[New Publication] African Potentials: Bricolage, Incompleteness and Lifeness (edited by Itaru Ohta, Francis B. Nyamnjoh and Motoji Matsuda)

This volume is one of the outcome of this research project, edited by Itaru Ohta (Kyoto University), Francis B. Nyamnjoh (The University of Cape Town) and Motoji Matsuda (Kyoto University), published by Langaa RPCIG in Cameroon. At the beginning, we had a plan to conduct this project from April 2016 to March 2021 for five years. However, we extended the research period until March 2022, as we could not conduct our research fully because of the spread of COVID-19. We had a plan to hold “African Forum” in 2021, but we were forced to change our research plan, and published this volume instead.

This volume contains 13 chapters written by seven African core-members who have been continuously contributed to this research project, and six Japanese members. Each chapter selects one particularly important keyword (shown in CAPITALs below) regarding the conceptualisation of African Potentials and develops discussions around it.

Contents of this Volume

Introduction— African Potentials: Bricolage, Incompleteness and Lifeness
By Motoji Matsuda, Francis B. Nyamnjoh and Itaru Ohta

Part 1: How African Society Can Be Decolonised and Liberated

  • Chapter 1. DECOLONIALITY
    Who is Afraid of Epistemic Relativism? Disentangling African Philosophy from the ‘Universalist’ Entrapment
    By Husein Inusah
  • Chapter 2. UNIVERSALS
    Activating Latent Cultural Potentials and Social Prescriptions: The Potential for Emancipatory Political Thought in African Popular Cultures
    By Michael Neocosmos
  • Chapter 3. MOBILITY
    Mobility as Freedom, and Hospitality as Kinship: Reflections on the African Potentials for Using Solidarity to Manage Global Challenges
    By Owen B. Sichone

Part 2: How Contradictions Are Resolved

  • Chapter 4. NEGOTIATION
    Palaver and Consensus: How Contradictions Are Reconciled in Africa
    By Itaru Ohta
  • Chapter 5. PEACEBUILDING
    Exploring Local Peacebuilding Potentials in Northwestern Kenya: The Case of West Pokot
    By Elizabeth Ndunda and Kennedy Mkutu
    ‘Eating Chiefs’: Explaining the Tolerance of the People of South Sudan for Bad Political Leaders
    By Eisei Kurimoto

Part 3: How We Confront the Hegemonic System of the Modern World

  • Chapter 7. KNOWLEDGE
    Knowledge Sharing: Epistemology Lessons for Modern Culture from Traditional African Oral Culture
    By Shoko Yamada
  • Chapter 8. CHILDHOOD
    Childhood and Children: Realities and Reimaginations in Sub-Sahara Africa’s Development
    By Yaw Ofosu-Kusi
  • Chapter 9. MONEY
    How Money Builds Communities: A Study of ROSCAs in Cameroon and Japan
    By Misa Hirano-Nomoto
  • Chapter 10. CIRCULATION
    Waste Valorisation and African Potentials: The Forgotten Life of Things and Their Rebirth in Mass Consumption Capitalism
    By Shuichi Oyama

Part 4: How We Reconstruct This World from the Periphery

  • Chapter 11. INDIGENEITY
    Indigeneity from the Vantage Point of African Potentials and a Re-visioning of African Realities
    By Edward K. Kirumira
  • Chapter 12. INCOMPLETENESS
    Cecil John Rhodes: ‘The Complete Gentleman’of Imperial Dominance
    By Francis B. Nyamnjoh
  • Chapter 13. EVERYDAYNESS
    Everyday Lifeworld as a Source of Creativity for African Potentials
    By Motoji Matsuda

Postscript: African Potentials and the Creation of an Alternative Future for Humanity
By Itaru Ohta, Francis B. Nyamnjoh and Motoji Matsuda

This volume is endorsed by the following four distinguished scholars.

Endorsement (1)

This is a profoundly important book—published by Langaa rather than university presses such as Oxford, Cambridge or Duke. It represents a truly remarkable intervention that is part of an exciting series of books resulting from a decade-long collaboration between African and Japanese scholars. Their partnership clearly demonstrates that they take African life, knowledge, and capacity for remaking Africa in/and the world seriously. One cannot read African Potentials without being compelled to question and think beyond the established parameters of what has been canonized about Africa. The convivial scholarship encountered in this book and the larger project of which it is a part reveals that robust forms of decolonial, pluriversal knowledge are being produced through critically creative and creatively critical means of inter-cultural engagement. This book shows what can be accomplished through the concerted effort of shifting the geography of reason from the West to other intellectually fertile landscapes and crossroads on the planet.

Faye V. Harrison
Professor of African American Studies & Anthropology, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, USA
Past President of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences

Endorsement (2)

This newest offering of the African Potentials Project explores crucial foundational questions confronting the enterprise of actualizing African potentials in ways which are freed from the continuing grip of Western colonialist prejudices and prescriptions, nourished by the vital resources of endogenous thought and practices, and yet “porous,” as the poet wrote, “to all the breathing of world.” To that end the contributing essays address relevant debates in contemporary African philosophy, appraisals of the strengths and weaknesses of traditional forms of political legitimation and debate, contestation and conflict resolution, resistance to oppressive and predatory regimes, the resilience of local norms of welcoming strangers in this season of creeping xenophobia. The result is a rich and variegated set of critical examinations and suggestions for discarding imperial and tyrannizing models of human knowledge, existence and association, and reactivating more liberating and enabling precepts and practices in this time of crisis.

Ato Sekyi-Otu
Emeritus Professor of Social and Political Thought, York University, Canada
Author of Left Universalism, Africacentric Essays

Endorsement (3)

This book challenges colonial and age-old Western academic views that have dominated and marginalised African indigenous knowledge system. It spreads further the wings of knowledge and endeavour about an African way of thinking on conflict resolution and co-existence, and analytically connects this to the pursuit of Africa’s sustainable development frameworks. Ohta, Nyamnjoh and Matsuda are teachers you always wished for but never had. Together, they have made this book a path-breaking one, and essential reading for a broad based understanding of the African mindset.

Aparajita Biswas
Retd Professor, the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai, India
Former President of the African Studies Association of India

Endorsement (4)

What are African Potentials? A question which has been linked with African countries’ decolonisation and their development process. These African potentials as well as problems need to be discussed within an interdisciplinary platform of scholars, policy and decision makers, and civil societies. This African Potentials Project responds to all those needs and became a driving force to understand Africa and build a collaboration between African and Japanese scholars toward a common goal, changing the stereotype image of Africa and thinking about a better future for Africa. I hope that this book, as a result of a 10-year interdisciplinary, international joint research project, can be a reference for building new partnership between African and Japanese scholars, civil societies and regional institutions.

Oussouby Sacko
President, Kyoto Seika University, Japan

This volume is sold at the following websites:
African Books Collective


In the following website of African Books Collective, you can find 13 books of African Potentials-series.

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