Re-appropriating African indigenous processes of conflict resolution for social justice : a case study of Batswana people of the North West Province of South Africa
This study investigated the indigenous processes of resolving conflicts among the Batswana communities generally but, precisely, those living in Lokaleng and Disaneng communities. It was inspired by the problems faced in indigenous processes of conflict resolution including: lack of documentation and use of IKS, nonrecognition of the role players in conflict resolution among others. The study aimed at looking at the processes followed by different structures during conflict resolution in Lokaleng and Disaneng communities. This was achieved through the use of a mixed methodological approach to collect data from these communities. In addition, close-ended questionnaires were used to collect data from individual respondents while focus group discussions were held using open-ended questions. The researcher contended that in both indigenous communities of Lokaleng and Disaneng, conflict resolution processes were inherently rooted in cultural moral values. The findings showed that the communities had an elaborate process for resolving non-violent conflicts. This process included the creation of an environment conducive to discussing non-violent conflicts, listening to each of the disputants, establishing the truth, exhausting all issues, reconciling the disputants using mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration. Within these communities, the processes were underpinned by moral values including respect for relationship, interdependence, unity, kindness, friendliness, sharing, love and obedience. Accordingly, these structures had several inherent features, which enabled the communities to not only prevent but resolve conflict among community members when conflicts occurred , in order to maintain and achieve social justice. The first part of the findings showed that within each community, people had knowledge of indigenous processes and the structures used in resolving conflict. They were also aware of the existence of both formal and informal mechanisms of conflict resolution , the nature, types and causes of conflict in their communities. Secondly, in the resolution processes individuals were allowed to intervene in conflict situations such as within the family. Different structures facilitated different types of conflict and there was hierarchy. Thirdly, these structures had open discussions in the process of resolving conflict in which, a council of elders facilitated open discussions of non-violent conflicts, and decisions were made by consensus involving as many men and women as were available. Moreover, transparency and re-integration were the main aims of these processes. In conclusion, the researcher argued that the salient factors for the resolution of indigenous conflict outlined above should be promoted for incorporation into the formal systems. The study recommended the re-appropriation of these conflict resolution processes because these processes had been found to be existent and useful in Lokaleng and Disaneng communities. This re-appropriation could be done through peace-building and development initiatives as well as democratisation processes through the Traditional Court Bill, and through the inclusion of IKS into educational pedagogy. This could be one of the interventions for dealing with nonviolent conflict and promoting indigenous processes of conflict resolution in South Africa and Africa at large. Above all, given the importance of these processes, there was a need for reclamation from formal processes and usage of indigenous processes of conflict resolution in Lokaleng and Disaneng communities in South Africa.
- Humanities 
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