Metaphysics · Pulamadibokgo

African Origin of Knowledge Engineering

African Origin of Knowledge Engineering
By Mocholoko Dr. Zulumathabo Zulumathabo © 2021

Before the calculator! Before the microscope! Before the telescope! There was African knowledge engineering!

SAFM Radio Podcast At End of Article

The legendary DJ Stephen Grootes of SAFM Radio interviewing me about Decolonising Psychology. This was an opportunity for me to demonstrate the principles of knowledge engineering on the popular radio platform. Listen to the podcast at the end of the article. Picture Credit: SAFM Radio station.

The Preamble

The Covid conditions of pestilence are forcing a reevaluation of the essence of our being with respect to the purpose of our destiny and our strategies of sustenance in the terrestrial space. The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 is already sounding a death knell to our way of life as we know it. Where does that leave us as the African Natives of Azania (South Africa) who are highly hitched to a system of the ECC (Euro-Christian Colonial) establishment?

At our infancy, we are already born into the environment that prepares us to attend the schools built by the colonists; their colonial descendants; their colonial proxies or others to produce productive worker bees with unquestioning obedience. A triad of subliminal images is used as an ideological tool to inculcate and to reinforce the fact of unquestioning obedience namely (1) an image of a White institution; (2) an image of a White god and (3) an image of a white doll. We go on to attain our matriculation; junior degrees or post-graduate degrees thinking that we are on the top of the World when in fact we are miseducated about reality to sink well below the World of the mainstay of the economy. Why is that?

In the book A Woman In The Bush I write two literary pieces The Cold Maple Leaf and The Gentle Exclusion to describe the subliminal phenomenon of gentle oppression as methodologically practised and experienced in the great City of Ottawa, Canada.

To retake our position as the architects of our economic destiny, we need to understand three taxonomies namely (1) taxonomy of knowledge; taxonomy of economy and the (2) taxonomy of governance. These three taxonomies determine our ability or inability to become the architects of our economic destiny.

To retake our inelianable position as the unbought and unsold architects of destiny, we must shake off the funks and disembark the bandwagon of perpetual complaints like crying racism as an execuse for our failures. We must act the part like an unconquerable Nkwe / Ngonyama / African leopard that recovers from setback after being bullied and tackled to the humiliating ground by the killing machines of the mighty lions. Like an African athlete with extreme resilience, Nkwe rises to his educated feet while baring his fearsome teeth to show that he brings deadly weapons to the situation and will vigorously resist any further abuse. This incredible showcase of a physico-intellectual prowess is enough to cause the mighty lion king himself to think a thousand times before making the next move towards Nkwe. In this way, the indefatigable Nkwe is able to exit a life-demeaning and life-killing situation with his dignity intact unimpeded by the magnitude of the problem that befell him teaching us to recover from setback and to vigorously resist those who seek to subjugate us.

This article focuses attention on the taxonomy of knowledge using the principles of knowledge engineering premised on the thesis of African origin of engineering knowledge. The other taxonomies will be covered in seperate articles. This article is a preface to a full Zoom lecture to be conducted on Sunday April 11, 2021 via Zoom video. See Zoom details below.

What is knowledge? What are the design principles of knowledge? What is the conceptualisation of knowledge? For whom is knowledge produced and for what? Enter the knowledge engineering philosophy of African origin. You need this radical conceptualisation to enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution. You must not enter the 4IR as a knowledge consumer or practitioner but rather as a knowledge engineer.

The erudite African ancestors who have gone before us were knowledge engineers and producers as confirmed in the book The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence wherein, among others, I trace the technological history of the calculator and provide a historiographical evidence that shows that the indigenous African calculator of Moruba used in the Royal Court of Mapongubjwe in the present day province of Limpopo of Azania predates by more than 800 years the invention of the European calculator Thomas Arithmoneter designed by the French engineer Thomas de Colmar in the 1800s. The modern calculator is a derivative of the Thomas Arithmoneter.

The sophisticated African multidimensional array calculator of Moruba edged in stone was used as part of the Azanian Sea (Indian Ocean) mercantile trade system which included many merchants of Mozambique; Malawi; Zimbabwe; Botswana; Zambia; Congo; Tanzania; Kenya; Somalia; Ethiopia; India; China; Nubia; Turkey and many others. In this article I show the modelling of the algorithm utilised by the Moruba using a triad of polar stones with polarities of positive charge; negative charge and neutral charge.

Thus, our ancestors entered the World trade system as producers and knowledge engineers and not as consumers as is the case today. It is for this reason that as the beautiful sons and daughters of Azania we must reverse course to be inspired by the intellectual achievements of the African ancients who have gone before us.

To learn more about the concept of knowledge engineering of African origin read the following article:

Genesis and Conceptualisation of Madisebo University


In Western universities, knowledge is conceptualised as an idealistic system. Let’s define the concept of ideal where idealistic comes from. The Oxford English dictionary defines ideal as follows:

Ideal: “Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence embodying an ideal”.

This defines the word in the manner that is ordinarily used in everyday life. In his book Long Walk To Freedom, the great President Nelson Mandela writes about Banabakhe Blayi, an affluent boy at the Xhosa circumcision school that Mandela attended as a Xhosa boy. Banabakhe narrated lots of exhilarating stories about the Black mine workers in the Johannesburg City of gold. This is what Mandela has to say:

“He [Banabakhe] so thrilled us with tales of the mines that he almost persuaded me that to be a miner was more alluring than to be a monarch. Miners had a mystique; to be a miner meant to be strong and daring, the ideal of manhood”. Square brackets and italics are mine.

Xhosa boy at circumcision school. Picture Credit: Peter Magubane from online.

Mandela is using the word ideal to mean the ultimate standard of perfection. His usage of the word is congruent with the schools he graduated from because this is how the word is defined. Take out your pen and paper because I am about to give you a radically new way of conceptualising about this word.

Ideal is not really about the ultimate standard of perfection. This is the meaning that has been acquired through usage overtime. Etymologically, ideal means made of ideas. Thus, idealistic which is a derivative of ideal refers to a system of ideas. This is what I meant when I said earlier that Western institutions of higher learning conceptualise about knowledge as an idealistic system. For them knowledge is a system of ideas. This is confirmed by the awarding of the highest PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree which buttresses the point that this doctoral graduate is the highest achiever of the system of ideas. This explains why a doctoral dissertation requires rigorous training in research methodologies; theoretical frameworks; research designs and research paradigms.

Model of a PSA (polar stone arrangement) algorithm used in the Moruba calculator; analytically verified by reverse engineering and technically designed by Z.Zulu.

In this article we analytically cover the taxonomy of knowledge domains namely (1) primordial domain: (2) private domain and (3) public domain to educate you about the correct rigour of conceptualisation with respect to knowledge as a knowledge engineer and not as a knowledge consumer.

How do the indigenous Africans, like the Basotho philosophers, conceptualise about knowledge? The Sesotho word for knowledge is Tsebo from the word Tseba which means to know. A regression analysis of the word Tseba using the morphological analysis book Sesotho Dictionary of Lexemes (unpublished) shows that the word has two lexemes namely (1) tse and (2) ba meaning sensing and cardinality respectively. Sensing is about metaphysical access to knowledge and cardinality is about the number of elements of knowing. Thus, for the African, knowing is about metaphysics whereas for the Westerners knowing is about ideas. Metaphysical knowledge is a system of knowledge based on reality whereas idealistic knowledge is a system of knowledge based on ideas. For the African epistemologist, reality is the superset of knowing and the ideas is the subset of the superset. For the Western epistemologist, ideas is the superset of knowing and reality is the subset of the superset which explains why an eye witness observer may lose a court case because of a persuasive syllogistic arguement mounted by a defense attorney. Syllogism is about ideas premised on idealism.

To be continued in a paid Zoom lecture!!!

To attend this lecture. Please register for the lecture as follows:

African Origin of Knowledge Engineering – Zoom Details
(Before the calculator! Before the microscope! Before the telescope! There was African knowledge engineering)

Short Description

The stringent conditions of Covid pestilence are fasttracking our trajectory onto the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hitherto, the African Natives have been interacting with the previous and current Third Industrial Revolutions as consumers and workers. Hereafter, the African Natives must enter this 4IR as the architects of destiny inspired by the intellectual achievements of the erudite ancestors who solved novel problems as knowledge engineers and not just knowledge consumers. Enter African Origin of Knowledge Engineering brought to you by Madisebo University Research Institute, a treasure chest of incredible longitudinal research knowledge.

You Are Invited To A Zoom Meeting Lecture!

When: Sunday April 11, 2021 11:00 AM Johannesburg

Topic: African Origin of Knowledge Engineering

Register in advance for this lecture:

After registering and sending proof of payment, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For any queries contact as follows:

Whatsapp/Signal: 081 238 4057


SAFM Radio Podcast


Mandela, N. (1994). Long Walk To Freedom: The Autoubiography of Nelson Mandela. Back Bay Books: London.

Zulu, Z. (2014). The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence. Madisebo University College Press: Johannesburg.

Zulu, Z. (2014). A Woman In The Bush. Madisebo University College Press: Johannesburg.

Zulu, Z. (2013). Sesotho Dictionary of Mathematics. Madisebo University College Press: Johannesburg.

Zulu, Z. (2019) “African Metaphysical Science and Decolonisation”, Faculty of Education, North West University – Potchefstroom, North West Province, Azania.

Zulu, Z. (2008). ‘Ontological States of the Object’, Unpublished, Ottawa, Canada.

Zulu, Z. (2009). ‘The African Philosophy of Coexistentialism’, Unpublished, Ottawa, Canada.

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