Original Research - Special Collection: Made in Africa Evaluation

Hauwezi kuvuka ziwa hadi uwe na ujasiri wa kutouona urefu wa pwani: Made in Africa Evaluation as courageous conversation

Antony B. Maikuri, Vidhya Shanker, Rodney K. Hopson
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 10, No 1 | a625 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v10i1.625 | © 2022 Antony B. Maikuri, Vidhya Shanker, Rodney K. Hopson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 February 2022 | Published: 30 August 2022

About the author(s)

Antony B. Maikuri, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minnesota, United States of America
Vidhya Shanker, Private, Minnesota, United States of America
Rodney K. Hopson, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States of America


Background: The Kiswahili proverb that serves as the title of this article translates into English as, ‘You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore’.

Objectives: To elaborate on the implications for Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE) of the results of previous research that the authors conducted on harm and the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) cycle, specifically the connection that the previous study’s participants drew between care and courage.

Method: The article uses personal vignettes and insights from African revolutionary praxis in addition to abductive qualitative data analysis of interview data as well as literature on evaluation and Africa to understand and apply findings from an earlier study on harm and the M&E cycle. These findings connect care, trust and courage; discuss solidarity across artificially constructed difference; and name systems of oppression. It then reviews the literature on evaluation and Africa that refers to care, trust or courage. This literature tends to focus on three interrelated themes that parallel the interview results: relations between knowledge systems, the quest for a distinctive Africanness and a systems-oriented understanding of evaluation.

Results: The article proffers three interrelated paradigmatic shifts in the mental model or narrative for MAE - ‘crossings’ from the familiar shore into uncertain waters - that correspond with each theme above. Focusing on the first, it draws from the personal experience of one of the authors and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s work on decolonisation through language to propose that MAE cross from translation to courageous conversation as a mental model for relations among knowledge systems.

Conclusion: The article suggests three ways that MAE can shift from translation to conversation between knowledge systems: challenging the equation of writing with knowledge and linearity with rationality; keeping indigenous ways of knowing and languages alive to resist atrophy; and recognising these indigenous modalities as forms of protection and resistance against the ongoing subjugation of nonhierachical, systems-oriented knowledge as part of the subordination of African and other indigenous peoples and their lands.


Africa; evaluation; ethics; care; courage; trust; solidarity; relationality; language


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Crossref Citations

1. Made in Africa Evaluation
Mark Abrahams, Steven Masvaure, Candice Morkel
African Evaluation Journal  vol: 10  issue: 1  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/aej.v10i1.665