ABSTRACT

In 1986 the new journal International Sociology published a paper by the Nigerian sociologist Akinsola Akiwowo called 'Contributions to the Sociology of Knowledge from an African Oral Poetry'. 'Contributions' is a short and uncompromising text. Most of its fifteen pages consist of a line-by-line translation of a Yoruba-language ritual poem from Oyo state in western Nigeria, with a running commentary on its meaning and a glossary of its terms. In short concluding sections, Akiwowo summarises the ontological principles he finds in the text, and nine sociological propositions he derives from it. In the 'Contributions' paper of 1986, Akiwowo cites a certain philosophy text, which had no resonance for International Sociology but was highly significant for African intellectuals. The vision of economic development for Africa, the centre of what Vale and Maseko call the 'globalist' interpretation of the African Renaissance, emphasises free markets, scaling down of the public sector, good governance, attracting private investment, and better infrastructure.