This book offers narrative analysis theory as a vehicle to understand indigenous mediation. The conceptual basis for this manuscript is the undisputed urgent need to understand mediation from a conflict transformation perspective highlighting the nexus between indigenous justice, forgiveness and trauma healing. This book is based on the assumptions that local communities have the tools/capabilities that they need to build stable and enduring peaceful co-existence. These capacities have been weakened by the political elite and bankrupt/corrupt leadership approaches that must be rejected through empowerment and rigorous mediation brigades at the local level. The last chapter in the manuscript proposes a research center for indigenous justice, forgiveness and trauma healing in East Africa that will guarantee decades of scholarship and research around this subject in East Africa and beyond.
Increasingly, the field of conflict resolution has come to understand and recognize that multiplicity of cultures and contexts ineluctably entails variability of intervention approaches. Many scholars and practitioners have urged the adoption of localized intervention methods yet there remains a dearth of detailed study of indigenous methodologies. Daniel Njoroge Karanja provides both definition of and concrete illustrations of indigenous mediation processes drawn from Africa. By utilizing proverbs to convey meaning, Karanja preserves more truly the meaning of indigenous processes in their own right rather than their assimilation into dominant paradigms. The book is a compelling read that is grounded in narratives from participants in real life conflicts. The rich personal experiences of offenders and victims are complemented with analysis from a scholar and practitioner well versed in the practices. Karanja does not stop at just analysis of process, but looks beyond to the longer term transformations that can enable persons and communities to heal from the traumas of conflict. The book will be a great teaching text as much as it will be a useful reference manual for practitioners.
Daniel Njoroge Karanja offers the reader an in-depth, inside understanding of the value of African indigenous methods of conflict resolution, reconciliation, and transformation. His research that includes indigenous proverbs, storytelling and the wisdom of elders, illustrates the art of conflict transformation. Karanja offers a model where African indigenous and Western theories of mediation are understood to be equal. The importance of indigenous proverbs and storytelling illustrates the importance of maintaining indigenous languages. Translations of proverbs lose their original understanding and value for conflict transformation. Other major themes Karanja explores are indigenous understanding of trauma, unforgiveness, deep listening, reciprocal violence and justice for both victims and offenders. Daniel Njoroge Karanja has written a book that should be widely used in university courses in conflict transformation.
If there were ever a time the world could benefit from the wisdom of indigenous mediation models; that time is now. Daniel Njoroge Karanja’s new book beautifully highlights the power of stories in bringing about transformation, and the vital importance of recognizing the community context beyond the immediate parties to a conflict.