Journal of African Cultural Studies 32 (2):231-250 (2020)

Zeyad El Nabolsy
Cornell University
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.
Keywords Amílcar Cabral  African Philosophy  Modernity  Philosophy of Culture  Philosophy of History  Political Philosophy
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