“’It's the way things are’ was a common retort from my grandmother when she could not explain to me why we were living in a yard that was as big as the palm of my hand”, writes Tshepo wa Mamatu about an entirely different matter.
“When any group within a large, complex civilisation significantly dominates other groups for hundreds of years, the ways of the dominant group (its epistemologies, ontologies and axiologies), not only become the dominant ways of that civilisation, but also these ways become so deeply embedded that they typically are seen as ‘natural’ or appropriate norms rather than as historically evolved social constructions.” (Scheurich & Young, 1997: 7 quoted by Chilisa, 2011: 45).
Chilisa (2011: 7-8) cites Fanon (1967) and Ngungi wa Thiong’o (1986) when referring to the process of “colonization of the mind”, which involves the stripping of marginalised groups from their ancestral culture and heritage.
The term postcolonial is highly contested, indicates Chilisa (2011: 12). Some read the ‘post’ to mean colonialism came to an end, whereas others perceived the term to include all indigenous people that experienced struggle and resisted suppression of their ways of knowing.
A space is advocated for “where those who suffered European colonial rule and slavery, the disenfranchised and dispossessed, can reclaim their languages, cultures, and ‘see with their own eyes’ the history of colonization, imperialism, and their new form” (Chilisa, 2011: 12). She calls it an “in-between space” with a “culture-integrative research framework” and “third-space methodologies” (Chilisa, 2011: 25).
Chilisa, B. 2011. Indigenous Research Methodologies. Los Angeles: Sage.