Since time immemorial, research has shown that Africans developed knowledge in medicine that they used in complex interventions such as neurosurgery. But with the adoption of Western education, African knowledge in medicine has taken a back seat and, in most cases, ridiculed.
African intellectuals (academics, experts and professionals) are always quick to dismiss centuries of local (traditional) knowledge as primitive. And they have never made any attempts to advance the traditional knowledge to fit into the modern society. Yet in every society in Africa, traditional knowledge is still being applied. In short, the intellects have failed the continent.
As the Covid-19 pandemic ravages every sector, African intellectuals’ disdain for their own knowledge has come into sharp focus. Experiences shared by many Covid patients from different parts of the continent, indicate that some of them have applied traditional methods used in treating diseases like influenza such as regular steaming with natural oils like eucalyptus, which seems to have had significant positive results on them.
Others pointed out that using different antiviral herbal supplements and immune boosters (registered by authorities as supplements) has helped them. These results are astounding. But despite all these positive results, intellectuals are still prescribing controversial medications such as Remdesivir as a last resort in an attempt to save the patients. Perhaps we need a better understanding of ‘knowledge’.
The Oxford Dictionary defines knowledge as “a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can also be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); formal or informal; systematic or particular.” One can say that it is the most encompassing definition of knowledge.
However, intellectuals fall into the trap of another definition that came about during the age of enlightenment. Philosophers in that age, including Plato, defined knowledge as “justified true belief.”
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