Indigenous approaches are crucial for indigenous people across the world including Africans, in assessing the impact of imperialism and its manifestations in colonialism, liberalism, globalization, and Western research. Such approaches acknowledge the fundamental importance of local culture, recognizing that geographical, empirically based knowledge provides culturally appropriate solutions to problems. Indigenous approaches serve as a bridge between policies, interventions, and the grassroots. Social work, as a practice-based profession and an academic discipline, should acknowledge and include indigenous knowledge and methodologies in its curriculum. It is important to empower and provide space and a voice for the grassroots to articulate problems and participate in solving them by sharing their own wisdom and experiences. It is shortsighted and unworkable to rely upon prescribed Western policies and curriculums with the assumption that they will seamlessly transfer to other, fundamentally different, people and cultures. Failing to discard such an “apples to apples approach” will only result in a prolonged failure to adequately address the socioeconomic problems in Sub-Saharan Africa and will only perpetuate the problems associated with imperialism and [neo]colonialism. This chapter provides conceptual definitions to constructs such as decolonization and indigenous knowledge and demonstrates the importance of decolonization and indigenous approaches in social work scholarship and practice as it relates to Africa.
Part of the book: Global Social Work