Original Research

Disentangling conceptual antecedence for indigenous paradigm

Emeka A. Ndaguba, Edwin O.C. Ijeoma
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 7, No 1 | a325 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v7i1.325 | © 2019 Emeka A. Ndaguba, Edwin O.C. Ijeoma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 May 2019 | Published: 25 September 2019

About the author(s)

Emeka A. Ndaguba, Department of Public Administration, University of Fort Hare, Bisho, South Africa
Edwin O.C. Ijeoma, Department of Public Administration, University of Fort Hare, Bisho, South Africa

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Background: This is the first in a series of articles seeking to provide an African perspective on the public administration discourse, especially regarding its development as a discipline. Theories and concepts utilised in the discipline within the African context to inform practice were largely borrowed. This field has gained from Western administrative thought, and the principles and culture of the West are applied in the development of the discipline.

Aim: This article explores the opportunities the Indigenous afford African Public Administration (IAPA) by critiquing the Western philosophical orientation of public administration to underscore Africa’s influence on the development of the discipline.

Setting: The premise of this article is Africa, with public administration acting as a leverage for discussion.

Method: In gathering data for this article, the secondary source of data collection was explored, triangulation, Afrocentric perspective, and social constructivism were utilised. For the analysis, both narrative and theme analysis were employed.

Results: A key finding in this article is that scholarship in the community IAPA is both lacking and to some extent non-existent in the public administration discourse. The lack of understanding and documentation of Africa’s institutions and administrative thoughts is prominent, thereby, creating a vacuum or knowledge gap in Africa’s governance lexicon.

Conclusion: The essence of the indigenous public administration is to acknowledge the principles of indigenous African knowledge towards the growth and development of public administration as a discipline and be able to incorporate African principles like Ubuntu in the furtherance of public administration in praxis.


Public administration; indigenous paradigm; decolonisation; community indigenous public administration; indigenous public administration.


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