Rethinking the place of Information Technology in the study of African Indigenous Religion

Elliot Masomera, University of South Africa

Description

Indigenous cultures, particularly minority cultures continue to bore the brunt of cultural subjugation and domination, cultural hybridization and cultural erosion through influence of information technology. The electronic media, especially the western media has been perceived of as “profaning” and “contaminating” indigenous values in Africa and other third world countries. Some countries have therefore taken radical steps towards restricting access to the electronic media. How effective is the approach of limiting access to the perceived “contaminating” western media? Is it not like trying to stop a flowing river with a net? Instead of limiting access to electronic media as a way of preserving vulnerable indigenous cultural values, it is argued in this paper that careful, innovative exploitation of the very same electronic media by religionists and theologians can yield handsome dividends through raising awareness and reviving dying and dead indigenous traditions. However, to what extent has the training of average third world religionists prepared them for blending of their subject knowledge with information technology concepts? How relevant is information technology training in religious studies curriculum? It is argued in this paper that taking information technology as a core course in the curriculum and not as just as an addendum as is the present scenario, can really guarantee a lively presence of the endangered cultures and values under the threat of mutation and or ultimate extinction. The paper is informed by post colonial theory that seeks to explore the reasons behind the low motivation of propagating African indigenous values by most Africans.

 
Jun 5th, 10:45 AM Jun 5th, 12:15 PM

Rethinking the place of Information Technology in the study of African Indigenous Religion

Indigenous cultures, particularly minority cultures continue to bore the brunt of cultural subjugation and domination, cultural hybridization and cultural erosion through influence of information technology. The electronic media, especially the western media has been perceived of as “profaning” and “contaminating” indigenous values in Africa and other third world countries. Some countries have therefore taken radical steps towards restricting access to the electronic media. How effective is the approach of limiting access to the perceived “contaminating” western media? Is it not like trying to stop a flowing river with a net? Instead of limiting access to electronic media as a way of preserving vulnerable indigenous cultural values, it is argued in this paper that careful, innovative exploitation of the very same electronic media by religionists and theologians can yield handsome dividends through raising awareness and reviving dying and dead indigenous traditions. However, to what extent has the training of average third world religionists prepared them for blending of their subject knowledge with information technology concepts? How relevant is information technology training in religious studies curriculum? It is argued in this paper that taking information technology as a core course in the curriculum and not as just as an addendum as is the present scenario, can really guarantee a lively presence of the endangered cultures and values under the threat of mutation and or ultimate extinction. The paper is informed by post colonial theory that seeks to explore the reasons behind the low motivation of propagating African indigenous values by most Africans.