At Nova we are aware that modern science and modern development do not always understand or satisfy some of the strongly felt needs of people, such as the need for identity and meaning in life.

The writer and literary scholar Wole Soyinka (1976:viii), who afterwards became a Nobel Prize laureate, lamented that “African academia has created a deified aura around… intellectualism ( knowledge and exposition of the reference points of colonial cultures)…..this amounts to intellectual bondage and self-betrayal.” He pleaded for an academic approach that could express Africans’ “true self-apprehension”.

Although Nova is not an academic entity, we have from the beginning followed an approach where we respect and uphold the discipline and methods of science, but not from the outside in an objective and detached way, like spectators. We try to understand the truth of a particular situation as observers who are within the situation, together with the people who are dealing with their practical problems of everyday life, through experimental dialogue with them and with their total context, through the solutions we seek to develop with them (see Göktuğ Morçöl A Complexity Theory for Public Policy, pp 176, 177, with reference to Prigogine and Stengers.) We try to do what Soyinka was looking for: “…the apprehension of a culture whose reference points are taken from within the culture itself….