The Palaver Tree and social connection

The Palaver Tree is a place in Africa where you find yourself in a village initiating exchanges on management of the city. It’s the place for discussion, logos and listening…


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About the project Edit

The Palaver Tree is a designated location (originaly a large tree such as the baobab) in many African community where the community come together to discuss in a peaceful and constructive manner, issues of common interest. At times the Palaver tree may also transform into a stage for performance and story telling. The palaver tree in recent days has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation embodied in the belief that one can change, accept a compromise because it is what makes us human.

It’s also a majestic tree with an impressive stature that casts cooling shadows especially during the dry season. In general, shea butter, cailcedrat (commonly known as African mahogany), mango trees, etc. In other words, a tree whose leaves do not shed annually. It provides shade in all seasons.

Village life is regulated under the palaver tree: weddings, land disputes, a young man or woman’s good or bad behaviour, good or bad harvests, news from the parents of neighbouring villages, protecting the village from witchcraft, etc.

Are the prohibitions that protect the village from various scourges (ex. drought, epidemics among others) respected? How does the village face a bad harvest collectively? That is why the village is thoroughly scrutinized. It is really the collective management of the village. This is how cohesion of the village community is assured. It is the same way that peace and harmony between inhabitants of the same village and neighbouring villlages is also assured.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

- a way to accurately portray
- applies to all areas of social life (holistic in nature)
- local tribunal

Former South African president Nelson Mandela himself saw the African palaver as a “full-fledged democratic institution”. In his autobiography, he put forward the crucial role of assemblies in political life, affirming that “all those who want to talk will. It was democracy in its purest form.”

What is the social value of this project? Edit

“The African palaver is a philosophical method, its roots deep and entrenched in peace and beauty, always avoiding foolishness and the destruction of humanity. Peace and beauty create what is truly essential for humans.” (below):

1. That those in our country who behave everywhere like elephants in a China store, think before committing certain acts that chase peace and harmony. To be human is above all to preserve peace and life. It is true that this drama is above all agrarian, a cultural trait that distinguishes the southern birthplace from the Indo-European one. We must cultivate the lesson of tolerance and forgiveness, all things that contribute to maintaining peace and, therefore, life, that participates from nature’s beauty that we should take the time to contemplate instead of the always scrambling towards more riches that rot all societies that only have wealth as the ultimate objective of their existence.

The Palaver Tree is a mechanism that maintains peace, social order and social cohesion (instrument for crisis management and conflict at the heart of the community). It is a system of social control at the heart of communities that aims to weaken the following: drugs, smoking, alcohol, rural exodus, moral deprivation, witchcraft (followers are getting younger and younger), disputes and disagreements that are becoming more and more frequent between villagers who sometimes take justice into their own hands to escape corruption by officials, etc. Its fundamental philosophy is peaceful coexistence and self-monitoring of villages.

In short, it’s the collective and democratic management of the village community to create and maintain coolness and shade, as well as humanity which is sometimes lacking in our urban deserts.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The community roots of this mechanism has the strong potential for expansion: first in all rural communities, then in modern democratic societies, in social networks to talk about NICTs (Internet, Facebook Twitter, etc.) in kitchens and restaurants (gastronomy). In fact, several networks consciously or unconsciously inspired the Palaver Tree philosophy. It can expand across all activities of social life that involves a system of social relations: business management, human resources managements, remote training, administration, etc.

In Saint-Georges-sur-Loire, instructors from Collège Jean Racine understood well the usefulness of the Palaver Tree. The Ouest France Daily explains how they were inspired by this principle to help students pass the university entrance exam and gathered them under the tree and organized creative activities.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

The need to maintain social connections, respect cultural values, solidarity and social integration in communities.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

The Palaver Tree is the lever for the social mobilization of villages’ economic development since it allows villagers to honestly debate their concerns and needs and to find solutions to develop their village themselves. Beyond that, it lets people think about the path for economic development in all sectors of economic life (a place to imagine innovative economic projects).

En outre, maintenant que se révèle le rôle majeur de la diaspora dans le développement économique, il est intéressant de voir comment à travers Internet, les Africains de la diaspora essaient de reconstruire le lien rompu avec la communauté d’origine, savoir comment Internet répond aux préoccupations de reconstruction du lien social, et aborder par conséquent les nombreuses questions liées aux investissements économiques dans les pays d’origine.

Furthermore, now that the key role of the diaspora in economic development has been revealed, it’s interesting to see how Africans of the Diaspora use the Internet to try and rebuild the broken connection to their community of origin, know how the Internet responds to concerns of rebuilding the social connection and, consequently, answer the many questions linked to economic investment in their country of origin.

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