Towards an Indigenous Model of Conflict Resolution: Reinventing Women's Roles as Traditional Peacebuilders in Neo-Colonial Africa

Citation:

Isike, Christopher, and Ufo Okeke Uzodike. 2011. “Towards an Indigenous Model of Conflict Resolution: Reinventing Women’s Roles as Traditional Peacebuilders in Neo-Colonial Africa.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution 11 (2): 32–59.

Authors: Christopher Isike, Ufo Okeke Uzodike

Abstract:

Women have always been at the centre of peace processes across different pre-colonial African societies. Their peace agency in these societies can be located in their cultural and socio-political roles as well as their contributions to the overall well-being of these societies. It is noteworthy that women’s peacebuilding roles then were reinforced by perceptions which stereotyped women as natural peacemakers, and as being more pacific than men. However, women in neo-colonial African states appear to have lost this myth/sacredness that surrounded their being and social existence in pre-colonial Africa. This is because apart from being marginalised socially, economically and politically, they have increasingly become victims of male violence. How and why did women transform from being active participants in precolonial politics and peace processes to being passive observers of politics and peacebuilding in neo-colonial Africa? And second, given their pre-colonial peacebuilding antecedents, do women have the potential to transform politics and conflict in neo-colonial Africa?In building towards an indigenous model of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, this paper contends that the feminist ethic of care (defined by ubuntu) that was appropriated by pre-colonial African women to wage peace and maintain societal harmony, is still very much a part of the core of contemporary African women, and can be appropriated in resolving subnational conflicts in neo-colonial Africa. Indeed, it is possible to develop it into a model of African feminist peacebuilding which can be utilised as an ideological rallying point to transform politics and create a suitable environment for development in the continent.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Peace Processes, Peacebuilding Regions: Africa

Year: 2011

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