A United States University scholar, Prof. Toyin Falola has called for the integration of kingship study in African Universities.
Speaking as keynote speaker at the international conference on the Alaafin in Yoruba History, Culture, and Political Power Relations at Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo in Oyo State, he explained that kingships could be used to teach comparative histories of kings, kingdoms, and empires.
The keynote address was entitled ‘Alaafinology: The Ideology and Epistemology of Kingship’.
According to Falola, Kingship Studies will promote a multidisciplinary approach, drawing students of history, philosophy, anthropology, religious studies and political science adding that It will bring together varied subjects which will shine light on the understanding of historical ideology and non-Western epistemologies.
“Contents can, as a result, range from historical examples of kingships to theories on the development of civilizations and religions. Naturally, in Africa and across maintained sacred kingships, the extent of the sacred kingship cycle of power varies, depending on location. Even so, the cycle has yet to be entirely broken. It makes up a significant part of the history and even modern culture of the African people. Therefore, it is arguable that the youth of Africa should learn of the use of sacred kingship as well as its influence, even within the context of a globalizing world with democracy as the globalized ideal”.
Falola said the course must discuss areas including; the use of mythology in creating and bolstering an ideology and epistemology of a people, concepts of indigenous governance in various societies (afÍbaj¹, ìjòyè, adé, ìt¹, etc., among the Yorùbá, for example) must first be taught and understood as first, step to understanding the notion of Íbaship, students must be given a thorough history of how sacred kingship has been perceived and how it has evolved over time, instructors must ensure that all theories on the significance of and purposes for sacred kingship are covered, there must be an emphasis on the meaning of symbolism in culture to mention a few.
”Once the students understand the significance of symbolism generally, they must then examine how and why specific symbols (for instance, those found on Yorùbá Íbas’ crowns) are culturally significant specifically to the Yorùbá people. The instructors must inform the students that symbols, while powerful, only convey an important message if the message is relevant to the intended audience. Students must study the various rituals found in sacred kingships across the African continent after they are presented with knowledge on the history of symbolism and sacred kingship”.
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Author: Our reporter