Issues and Prospects of African Indigenous Systems of Governance: Relevance and Implications for Global Understanding

  • Lewis Asimeng-BoaheneEmail author
Living reference work entry


African indigenous systems of governance have remained prey to tradition, Western labeling, colonization, as well as African nostalgia. The overall result has been that African systems of governance have been slurred and reduced to the footnotes of serious academic discourse. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the traditional architecture of the African indigenous systems of governance and their relevance to modern global schooling and educational systems. As in Renaissance Italy throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when a great multiplicity of organizational systems, namely, dictatorship, monarchy, democracy, and theocracy, existed within a fairly small geographical area and often under similar socioeconomic environments, so too in traditional African societies do we find a great variety of political systems within relatively close proximity to one another. It is this very diversity that is of great significance in understanding African political philosophy, which serves as the overarching goal of this paper. The chapter discussion covers the issues and prospects of what African indigenous systems of governance entail in terms of their relevance and implications for global schooling and education. After a discussion of the methodology employed and the conceptual and theoretical analysis for the paper, this chapter addresses precolonial traditional systems of governance, the impact of colonialism on the transformation of African traditional institutions and the status of traditional institutions in the postcolonial era. The next discourse examines the relevance and implications of Indigenous systems of governance for modern-day schooling and political education for global understanding.


Indigenous systems of governance Decentralized: Consensus-based Stateless Acephalous Non-stratified Centralized: chieftaincy political system 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Studies EducationPenn State University-HarrisburgMiddletownUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • George Sefa Dei
    • 1
  • Jean-Paul Restoule
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.OISE, University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult EducationOntario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dept. of Indigenous EducationUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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