chapter  9
15 Pages


An account of the ecosystem based on the African notion of relationship
ByJonathan O. Chimakonam

I attempt an articulation of a new account of the ecosystem called ohanife, using the underexplored African notion of ‘relationship’ found in many places in the sub-Saharan regional cultures and embedded in the Igbo notion of ezi n’ulo, which is emblematic of a relationship of interdependence and complementarity. Here, the ecosystem is conceived as a community and a common home to all there is. It is a network encompassing all existents. In it, every entity, both human and non-human, matters. Everything is connected to this community called ecosystem and through it; everything is connected to everything else. In the first part, I will do preliminary conceptualisations. In the second, I will unbundle the theory of ohanife through what can be called the architecture of ezi n’ulo comprising of uloshpere and ilosphere, showing the important place which the notion of relationship occupies in African thought. In the third part, I will schematise what can be called complementary and conversational curves to measure the relationship between oha and ife within the ecosystem. I will then employ these curves to demonstrate that, in the ecosystem, everything, whether human or non-human, stands equal to others and represents a necessary link in the network of existents and that the rupture of this link might have unknown consequences