The manual begins with a definition of what conflict management is, and more precisely, traditional African conflict resolution methods. It looks at different types of conflict in a traditional African setting. These include: ethnic/tribal, religious, family, and land disputes, among others. It also looks at the role of each of the actors and institutions involved in traditional conflict management such as the secret society, village traditional council, quarter heads, village development groups, and religious leaders. Nshing explores the roles of common symbols and ceremonies such as plants (peace plants, fig trees, calabash, kola nuts), rituals, animal sacrifices, and the pouring of libation. Finally, he examines the idea of restorative justice – the examination of guilt, remorse, and compensation. These are core concepts in traditional African conflict management. With guilt, for instance, Nshing looks at what it takes for an offender to confess, as well as what it takes for the society to forgive the offender.
The manual puts all of these mechanisms, actors, symbols, and concepts into perspective by looking at their real-life application in the Cameroonian villages of Bafanji, Bambui, Bawock, Ndzah and Oku, and the Nigerian village of Ikwuano. It is not meant to be an exhaustive study, but an informative guide on traditional conflict prevention, resolution, and management in Africa.
The Procedural Manual on Traditional Conflict Management Techniques is available through www.future.edu.