African psychology in a decolonised world

'The World Looks Like This From Here' encourages Africans to look past preconceived notions of what it means to be African

15 August 2019 - 10:55
'The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts on African Psychology' by Kopano Ratele.
'The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts on African Psychology' by Kopano Ratele.
Image: Wits Press

What does the world look like from Africa? What does it mean to think, feel, express without apology for being African? How does one teach society and children to be African – with full consciousness and pride?

In institutions of learning, what would a textbook on African-centred psychology look like?

How do researchers and practitioners engage in African social psychology, African-centred child development, African neuropsychology, or any area of psychology that situates African realities at the centre?

Questions such as these are what Kopano Ratele grapples with in this lyrical, philosophical and poetic treatise on practising African psychology in a decolonised world view.

Employing a style common in philosophy, but rarely used in psychology, the book offers thoughts about the ideas, contestation, urgency and desire around a psychological praxis in Africa for Africans.

While setting out a framework for researching, teaching and practising African psychology, the book in part coaxes, in part commands and in part urges students of psychology, lecturers, researchers and therapists to reconsider and reach beyond their received notions of African psychology.

This book builds a case for thinking and doing psychology differently in and for Africa. Its strength lies in the author’s arguments on psychology as a colonial discipline and what it does as it is transported to the African continent.
 Floretta Boonzaier, associate professor, Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town.

Ratele is the kind of scholar whose experience means he can jettison old ways of doing things in favour of experimentation and breaking boundaries. He insists on meddling with and poking at accepted ways of knowing and doing. Innovative in both form and content, the book is an important contribution to our scholarship.
 Hugo Canham, associate professor, Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Kopano Ratele is a professor in the Institute for Social and Health Sciences at the University of South Africa (Unisa) and a researcher in the South African Medical Research Council’s Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit. He is a regular guest on radio and television, co-hosting a radio programme, Cape Talk Dads.

His books include Liberating Masculinities (2016), Engaging Youth in Activism, Research and Pedagogical Praxis: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives on Gender, Sex, and Race (co-edited with Jeff Hearn, Tammy Shefer, and Floretta Boonzaier, 2018).