The Nobel laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai suggested that African culture should be the foundation of self-rediscovery. While acknowledging the African culture is not perfect, she argued that it had deep and meaningful roots while adopting a colonizer's culture leads to self-loathing and disharmony. African culture is based on collectivity, harmony, interdependency, and spirituality. These features are not unique to the African culture but they are in contrast to the western culture which has a heavy emphasis on individual autonomy. Kwimenya then emphasises understanding oneself. This African self, however, goes beyond the individual self and includes the collective self and the environment.This paper evaluates how this approach could inform strength-based practice in social work with the African people and people of African descent. The approach can also be extended to other people whose indigenous cultures have been marginalized through colonialism, slavery or occupation. Using culture as a basis of strength involves a critical appraisal of what aspects of culture are a source of strength and building on them while rejecting aspects that are incompatible with the present society.
|Title of host publication||Social Work, Human Services|
|Editors||Venkat Pulla, Lesley Chenworth, Abraham Francis, Stefan Bakaj|
|Place of Publication||New Delhi|
|Publisher||Allied Publishers Private Limited|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2012|
|Event||International Conference on Strengths Based Practices - Dhulikel Lodge Resort, Kathmandu, Nepal|
Duration: 22 Nov 2012 → 24 Nov 2012
http://www.strengthsbasedpractice.com.au/nepal_conference.htm (conference info)
|Conference||International Conference on Strengths Based Practices|
|Period||22/11/12 → 24/11/12|
Mungai, N. (2012). 'Kwimenya': The Cultural Foundation for Self-Discovery. In V. Pulla, L. Chenworth, A. Francis, & S. Bakaj (Eds.), Social Work, Human Services (pp. 112-124). Allied Publishers Private Limited.