In his new book In Our Own Way In this Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture and Nation (Duke University Press, 2019), Kwasi Konadu tells the story Kofi Donko (1913-1995) and the many communities he served as a blacksmith, healer, farmer, leader and intellectual. The book starts by describing the ontological universe that gave historical and social substance to the work of Kofi Donko, and traces the ways in which this universe remained central to the wellbeing of many communities in the Gold Coast (later Ghana) as they faced ecological degradation as well as social and political dislocation. In spite of its social value, much of the knowledge and the institutions sustained and led by men like Kofi Donko were sidelined in the process of nation-building. Thus, even after independence, leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah continued to ignore the carefully researched and collected knowledge of local intellectuals. Konadu argues that this deliberate ignorance not only deprived the new nation from proven models for building and caring for community, but that the world at large has much to learn from the ideas and experiences of healers such as Kofi Donko.Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia is Associate Professor of History at Montclair State University. She specializes in modern intellectual history of Africa, historiography, World history and Philosophy of History. She is the co-author of African Histories: New Sources and New Techniques for Studying African Pasts (Pearson, 2011). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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