New PhD Graduate: TRANS4M Fellow Daud “Shumba” Taranhike, Zimbabwe, graduates with an Innovation Focus on the Integral Kumusha
24 May 2021: Daud “Shumba” Taranhike is officially awarded with his PhD on Integral Kumusha and Nhakanomics.
We let Daud share the story and main outcome of his PhD which was supervised by TRANS4M’s co-founders Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Schieffer, in his own words:
The aim of this research on the Integral Kumusha was to develop and establish a socio-economic model which is anchored within African traditional, cultural practices blended with exogenous knowledge and practices in order to alleviate or eradicate poverty, hunger and marginalisation among people living in rural areas and empower them to contribute positively to the national economic mainstream.
This research was motivated by the fact that over 70 % of Zimbabwean population live in rural areas and the majority of them live in abject poverty and are dependent on government and donor community assistance or handouts, thereby putting a huge burden on the fiscus. Apart from failing to contribute positively to the national economy, it means poverty is being passed on to future generations. My deep desire or passion is to see the rural communities transform towards self-sufficiency and create a new legacy or heritage (Nhaka in Shona) of prosperity, dignity and pride as a people who are able to take charge of their own destiny.
In order to facilitate this transformation, I collaborated with the Buhera community including my wife Christina, the Traditional Grains Producers Association led by Basil Nyabadza and other TRANS4M Fellows and PhD students using the co-operative inquiry methodology, underpinned by the Integral Development approach and by Da Vinci’s TIPS model (Management of Technology, Innovation, People and Systems), following the feminist approach for critiquing and co-creating knowledge.
The Research Outcomes
My research resulted in the emergence and evolution of the theory and practice of what I termed “Integral Kumusha” and “Nhakanomics”.
Kumusha is a Shona word which means homestead where the rural people stay and make their living albeit based primarily on traditional farming during the summer season. This means the people are productive or are actively working for only five months of the year and the remainder of the year they will not be engaged in meaningful activities. The Integral Kumusha is a new and evolved homestead where the people carry out their farming activities throughout the whole year while incorporating science and technology in their operations and while, at the same time, the homestead becomes an economic enterprise that generates income for each family to sustain its livelihood and benefiting the community.
Therefore, the Integral Kumusha is a homestead which is not just a home for people to live and be buried at, but a new type of business entity which incorporates community, culture, technology (including internet connection) and enterprise. This is different from the conventional Western Corporate firm which mainly involves technology and enterprise, bereft of community and culture. The Integral Kumusha promotes household trade to enhance family livelihoods and helps in creating an active and vibrant village and regional economy.
The important part of the Integral Kumusha is that it maintains the communal way of life. Thereby, it doesn’t disrupt the African cultural social fabric because people do not move out of their community in search of employment. It hence also promotes family unity and community cohesion. People earn a living while they are in their family homestead setting which is grounded in nature. This is a critical aspect that is not included or valued when people move to the urban areas in search of employment.
While the people at the Integral Kumusha maintain farming as part of their livelihood, this activity is enhanced in that the people live in harmony with nature by harvesting sunshine to produce solar energy, and harvesting both rainwater and underground water in order to ensure that farming is carried out throughout the whole year using drip irrigation. In order to enhance the crop yields, beekeeping is encouraged whereby the bees help with improved pollination. Apart from growing traditional crops that are drought resistant, at the Integral Kumusha we are also growing high value crops such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, etc, thereby even enabling the rural folk to earn foreign currency as these crops can be exported.
At the Integral Kumusha, farming as the main activity also involves fruit farming of both indigenous and exotic fruit trees in order to improve people’s health. Further, there is a strong emphasis on preserving nature which focuses on soil conservation and the growing of trees and maintaining good vegetation to avoid soil erosion while at the same time getting clean and fresh air. Therefore, people are encouraged to live in harmony with nature by conserving and preserving it.
An interesting dimension of the Integral Kumusha is the promotion of rural tourism where we emphasise values such as African hospitality and respect, drawing on Christina’s many years of experience in the hospitality industry. For a very long time when visitors or foreign tourists came to Zimbabwe, they never really experienced the authentic traditional African lifestyle. One of the reasons for this shortcoming was that people had lost pride of their identity as a result of colonisation and urbanisation. The Integral Kumusha is reversing this mentality and helping the African rural communities to be proud of who they are, their culture and their history.
The African indigenous culture at the Integral Kumusha focuses on local language/s, dress code, food and music as these aspects are unique to different communities and this is part of the rural tourism package. The Integral Kumusha also helps people to challenge some of the traditional practices and social norms that are retrogressive, such as apportioning everything that is unfamiliar or problematic to the mystery of ancestorial worship without conducting research or root cause analysis to establish and generate new knowledge. By allowing dynamism in our culture, we therefore allow ourselves to emerge with an enhanced culture and practices.
In promoting this transformation, the Integral Kumusha is encouraging continuous learning and rhw ongoing co-creation of knowledge. For example, we regularly conduct field lectures and field days which are directed by my wife and co-founder of the Integral Kumusha Christina, where people meet from inside and outside of the community to share knowledge on different aspects of life and practices. Since the Integral Kumusha is a new phenomenon, we host a lot of visitors including schools, colleges and universities.
The Integral Kumusha is now promoting both indigenous and exogenous knowledge and how to marry them to enhance livelihoods being spearheaded by the Mai Chimuti Brand which refers to the marginalised rural woman. In the African home setting, the woman plays the crucial role – hence the Shona adage “Musha Mukadzi” which means the woman makes the home.
Instead of selling raw produce, the Integral Kumusha has started processing them using appropriate technology to enhance value. This has led to a stage where it has become necessary to establish a research centre or academy that supports the generation of knowledge and that helps to address key issues that affect our community and the nation. Thereby, we are going beyond the conventional schooling approach but work in collaboration with a number of researchers and research institutions or universities.
The enterprise side of the Integral Kumusha involves the marketing and selling of the products in order to generate income. The people within the community are employed at the Integral Kumusha, engaged in diverse activities, and earn the money to sustain their families. This is helping to redefine employment where people used to think that it happens only in urban areas.
As a whole, the Integral Kumusha provides a holistic and integrated approach in rural development and enhancing livelihoods, starting with the traditional homestead within the community, living in harmony with nature while promoting our culture and improving knowledge co-creation through science and technology and using the Integral Kumusha as an enterprise to generate income for the home, the community and the nation at large.
When extrapolated to a macro or national level, the Integral Kumusha concept or approach paves the way to what I coined in my research “Nhakanomics”. Nhakanomics is emerging as the alternative of the neo-liberal economic system which for a very long time has been viewed as the universal one size fits all approach. Nhakanomics is a new form of an economy which is anchored within the traditional Shona practice of creating legacy or inheritance in an integral way.
Together, through the approaches to Integral Kumusha and Nhakanomics, we are co-creating a legacy of prosperity, pride and dignity for future generations. At the same time the research outcome is helping to bridge the rural/urban, tradition/modernity, public/private, poor/rich, racial and social divides and promotes the rural migration for the majority of people to be where they belong and where are grounded.
The Integral Kumusha and Nhakanomics theories and practices have attracted local and international attention as evidenced by the visits of many people, the various documentaries being featured on national television, radio series on the Integral Kumusha on Classic 263 and the collaborations and involvements with international organisations such as the Communiversity Associates being led by Professor Ronnie Lessemm the Home for Humanity Global Community and the St. Gallen University course on “Reshaping International Development”, being facilitated by Professor Alexander Schieffer.
In summary, the research outcomes of this extraordinary PhD Journey, are contributing positively to enhancing the body of knowledge and promoting better livelihoods for the majority of people who have been perceived as poor and marginalised, especially in rural communities. And huge opportunities for further development and prosperity are awaiting us – and met by our commitment to pursue them, in service of rural Zimbabwe, our country, Africa and the world.”
As a global TRANS4M community and Home for Humanity Family, which Integral Kumusha recently officially joined, we celebrate wholeheartedly Daud’s “integral achievement”.
The PhD programme is a cooperation between the South Africa based Da Vinci University and TRANS4M Academy for Integral Transformation (the latter being a key institutional pillar of Home for Humanity).