (Kemet) right up to the current struggles identified by Ian Simon (2007) within the British education system. This effectively fails to address the 'Zone of Proximal Development' (Vygotsky, 1948) among the young in this community with teaching approaches suitable to their experiences.

"We are the world", written by Quincy Jones which featured in the 'Hope for Africa' appeal, demonstrates a Coafrwological spirit that generated a togetherness couple of years ago with the aim of supporting a community in danger. Within Coafrwology these actions are the basis of the concept and aim to create a solidarity which will build our communities across the oceans.

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References:

Alpers, A. E. (2001) 'Defining the African Diaspora' University of California, Los Angeles, paper presented to the Centre for Comparative Social Analysis Workshop.

Gilroy, P. (1994) "The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1992) Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,

Kimani, S.K.N. (2005) 'Word Sound and Power: The Word and Afrika in the Caribbean. Soundscapes:Reflections on Caribbean Oral and Aural Traditions'. The University of the West Indies, July 25-29,2005.

Martin, T.(1979) 'Garvey and Scattered Africa', in Harris (ed) Global Dimension, 2nd ed., p.441 and in Alpers, (2001) "Defining the African Diaspora" .

Mpeke, N .A (2007) 'THE CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN WORLD (COAFRWO): A NEW PARADIGM FOR THE 21 ST CENTURY' . Myspace.com/coafrwo/blog (Online).Available from: http://blog.myspace.com/index. (Assessed: 31May 2007)

Simon, I. (2007) "COAFRWOLOGY IN A MULTICULTURAL BRITAIN". Myspace.com/coafrwo. (Online) Available at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog&pop=1&ping=1&indicate=1 (Accessed: 9 June 2007)



08/09/2008
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