From agknowledgeafrica ilriwikis

Focus Group session on Traducture

Organizers/ Focal Point(s)

Charles Dhewa, Emmanuel Chabata, Jayne Mutiga and Lorna Mphahlele

Some outputs

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Aims of the session

Africans have a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of traditional knowledge on topics ranging from agriculture and forestry to medicines and medical practices. Much of this knowledge is embedded in the diverse local languages and cultures.

The marginalisation of African languages and practices means much local knowledge is lost. Many innovations by farmers and rural communities are excluded from modern science and technology (S&T) because there are no local terms or expressions to capture them; and even if they exist, a lot of questions are raised over the validity of the content within. In much of Africa, we are not adequately tapping into the wealth of local languages such as Sotho, Zulu, Shona, Swahili, Igbo, Fulani and many others

Our focus group will discuss and explore the role of translation/traducture in ‘domesticating' science and making multiple African knowledge visible. Specific aims include:

  • Exploring the state of indigenous languages in agriculture and rural development.
  • Surfacing common elements in sub-Saharan Africa’s cultural diversity. How can multilingualism strengthen agriculture and rural development in Africa?
  • How can we use social media to promote oral and written fluency in local African languages as critical components in building self-esteem and advancing the literary identity of African people.
  • Discussing the role of local languages in translational research and collaboration in agriculture and medicine: How does veterinary science speak to economics?, How do we communicate biotechnology in local languages?


1. Agenda for the session

2. Facilitators:

  • Content -
  • Process -

3. Knowledge Sharing technique used (if any):

As espoused by the word ‘traducture’, we will harness various ways of sharing knowledge that are used in Africa. According to Wangui wa Goro, ‘traducture’ refers to various ways of knowing which we embody and is more than translation. Participants will bring various knowledge products such as specialised dictionaries, grammar books, posters and artworks for exhibition.

To break the ice, there will be a brief presentation by Charles Dhewa and Dr. Emmanuel Chabata on ‘The Significance of Translation in Agriculture and Rural Development’. This will be followed by a conversation about experiences with translation in Africa (the role of intermediaries such as journalists, professional translators, etc). Translation theories, principles and approaches will be weaved into the conversation. Volunteers will share stories on translation.

The focus group will draw from translation enthusiasts in Africa who are slowly evolving into a Community of Practice that is sharing insights/ideas/lessons on Knowledge Translation in Africa. The group is tentatively called Found in Translation (FONT) and currently has 24 members. To encourage knowledge sharing through social media, a discussion forum has been created here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/knowledgetranslation


Storytelling, songs, interpretation,


Question: would it be good to add dance? Some dances send out messages even if one does not understand the language. What do you think?

What is a Focus group session?