African Psychology Explored in Inaugural Lecture
Professor Augustine Nwoye of the School of Applied Human Sciences recently delivered his Inaugural Lecture titled: "What is African Psychology the Psychology of?"
Nwoye said he was both delighted and honoured to present his Lecture and to be a part of the College of Humanities.
‘Given my long standing interest in African psychology, I feel convinced that I made the right choice to take up an appointment in such a School in which I see my esteemed colleagues valuing what I value, namely: the advancement and propagation of “the best that is thought and said” in Western and African psychological traditions.’
In his Lecture, Nwoye examined the precipitating influences in the emergence of African psychology stating that part of the reason for its emergence was to interrogate and challenge the meaningful relevance of American and European theories and practices for African contexts.
He argued that African psychology came into being to give a more constructive direction to the theme and pattern of psychological research in continental Africa; and in that way, to join forces with African History and African Literature in the ‘ontological and epistemic project of trying to rid the African geopolitical self and its past of erasures, omissions, fabrications, stereotypes, and silences of colonial scholarship’.
He went on to discuss the history of delayed arrival of African psychology in African universities pointing out that reasons responsible for this delay were fundamentally related to the fact that most African universities came into being already encumbered by the painful and humiliating colonial experience that caused the whole continent and its peoples, to lose belief in its cultures and traditions, philosophy and religion, psychology and medicine, names and stories, and rituals and ceremonies. And this scenario severely overshadowed any early attempts to introduce African perspectives to psychology in African universities.
Looking at the future directions of African Psychology, Nwoye said: ‘The future of African Psychology is indeed very bright. It is envisaged that the field will continue to develop and intensify in the future, along the lines of the continued mapping, elucidation, and consolidation of the field in African universities.
‘It is also envisaged that some visionary African universities will soon go beyond the mere exercise of mounting degree courses in African psychology at the undergraduate level to the higher initiative of establishing research chairs and graduate programmes in African psychology.’
In conclusion Nwoye said: ‘African Psychology is the psychology of the pan-African peoples and their cultures and societies aimed at evolving an African-centred psychological study, sophistication and wisdom that is more inclusive and appropriate for addressing the real and the miraculous in people’s lives.’
Introducing Nwoye ahead of his lecture, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, described him as a professor the College of Humanities and the University should be proud of.
‘The title professor and [especially] full professor, is not one that you earn very easily. Rather, it is an accolade that requires tremendous hard work, dedication and commitment. The partners are the support networks in much of the research that one does and it is for this reason that the attainment of full professorship is quite special to the individual and underscores their perseverance and discipline.’
Potgieter said inaugural lectures were ‘very special’ to the UKZN as well as the College of Humanities because it gave individuals the opportunity to showcase their intellectual scholarship.
- Melissa Mungroo