The Spirit of African Indigenous Science

  • Solomon Belay Faris
Part of the Gender, Development and Social Change book series (GDSC)


The generation and application of knowledge, particularly the learning and doing of science, is solely a human endeavor. As human beings exist in a physical world, Africans had/have their own way of understanding, interpreting and dealing with their world. That is why, as anywhere else, different civilizations were born, thrived and declined in Africa. Many ancient civilizations of the world existed in Africa. The only challenge was that, despite the existence of some forms of scripts, most Africans were engrossed in oral tradition. The conservation, transmission and transformation of Indigenous knowledge from generation to generation were done orally. In this chapter, I will discuss how science is a cultural activity and how as a culture it also belonged to Africa. In order to demonstrate what sort of science was being undertaken as cultural activities, examples are given from the science of agriculture, engineering, medicine and astronomy. The hope is that pre-colonial African scientific activities will be studied, documented and disseminated as well as be used as a spring board to a contextual science education in the continent.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solomon Belay Faris
    • 1
  1. 1.Addis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

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