There are so many concepts that I believe are intrinsically African but which have been introduced as global terms and concepts. For instance this concept of networks and social networking in particular. The other one is this notion of building or reaching consensus. For us all of these were practiced as part of African life. I guess part of our challenge as Africans is that there are so many things which to us where obvious patterns of behaviour and action and thus we did not feel a need to dissect it and explain what was "normal". Its the same thing which plagues our system of healing, African medicine.
In days gone by, villages were ruled through consensus. This is a misunderstood concept in that there is a sense that this means that everyone follows a leader. Africa in its purest sense was led by the community because the advisors to the leaders where "ordinary" men and women chosen for their wisdom. The problem becomes when the leader is no longer guided by the community. When the guidance belongs to the exclusive domain of a few yes men and women driven by their own individual agendas and not community agendas. That's one.
Social networks have always been the means of communication in communities before the advent of telephobes, Even now, there is what we call the bush telegraph which still operates effectively in the community. Once again, if one reads about the advert of social media, it will be placed everywhere but within the context of ubuntu.
These random thoughts have made me pause and wonder, what else do we have in Africa which is a society based thing which we do not see the true value for humanity in?
My first and I think predicatable response is, African Medicine. It fits the above narrative perfectly. It is a system that is based in the community when it is operating as it should. The social network spreads the word about a particular healer who is good/bad at something. The community knows! This is why I advise people to ask the people who live around a particular African Doctor for his/her work ethic and treatment of patients and in particular amathwasa. The social network knows.