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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Africa shows no commensurate contribution to global knowledge systems on human development vis-a-vis its status as the cradle of humanity. This essay introduces Africentric thinking into contextualizing developmental research in Africa’s centuries-old social systems and cultural capital with the objective of strengthening its generative research capacity. It exposes the nature of human development knowledge in Africa’s systems, bringing out its broad features. It also traces historical periods in the gradual but steady advancement of research on African child development and the emergence of contextually informed and culturally appropriate Africentric research. It flanks the traumatic rupture of Africa’s social systems on colonial hegemony, noting the resilient, endogenously patterned forms of development in adversity. The chapter advocates a strengths-based research approach that can rekindle and enhance an African past that coexists today as triple-strand hybridized heritages of enculturating, socializing, and educating children through social ontogenetic stages.

Keywords: indigenous social science, African ecocultures, social systems, cultural capital, worldview, theory of the universe, life cycle developmental trajectory, resilience and resourcefulness, hybrid developmental context

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