Traditional Peacemaking in Africa: Some Theoretical Reverberation

  • Hindowa Batilo Momoh
Keywords: Peacemaking, Conflict Management, Reconciliation, Violence, Traditional, Disputes


This article argues that although Africa experienced an encumbering slave trade, and a century of an excruciating European colonization during which many of its indigenous institutions and practices were systematically weakened, usurped and, in some cases rendered redundant; yet traditional processes of peacemaking remain part of the people’s modus operandi especially in localities that were impermeable to the colonial hegemonic project. The paper further advances the argument that traditional peacemaking in Africa is not merely about adjudication of who is right or wrong and inflicting punishment on transgressors, but the reconciliation of conflicting parties to end their disagreements and to restore peace in society. While the researcher concedes that traditional peacemaking has its limitations such the incapacity to terminate violence particularly virulent conflicts and are open to abuse; yet they are people focused and are process oriented; they are inexpensive to manage and are celebrated for their inclusivity and openness; and more emphatically, they are not state-centric. The paper concludes that traditional peacemaking focusses on the principles of compassion, convergence, coexistence, restoration, peace and humane living.