This philosophical investigation interrogates the relationship between G.W.F. Hegel’s concept of the master-slave dialectic in The Phenomenology of Spirit and the critique and reformulation of it by Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks. As a means of contextualization and expansion of Hegel’s original textual account, I consider Susan Buck-Morss’ seminal defense through grounding the dialectic in Hegel’s possible historical knowledge of the Haitian Revolution. I maintain that despite a compelling picture, Buck-Morss’ insights are unable to fully vindicate Hegel from (...) the rebukes of Fanon, and as a result, Hegel’s phenomenology necessitates a concrete analysis of the actual conscious experiences of the racialized and colonized subject in order to realize its aims. In pursuit of this critical methodology, I develop the upshot and positive movement of Fanon’s critique through what I describe as a “phenomenology of flesh” in conversation with Maurice Merleau Ponty’s The Visible and the Invisible. (shrink)
A Post-Colonial Reconstruction of Africa surveys the significant reconstruction work undertaken in the social and political organization of sub-Saharan African society in the decades following the colonial interruption and subjects these efforts to rigorous criticism in order to establish whether they can carry the weight of modernization efforts in Africa. To examine the significant trends, it highlights the work of African intellectuals such as Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Gyekye, Paulin Hountondji, Kwame Nkrumah, Anthony Appiah, Ato Sekyi-Otu, and Bernard Matolino. Pieter H. (...) Coetzee argues that reconstruction inspired by traditional communitarian systems of social organization, including the modified form presented by Matolino, do not adequately do justice to the liberty aspirations of individuals in an era when the demand for increased democratization has become globally paramount. Reconstruction efforts inspired by appeal to native traditions of liberalism, including native conceptions of individual rights, fare better in this regard. However, current reconstruction efforts have done little to rescue Africans from the negative economic effects of colonialism and neo-colonialism and fail to alleviate self-perception problems created by Western racism. Appiah’s cosmopolitan option and Sekyi-Otu’s left universalism are notable exceptions. (shrink)
This is my reply essay (1000 words) to Travis Timmerman's "A Case for Removing Confederate Monuments" in Bob Fisher's _Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues That Divide Us_ volume (2020). In it, I explain why I think the mere harm from the racial offense a monument may cause does not justify removing it.
This paper will reflect on the possibility of epistemic decolonization, particularly in terms of curriculum, as a transformative educational process in the context of the South African university, and with respect to my own positionality. The argument will centre around two difficult interdependent positions. On the one hand I will argue for the university’s task as transformational, even offering, via Cornel West, the ‘salvific’ possibility that knowledge offers those who seek it. To develop this claim, I will draw on and (...) develop the notion of paideia though the work of Plato and Heidegger.On the other hand, within the postcolonial African university, the question of decolonization in the tertiary space cannot be elided, particularly since the 2015 #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements. The university is a powerful colonial relic, and it can be used to reinforce and perpetuate epistemic violence through unreflective or unconscious pedagogical and curriculum decisions. Here I draw on decolonial thinkers such as Santos, Mignolo, Maldonado-Torres, and Mbembe: I argue for a reckoning with the forces of coloniality, and advocate for epistemic justice and criticality, as part of the decolonizing project. In conclusion, working with ideas from Cornel West, I argue to reconcile paideia, as the ‘turning of the soul’, with the decolonizing African university. (shrink)
Well-Being in African Philosophy: Insights for a Global Ethics of Development, edited by Bolaji Bateye, Mahmoud Masaeli, Louise Müller, and Angela Roothaan, explores the notion of well-being in African and intercultural philosophy and its insights into global ethics of development. Drawing from longstanding debates on communitarianism in the context of personhood in African philosophy, as well as those in intercultural philosophy, the diverse contributors present manifold ways to philosophize about well-being from African contexts. Hailing from sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the (...) Middle East, they address questions of human well-being related to the major global challenges of our time, such as climate change and socio-economic, gender, and racial inequality in society, education, and organization. This collection, building on the work of African independence philosophers as well as oral traditions from a critical development studies perspective, offers fresh views on well-being, development, and morality, thus contributing to global ethics from an African vantage point. The first author of this book's introduction is Louise Müller. See: Müller, L and A. Roothaan (2023). ‘Introduction’. In: Well-Being in African Philosophy: Insights for a Global Ethics of Development. Maryland, USA, Lexington Books by Rowman and Littlefield, 1-11. (shrink)
Work on the conceptual amelioration of race concepts is usually negative or critical: it uncovers social features that contribute to racial hierarchies. Much less focus has been placed on how ameliorative accounts contribute to positive change. Using an account of race developed by Steve Biko during South African apartheid, I will argue that we can extract a novel account of positive amelioration in which racial categories can have normative or aspirational force, contributing to positive change.
The aim of the paper is to address the question: is the end of development possible? Post-development theorists declare the end of development. They insist that the problematisation of poverty by development theory is one of the key defects of development. The irony in this problematisation is that development practice as an offshoot of development theory does not actually alleviate poverty, particularly in colonial spaces. Rather, the agents of development have perpetuated underdevelopment at the fringes of the colonial metropolis. Given (...) this perpetuation of underdevelopment, post-development theorists argue, the idea of development has run its course and is no longer efficient; it should be put to an end. We assess this declaration of post-development theory from the perspective of Agbakoba’s intercultural philosophy of development. Using the philosophical methods of analysis and critique, we argue that Agbakoba’s intercultural proposal for a transition to development in Africa holds more prospects and is more feasible in addressing the concerns of post-development scholars. This is because, Agbakoba’s intercultural philosophy of development does not insist on the end of development, but on hybridity as the end of development. (shrink)
In recent years, the struggle to decolonize knowledge in academia has largely focused on addressing cognitive concerns such as curricular development matters (materials to be taught) and pedagogical strategies (how it is taught) to transform education in Africa. Hardly does the issue of non-cognitive concerns such as the right attitude required to guide the development of this reformed curricular and pedagogical strategies get explored. Indeed, what is lacking in our struggle to decolonise the curricular and pedagogical strategies is an interdisciplinary (...) perspective because the extant approaches rely largely on curriculum theories and practices that leave the role of allied disciplines such as social epistemology (specifically virtue epistemology), educational psychology and paremiology that deal largely with non-cognitive concerns utterly unexplored. However, it is widely argued that curriculum and pedagogy (material to be taught and students’ processing of the material) is insufficient to make any meaningful impact on educating the mind without the help of allied disciplines that will teach the right attitude. This chapter, therefore, underscores the importance of the study of non-cognitive factors in the curriculum development and transformation effort by connecting it with the resources in virtue epistemology, educational psychology and paremiology to emphasize the teaching of epistemic virtues in Akan proverbs to provide a comprehensive approach to the concerns of decolonising knowledge in Africa. (shrink)
In his provocative book, Against Decolonisation, Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò laments how a concept that once referred to escaping political and economic subjugation by powerful states has come to mean something far less precise. According to Táíwò, “because modernity is conflated with Westernism and with ‘whiteness’—and all three with colonialism—decolonisation (the negation of colonialism) has become a catch-all idea to tackle anything with any, even minor, association with the ‘West.’” Táíwò argues that such undisciplined uses of “decolonization” have a perverse effect, stymieing (...) attempts to understand, let alone improve, the situation of formerly colonized peoples. (shrink)
In postcolonial Africa, development has, generally, been premised on the philosophy that; it is a product of collective or collaborative approach. This implies that men, women and all other groups are part and parcel of this development process. Demographic data for most African countries show that the highest population percentage is attributed to women and children. It can therefore, be expected that development on the continent is by and large driven by the collective or collaborative effort of both sexes. However, (...) it is an established fact that women in Africa have had to endure enormous challenges in making their mark on development. For quite some time women in Africa have had to contend with being treated as minors who needed an adult male to represent them legally in making business transactions. Instances are abound to support this assertion. A gap, therefore, exists in the area of women’s rights in their quest to make a claim in the development of the continent. For the continent to tap into women’s potential to the fullest, an enabling environment has to be created. This actually brings the discussion to interrogate the question of how Africa can achieve its development when women are not given sufficient space to meaningfully participate. Yet it is well accepted that, women’s rights as human rights are a precursor for catalyzing and achieving development in all spheres of human endeavor (social, cultural, economic, and political spheres). This chapter will therefore explore what the term development means from women’s perspective. For instance, the term development for women in Africa may mean increased access to economic opportunities, resources and greater participation in decision making at all levels of society. This line of thinking actually comes with positive and negative effects to development in Africa which will be discussed as the chapter unfolds. Thereafter, the chapter interrogates whether women’s rights are recognized in practical terms (that is their rights towards development in Africa). To this extent it will be demonstrated that women in Africa have been and are engaged in the formal and informal sectors of the economy as entrepreneurs. Outstanding issues relating to women’s rights will be highlighted and used to discuss development or lack of it in Africa, maybe that’s why Africa is still underdeveloped. Thus, in this chapter it is argued that human rights including women’s rights are a vehicle towards development in Africa. The discussion on women’s rights and development will be linked to development ethics grounding it on one of the applied ethics theories referred to as consequentalism (mainly utilitarianism). Thus, in this chapter the research is constructed using a phenomenological qualitative research design. (shrink)
With the contemporary global resurgence of interest in Marxism, including its Marxist‑Leninist form(s), as a theoretical framework that can orient contemporary struggles against capitalism and its attendant depredations, it has become even more urgent to address some of the key criticisms that were leveled at Marx, Engels, and Lenin when they came to be treated as “dead dogs” toward the end of the twentieth century. One key criticism was the charge that alleged that Marxism, including its Marxist‑Leninist form(s), was and (...) is irredeemably Eurocentric in character. While there have been attempts to counter such charges by excavating and reframing Marx’s writings on the “non‑Western world,” this essay proposes to take another approach toward the charge of Eurocentrism in relation to Marxism (and Marxism‑Leninism in particular). This essay proposes to contribute to responses to the charge of Eurocentrism, by taking seriously the theoretical contributions of two African Marxists to the development of Marxism‑Leninism. This essay shows the specific ways in which two prominent East African Marxists, namely Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu (1924–1996) and Dani Wadada Nabudere (1932–2011) were both deeply influenced by Lenin and made important contributions to Marxism‑Leninism. (shrink)
Este artigo visa à mobilização de alguns aspectos da teoria mulherista africana e sua pertinência para a compreensão de experiências políticas de mulheres negras no Brasil. Para tanto, apresentar-se-ão importantes pressupostos que fundam o Mulherismo Africana, bem como algumas de suas filiações teórico-metodológicas; possíveis aproximações e distanciamentos em relação a outras teorias; e, por fim, algumas reflexões acerca das agências políticas femininas negras, especialmente em solo brasileiro.
Neste artigo eu revisito a minha tese de doutoramento em antropologia social: “Esclavage et Inventions Spirituelles Afro-Brésiliennes: Du Vudum Lebabimibome aux Contes Populaires”, onde tentamos demonstrar um dos impactos marcantes da escravização na história dos povos africanos e afrodescendentes, como este fato marcou a vida espiritual e intelectual das diasporas nas Américas, especialmente da brasileira. Mostramos como estas populações dialogaram entre si, apropriaram-se e transformaram os valores culturais dos povos que as subjugaram. Adaptando-se aos novos quadros-sociais souberam preservar suas memórias (...) espirituais criando assim intermediários sagrados como o do Seja Hundê, Candomblé jeje da Bahia, o vudum Lebabimibome, híbrido do Mensageiro das religiões ancestrais fon e iorubá, Exu-Legbá e de um macaco. Pela adoção desta nova manifestação religiosa, esses povos souberam estrategicamente reciclar ao mesmo tempo uma velha idéia construída pelos colonizadores europeus sobre os africanos e seus descendentes, associando-os a macacos, vendo-os como o elo entre o homen e o animal. Para escapar à escravidão grupos de africanos utilizaram mímicas como meio de comunicação com os estrangeiros. Pelas artimanhas dos macacos dos contos populares, a vida social dos escravizados e dos livres subalternos é também contada e preservada, tranformando-os em verdadeiros arquivos históricos. (shrink)
One of the central strengths of Salem's analysis of Nasserism is that she recognizes both its world-historical significance as a progressive nationalist movement, and its severe limitations. In the first section of this paper, I discuss Salem's notion of the "afterlives" of the Nasserist project by drawing attention to one of the most debilitating legacies of that project, namely the transformation of Egyptian politics into petty bourgeois politics. In the second section, I argue that while Salem does not explicitly draw (...) on Hegel's understanding of tragedy in her account of Nasserism, her analysis of Nasserism essentially amounts to depicting it as a Hegelian tragedy. By placing Salem's book in conversation with Hegel (and his philosophy of action), we can make explicit what I take to be one of the central claims made by Salem, namely that when passing judgment on past and present national liberation movements we should remember that innocence is "only non-action, like the mere being of a stone" [nur das Nichttun wie das Sein eines Steines] (Hegel 1986, 346). In the third section of this paper, I raise some critical points about Salem's characterization of the nationalism that was associated with the Nasserist project, as well as about the deployment of the concept of modernity in her analysis. I argue that her account of modernity in the book does not distinguish between the concept of modernity as it refers to a certain kind of normative philosophical discourse, and modernization theory qua theory of development. Finally, I draw on Salem's use of the concept of hegemony in order to pose a question regarding the political significance of the contemporary cultural hegemony of Islamist movements in Egypt. (shrink)
I argue that while recognition is important for Middle Eastern and North African philosophers in academia and society, recognition alone should not define the anti-colonial movement. BDS provides a better model of engagement because it constructs identities in order to bring about material changes in the academy and beyond. In the first part of the essay, I catalog how MENA thought traditions have been and continue to be suppressed within the academy and philosophy in particular. I then sketch one possible (...) path to better representation in philosophy by reading Fayez Sayegh’s analyses of Zionist colonialism and Palestinian non-being. In the second half of the essay, I argue that BDS is among the premier anti-colonial movements on American campuses today because it is a materialist anti-racist movement. Insofar as that movement is often shunned and prohibited, an anti-colonial society offers a membership in exile. (shrink)
This paper considers Achebe's No Longer at Ease in terms of its modest canonical fortunes and its peculiar formal construction. The paper argues that the novel's urban setting is produced through an emergent and local noir style, that this setting indexes the increasing centrality of the city in late colonial African life, and that it formally responds to the success of Achebe's rural Things Fall Apart and its problematic status as a paradigmatic African text. The paper suggests that No Longer (...) at Ease 's foreign and local horizons of interpretation, as symptoms of an ongoing imperial world-system, are internalized and symbolically resolved by the novel's instantiation of Lagos as chronotope. The paper's methodological intervention offers a hermeneutics of literary setting through which to elaborate the relationships between form, literary institutions, and material conditions in the postcolony. (shrink)
This essay explores the relationship between the social sciences and biology with respect to race. I begin by giving an overview of the disparate origins of racial classification and the population history of South Africa, noting the peculiarity of their roots. I move from there to sketch how knowledge from the social sciences can improve the quality of hypotheses about population history and, conversely, how the biological sciences can be informative to the social sciences. I end by discussing the relationship (...) between race, biology, and social scientific questions in the context of the land debate in South Africa. (shrink)
This article seeks to explore the temporal experience of decolonization/decoloniality through Furio Jesi's phenomenology of revolt, using the Puerto Rico summer protests of 2019 as a case study, to suggest that decolonization inhibits the functionality of the mythological machine because in the context of coloniality, revolt is the product of a biological exigency. In addition, I argue that decolonization should not be understood as an inevitable end point, or end goal, known a priori, but rather it is an anti-teleological process (...) and subjectivity that at once fuses the time of revolt and revolution; an impossible task in Jesi's framework. (shrink)
O artigo apresenta uma discussão acerca da percepção do imaginário da cultura africana e afro-brasileira e da construção da identidade étnico-racial no enredo escolar. A investigação foi realizada a fim de: 1- analisar os tipos de suportes e referenciais culturais que a escola fornece para a construção da identidade étnico-racial; 2- identificar as consequências do tipo de representação do negro construída e percebida na escola para o desenvolvimento da identidade étnico-racial dos alunos do Ensino Fundamental I. Para tanto, utilizou-se a (...) abordagem de pesquisa qualitativa, empregando o uso da modalidade pesquisa-participante e análise documental do Plano Municipal de Educação de Corrente-PI, município onde a pesquisa foi desenvolvida, Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais e a Base Nacional Comum Curricular. A participação direta ocorreu por meio da realização de uma oficina de leitura realizada em uma turma do 2º ano do ensino fundamental, contemplando a literatura fornecida pelo PNBE, que versa sobre a construção da identidade étnico-racial. Diante da problemática e da dificuldade de implementação das leis que regem o ensino da temática, a pesquisa torna-se relevante, pois, longe de se esgotar a uma conclusão final, este estudo reforça a necessidade do constante debate e a busca por efetivação de práticas educativas que formem cidadãos emancipados e forneçam subsídios para os negros se autoafirmarem e para a valorização da cultura de matriz africana. Assim como a necessidade da busca por adequação, implementação, monitoramento e avaliação constante das leis que regem o ensino de história e cultura africana e afro-brasileira. (shrink)
O objetivo desse texto é abordar as influências do mito na sociedade atual. Os desafios contemporâneos são inúmeros, no meio de toda essa cacofonia de informações e problemas a mente humana se vê desolada, sem rumo e fustigada por inúmeras patologias sociais. Porém existe um guia ancestral que pode vir em socorro, o mito. Apesar de já permeado na sociedade, o mito ainda é para muitos um sinônimo de mentira e de uma explicação provisória da realidade, no entanto ele é (...) o receptáculo da sabedoria de incontáveis gerações de seres humanos e ajudou a edificar grandiosas civilizações. A própria história do mito é a história da forma de pensar refletida nas nossas relações com o sobrenatural. Reconhecer a importância do mito é fundamental, suas múltiplas facetas fornecem um amplo campo de estudo e reflexão no qual é possível se debruçar para buscar entender como a sociedade e a mentalidade contemporânea foram estruturadas. Para isso, utilizando-se de leituras sobre o tema buscou-se a construção de um panorama sobre o conceito de mito, suas relações com o humano ao longo da história e suas influências hoje. (shrink)
This study aims to reveal the impact and response to the apartheid system in shaping the collective trauma of African society through symbolic representations of suffering and social performativity through political action in “Amnesty” short story by Nadine Gordimer. This study used the cultural trauma theory by Jeffrey Alexander with descriptive qualitative method. The results of this research found that social suffering is symbolically represented with a humanist and theocentric images. Even so, the two seemingly different treatments are essentially the (...) same suffering, disguised by social and cultural symbols. Then, as a response to this suffering, there was social performativy through the political actions of social agents carried out by the Labor Union. These actions occur after going through of socio-cultural processes such as gathering, organizing, rioting, speeches, demonstrations, and accommodating or representing pain as well as distributing social awareness to arrive at the point where the apartheid system is the cause of all forms of suffering they experience. (shrink)
This essay proposes that Marta Moreno Vega’s 2004 memoir, When the Spirits Dance Mambo, is a Latina feminist narrative that foregrounds African diaspora worldviews, thought, forms, and practices as resources for cultivating a path toward decoloniality. In this memoir, Abuela’s spiritual leadership and her introduction of the young Cotito into the practice of Espiritismo become a central prism through which Cotito innovatively apprehends the links between sacred and secular realms in the burgeoning mambo and salsa music scene of New York. (...) Even more importantly, her engagement with this diasporan worldview allows Cotito to critically apprehend prevailing gender norms and their limitations. This essay, therefore, argues that an Afro-Latina feminism emerges in this memoir from the practice of embodied spirituality that also has sonic, aesthetic, and social dimensions in everyday life. (shrink)
This essay has two aims. The first is to show that the editors of Lotus: Afro-Asian Writings and some of the writers who contributed to it (especially Ismail Ezzedine, Anar Rzayev, Tawfick Zeyad, Abdel Aziz El-Ahwani, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Alex La Guma, Adonis, Salah Dehni, Luis Bernardo Honwana, Ghassan Kanafany, and Tozaburo Ono) attempted to reconceive of nationalism in a way that would make international solidarity constitutive of the new national projects. It is argued that this is quite different from thinking (...) of the contributors to Lotus as abandoning nationalism in favor of a supranationalist project. The second aim is to show that at least some of the contributors to Lotus thought of themselves as being the vanguard of modernity, and not as the creators of “alternative modernities”. This essay shows that some of the aforementioned contributors to Lotus implicitly drew on standpoint epistemology in order to argue that, due to their struggles against colonialism, racial discrimination, etc., they had a privileged epistemic vantage point from which to criticize modernity in its European form for not being modern enough. (shrink)
Appealing to African values associated with ubuntu such as communion and reconciliation, elsewhere I have argued that they require compensating those who have been wronged in ways that are likely to improve their lives. In the context of land reform, I further contended that this principle probably entails not transferring unjustly acquired land en masse and immediately to dispossessed populations since doing so would foreseeably lead to such things as capital flight and food shortages, which would harm them and the (...) broader society. Oritsegbubemi Anthony Oyowe has recently argued against my claim that land reform should be enacted in a way expected to benefit victims of colonialism while not greatly burdening innocent third parties, instead supporting the return of land to its rightful owners regardless of how the manner in which it were done would affect people’s quality of life. Here I expound Oyowe’s argumentation and respond to it in defence of my initial position, appealing to examples from southern Africa to illustrate. (shrink)
This article argues that Amílcar Cabral adhered to some of the essential elements of the philosophical discourse of modernity. This commitment led Cabral to endorse an anti-essentialist, historicized conception of culture, and this in turn led him to conceive of cultural liberation in terms of cultural autonomy as opposed to the preservation of indigenous culture(s). Cabral’s attitude towards languages is employed as a case study in order to demonstrate how emphasis on Cabral’s commitment to the philosophical discourse of modernity can (...) help explain why he could denounce ‘colonialist culture’, while also defending the PAIGC’s (Partido Africano para a Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde / African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) use of Portuguese as an official language. This essay argues that Cabral makes a significant distinction between foreign influences and foreign domination in the realm of culture. Cabral conceived of the anti-colonial struggle in the realm of culture as a struggle against the latter rather than the former. (shrink)
Hans-Georg Gadamer has consistently advocated the idea of understanding as a form of “fusion of horizons” that implies the important and active role of each part of a cross-cultural encounter. This paper proposes philosophical hermeneutics as an alternative way of reading of postcolonial literature. E.M. Foster’s A Passage to India and Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, are postcolonial literary examples of diversity and otherness which are analyzed in the light of the hermeneutical concept of “fusion of horizons”. (...) These texts include a range of contexts and circumstances in which communication is challenged by the characters’ different cultural backgrounds, and understanding is only to be achieved through the process of “fusion” of horizons which helps rework prejudices in order to reach a clearer vision. In this context, the hermeneutical “fusion of horizons” represents an alternative to traditional ways of “knowing” and understanding. (shrink)
The epistemic Eurocentric boarders, expand towards the global south, they dehumanise and obliterate existing forms of thinking through colonialism and coloniality. In doing so, the global south has lost the sense of being self, Africans have become non-thinking objects. This has led to a series of ceaseless conflicts, poor leadership, and developmental crisis and provides fertile ground for Eurocentric superiority. This book Phenomenology of Decolonizing the University: Essays in the Contemporary Thoughts of Afrikology is a diagnosis of the problems of (...) the mind in the global south and provides solutions in the decolonisatiom of the mind such as humanising the university, the rewriting of African stories and facilitates an epistemic rebellion. (shrink)
A history of the French reception of African art, especially wooden masks and figures, in the first four decades of the twentieth century, and how that reception led to the creation of the broader aesthetic category Westerners now know as "primitive art.
This article seeks to articulate an interpretation of Fanon’s engagement with G.W.F. Hegel that does not either assume that Fanon rejects Hegel’s normative conclusions or that Fanon’s engagement is incidental to his larger philosophical projects. I argue that Fanon’s take on the master-slave dialectic allows us to better understand the normative claims that undergird Fanon’s calls for violence and revolution in Black Skin, The Wretched of the Earth, and A Dying Colonialism.
In this chapter I aim to provide a moral-philosophical grounding for much of Nelson Rolihlaha Mandela’s life. I spell out a principled interpretation of ubuntu that focuses on its moral import, and then apply it to salient facets of Mandela’s 50+ struggle years, contending that they exemplify it in many ways. Specifically, I first address Mandela’s decisions to fight apartheid in the 1940s, to use violence in response to it in the 1950s and ‘60s, and to refuse to renounce the (...) use of violence during the 1970s and ‘80s. Then I consider his attempts to negotiate with the apartheid regime in the mid to late 1980s and his support for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the 1990s. Along the way, I address some suggestions that elements of Mandela’s life failed to exhibit ubuntu, such as his alleged ‘neglect’ of his family and ‘betrayal’ of the black majority regarding economic justice. My conclusion is that one can make good sense of many of Mandela’s most important decisions, including the hard choices, during the fight against apartheid by appeal to a theoretical ethic of ubuntu. (shrink)
In this chapter I critically discuss the meta-ethical and normative ethical foundations of Nkrumah’s philosophy as discussed in Consciencism. With respect to meta-ethics, I address Nkrumah’s characteristically African attempt to ground ethics on metaphysics, and, specifically, his claim that a basic egalitarian moral principle follows from a materialist ontology. Granting Nkrumah that reality is ultimately physical and that the physical is unitary, I argue that nothing logically follows about whether human beings have an equal worth. However, on Nkrumah’s behalf I (...) sketch some additional premises that, if added, would make the inference from materialism to egalitarianism stronger. Regarding Nkrumah’s normative ethics, many of Nkrumah's passages appear to be contradictory, with some focusing on dignity as per the Kantian and others advocating welfarism à la the utilitarian. Here, I again work to strengthen Nkrumah’s overall perspective, by arguing that his remarks about how to treat others can be viewed as coherent once a certain conception of dignity, which I have defended elsewhere, is invoked. (shrink)
Over the last two decades, concepts of “disorder as political instrument in Africa,” “politics of belly,” and “re-traditionalization” have been used and reused in African studies by European and African scholars to describe the African social and political condition of the last decades. However, despite their canonization, one can question their efficiency and relevance to the analysis and understanding of what is really happening in postcolonial Africa. One might even wonder if these analytical concepts are not reawakening the imaginary of (...) the colonial anthropology which pathologized the “Dark Continent” in order to enclose it in its difference and represent it as the absolute alterity as Hegel did in his philosophical ethnography. (shrink)
The paper traces the parallel paths and mutual influences of these three activists in South Africa. The paper points out that Gandhi often took steps in building his movement that echoed some of the same steps that Dube had done just before him. Also, Abdurahman, who had become Gandhi's friend in 1909, advocated for involving women in nonviolent action, and advocated the use of general strike, shortly before Gandhi incorporated both methods in his movement.
The background to the present discussion is the prevalence of political and personal criticisms in philosophical discussions about Africa. As philosophers in South Africa—both white and black—continue to philosophise seriously about Africa, responses to their work sometimes take the form of political and personal criticisms of, if not attacks on, the philosopher exploring and defending considerations about the African continent. One of us (TM) has been the target of such critiques in light of his work. Our aim in this conversation (...) is not to diminish or deflect such critiques. On the contrary, our aim is to understand them, to make them as strong as possible, and to bring them into the cooler realm of philosophical discussion. (shrink)
Since the transition to a constitutional order, in what respects have cultures in higher education institutions in South Africa become Africanised, and, going forward, how should they be? In this chapter I provide an overview of the major different forms that Africanisation of institutional culture could take, and I then indicate the respects in which South African universities have or have not taken them on board over the past 20 years. In addition, I provide the first comprehensive critical discussion of (...) the major reasons that have been given for Africanising. Specifically, I distinguish between five rationales for Africanising institutional culture, namely, those appealing to relativism, democracy, redress, civilisation and identity, bring out their different implications for the forms that Africanisation should take, and argue that some of these rationales are philosophically much more promising than others. I conclude that the rationales of redress, civilisation and identity together make a compelling case for a moderate form of Africanising the institutional culture of public universities, one that would be much more robust than what has appeared so far on the democratic landscape in South Africa. (shrink)
In this article, I read Chester Himes' Blind Man With a Pistol as the work of an African- American writer who takes Harlem to be a colonial space, and who attempts to think through the ways that are available for him to contribute to some degree of liberation for its black residents. I suggest that there are strong parallels between Himes' position and that of African philosophers, and that Himes' self critique is instructive. I read this against Derrida's thoughts on (...) monolingualism and philosophy as a community of the question, asking what learning the language that is not one's own and what induction into the community of the question entail for the marginal, those who I describe as being from neither Athens nor Jerusalem. I conclude by offering my response to what I take to be our inescapable colonial lot: poetry and laughter. (shrink)
That African philosophy began with frustration and not with wonder as it is in Western tradition is a radical statement with far-reaching implications. Implications that are, as challenging as they are intellectually refreshing thus reinvigorating interest in the African discourse. As the discipline of African philosophy vitiated in the post debate disillusionment met with a new generation critical fire; methodic, technical and theoretic demands and issues unresolved in the old order surface. Old questions re-emerge with new and daunting toga while (...) new questions present fresh challenges for thought. With a carefully selected pool of emerging, original, African thinkers, the editor brought a creatively fascinating illumination upon the African episteme to herald the new era of African thought. The essays in this collection remark a sort of radical break from a long standing convention that requires serious critical reconstruction. Presenting a paradigm of creative individual philosophizing, the history, dating, criteria, logic and periodization imbroglio in African philosophy were resolved to give shape and direction to a hitherto formless discipline. Fundamental questions in ontology, epistemology, ethics and political thought gave birth to stunning metanarratives to inaugurate the conversational orientation in African philosophy. It provides a systematization that has been missing for almost a century and upon it defines an intellectually exciting future for the discipline. Whoever that wants to do African philosophy and understand it and make input must read this corpus. Carefully articulated and written, the essays in this collection constitute dependable research resources for students and researchers in all areas of African philosophy and studies. (shrink)
RESUMENDesde la teoría postcolonial se han cuestionado los modelos de historia de las ideas impuestos por el africanismo y el orientalismo. Diferentes teóricos africanos –Bachir Diagne, Mundimbe, Wiredu o Kete Asante– han formulado diversas soluciones para superar las dificultades. Este trabajo explora las principales dificultades y las propuestas para elaborar una historia de la Filosofía africana. -/- The postcolonial theory was questioning the patterns of History of Ideas imposed by Orientalism and Africanism. Different African theorists –Bachir Diagne, Mundimbe, Kete Asante (...) or Wiredu– developed various solutions to overcome the dificulties. This paper explores the principal challenges and proposals so as to build a History of African philosophy. (shrink)
It is axiomatic for most African scholars that the colonizers are responsible for the present problems facing the African continent. This is given much credence by Maduabuchi Dukor citing a barrage of issues which in summary pointed to the fact that the legacy of the colonizers to the African continent was ill willed to create chaos and therefore to make the African perpetually dependent on the colonizers. This paper accepts this fact but insists that the African as a human being (...) with free will and responsibility cannot continue to blame the colonizers when he has choice either to reject the colonial predetermined events or to accept them taking responsibility for his actions. (shrink)