Ithatike Ka Thaba: Africanize, Indigenize, Decolonize and Harmonize

By Zulumathabo Zulu © 2016

This scholarly paper is scheduled to be delivered at the Institute for Dispute Resolution in Africa (IDRA) at the University of South Africa (Unisa) on Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Pretoria in the endless sunshine and beautiful land of the ancestors, South Africa.

When the Basotho give directions, they say “Ithatike ka thaba” meaning “Follow the graphical sequence of the mountain”. “Mothati” is defined as a gradient in the Sesotho Dictionary of Mathematics and also in Numerical Logic of the Basotho written by this author . Basotho describe “Mothati” as a non-linear graphical system in which the straight line of the slope is a special case of the gradient as opposed to the English who describe the gradient as a straight line. In this case of giving direction, the Basotho use three words to conceptualize about direction while the English require seven words to conceptualize about direction. Talking about brevity as the soul of wit, that credit belongs to the Basotho and not to the English as we were led to believe by the ECC (Euro-Christian Colonial) system of curriculum inculcation.

The Basotho refer to the mountain, not as a physical object, but rather as a graphical system. This conceptualization of a mountain as a graph invokes numerous knowledge disciplines like mathematics, taxonomy, abstraction, pattern recognition, reflexive displacement, symbolic behaviour and parameters of knowledge. In this scholarly paper, we draw from the philosophical constructs of the erudite ancestors of the Basotho and other African nations to direct a productive discourse in the topical areas of Africanization, indigenization, decolonization and dispute resolution.


Published by Zulumathabo

Research Scientist and Director: Madisebo University Research Institute. Metaphysical Scientist; African Philosopher; Software Engineer, Published Author, Inventor, Lexicographer, Intellectual Historian and Contextual Poet.

11 thoughts on “Ithatike Ka Thaba: Africanize, Indigenize, Decolonize and Harmonize

  1. Ntate Zulumathabo I have come to want to understand the word “decolonise” within the Higher Education space. What does it actually mean. Academics and revolutionary students often mention that it is important to decolonise the curriculum, or decolonise science. Did you see that youtube of the University Western Cape on Conversation that I sent you earlier today? Please explain what do we actually refer to when we say decolonise the curriculum or decolonisation.


    1. Dear Dolly,

      Excellent question! The short answer is that decolonization is about three things, namely (1) reversing or divesting the education system of the detrimental/inhibiting effects of the historically colonial system, (2) ensuring curriculum relevance with respect to the cultural, and aspirational fervour of the students and (3) re-designing the new education system with useful features from the existing system which empowers the scholars to formulate their own conceptual responses to the new challenges that they face.

      Thus, decolonization is an excellent movement but must be handled responsibly, with futuristic leadership and be adequately resourced to ensure a flawless transition to a more representative system of education that responds to the legitimate needs of the scholars.


  2. They are different but somewhat related. Decolonization is about removing the deleterious effects of our colonial past from our minds, lives, institutions, knowledge systems, curriculum and so forth. Thus, decolonization is about reversing the harm done by the ECC (Euro-Christian Colonial) system. Africanization is about restoring African worldviews and foregrounding those worldviews. Africanization is also about restoring the dignity of the African peoples.

    It is noteworthy to say that foregrounding the African worldview should not necessitate marginalizing other worldviews. What we have seen and experienced about Eurocentricity is that it foregrounds one worldview and marginalizes other worldviews. Through Africanization, it is prudent that we don’t replicate this uni-polar approach that supplants and suppresses other worldviews. A typical African society is ethno-pluralistic and thus already espouses the worldviews within their ethno-pluralistic societies.


  3. #NyaopeMustFall The youth of our country, SA, the future of this country, has been reduced to CANS,TINS,PLASTC & RUBBUSH Collectors.All dreams shuttered bcs of Nyaope.Was there Nyaope before Democracy and Human Rights & Dignity ? Then who came with this Nyaope Drug? #NyaopeMustFall


    1. We do not know the answer to the fundamental question with regards to the genesis of the nyaope phenomenon. As mentioned above, the efforts must be directed towards strengthening the family structure and bonds so that we can begin to change the mindset.


  4. #NyaopeMustFall.SA, a good businessman expands his market. DRUG LORDS too are in a business and they want to expand their market share. To expand market share u need a market and a defined customers.Your child is a potential customer and a new inhabitant of the Dome of Darkness called Hilbrow.To get in this Dome is easy to get out is PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.Act like your child is on fire.Retweet.


    1. Nyaope is a tragic phenomenon! I can understand you are disturbed by this unfortunate trend because it is like kganyapa that is leaving a trail of destruction on its path. The first lie of defense is the family setting. The child needs to grow in an environment that fosters safety, love, care and prosperity and love for knowledge. In a lot of families, the father is missing in action and that is enough to destroy the moral fabric of the society. As a people and along with our leadership, we need to double our efforts to rebuild and strengthen the family. I know the gogo are doing a fantastic job but that is not eough to arrest the scourge until the father figure is fully restored.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: