1. Definition of the terms

a. Philosophy in the strict sense

Philosophy is the study of thoughts, reasons in a systematic way by recording, writing sources or is a systematic way – for example Germans or Greeks philosophies.

For that matter African philosophy cannot be considered in a strict way or it was not philosophy in a strict sense. When in 1945, Placide Tempels published “The Bantu Philosophy”, ed. Lovania, Elizabethville (Katanga, R.D. Congo), the dividing line between the philosophy of Africa and the African philosophy was going to be suppressed. It was around his work that a diversity of philosopher’s thoughts and opinions raised; discussing and promoting the will of African people to emancipate.

b. Philosophy in general sense

Philosophy is a general life style like culture, songs, wise sayings, religions, or oral tradition. Therefore African philosophy existed in general sense because it was present in the concepts of their daily life.

c. African philosophy debate

Refer. Oruka, H.O.(ed), Sage philosophy : Indigenous Thinkers, debates on African philosophy, acts press Nairobi 1991

Question : Is there an African Philosopher ? Yes or No

Many scholars have tried to ask questions as to whether, there is an African philosopher or not are what is referred to us as the African debate.

According to Richard A. Wrigth, the question is misleading ; because it leads us to experiment and answer yes or no, just because of the grammar of this question. Richard is cautioning us to try to find out whether there is a specific body that can be justified as African philosopher. We should identify the answer no or yes as inadequate for a philosopher for it does not leave arena for further investigation.

We have told that philosophers in Ionian city, like Pythagoras, Tales visited Egypt for their information. Ionian philosopher contacts with others people stimulated that thinking in whatever Ionian, Egyptian thinking no one has been able to stress the origin of such thinking. There is like we can say a Dark story behind the history like the dark continent it self or the darkness on beginning of the creation from which come light. A History of Ancient western Philosophy, Applet on Century Crofts, Inc, New York,

1945, P.S.

Owens said Ionian’s philosophers were influenced but did not say who influenced them. German philosopher Hegel constrained us to go back in history to see that Greeks received their foundation of knowledge from India, Africa, Syria and other parts of the world. Hegel immediately clamed that whatever Greeks received from

Africa, Asia or Syria ; they obliterated it and made it their own. Hegel did not talk about African philosophy – he wanted that Greek philosophy to originate from Germany.

Prof E. Possoz of Brussels, in his book Bantu Philosophy, has made the following important observation ; up to the present, Ethnographers have denied all abstract thought to tribal people (Africans). The civilised Christian people were exalted, the savage and primitive man was denigrated and defamed. Out of this concept the theory of colonisation was brought.

We have forgotten that the Body in the centre of the Christians believe that Jesus Christ went back in Egypt (Africa) where probably he was taught by wise men. As Cheik Anta Diop said, Christianity is an African concept, it reminds us of Osiris who died and raised to save humankind.

2. The different trends in African philosophy

a. Ethno-philosophy

Ethno means particular group, tribe of people. Ethnology is a group of scientific studies of tribes or cultures. Ethno-philosophy refers basically to the study of group of people and their thoughts. Anthropologists, sociologists and philosophers all study ethnic groups of people in different fields.

In the writing of the tree groups of science one could find myths, folk-wisdom. And in such a writing one can see the wisdom of a particular group of people and one can see philosophy of a people in general sense.

Scholars who make a collection to discover and analyse these works are called ethno-philosophers. Their task is to enable description of a world outlook or thought system of a particular African community. Such scholars are Prof. Binti or Tempels as opposed to seeing Africa philosophy as a body of argued thoughts of a group of people, as in western philosophy. African philosophy is a communal thought and this gives it emotional appeal as one of

its unique features.

Ethno-philosophy gets its material from Anthologists, Sociologists and Philosophers. And the sources are myth, folk-tales, folk- wisdom.

Myths are stories having some meaning, Folk-tales are traditional beliefs example : spirits, ancestors ; Folk-wisdom or wise sayings mainly from the elders.

Knowledge is facts not yet tested but wisdom is facts which have been tested on experience. The similarities between African traditional philosophy and western philosophy are that both philosophies deal with reasoning. Western philosophy deals with logical aspects while African philosophy is an experience.

b. The Sage Philosophy

The Sage Philosophy rejects the holistic remedy of African philosophy instead of seeking African philosophy by Folk-tales, folk-wisdom. This looks for Africab philosophy among the people

– thoughts that are considered to be wise; it rejects western

approaches and the ethno approach . The aim here is to show literally that it is not a necessary condition for philosophical reflection and exposition and that in Africa there are critical, independent thinkers who guide their thought and judgments by the power of reason and inborn insight rather than by the authority of communal consensus. This is to prove that in Africa there are men capable of critical and dialectical thinking without influence.

c. professional philosophy

In professional philosophy we have the work of many trained African philosophers who in general reject other trends of African philosophy. They take a general view of philosophy and argue that philosophy must have the same meaning in all cultures. The variation could be in emphasis that can be conditioned by culture or the background of the philosopher. According to this trend, African philosophy can only be by African philosophers.

3. The African’s philosophy of universe

The African people observe the world around them, experience it and reflect on experiences. They observe things like the sky, stars, moon, sun etc. and also the earth in which they live and different

manifestations of lives like river, lakes, mountain that make sense to them.

Alas I am talking about what we are losing, our conciliation with nature about what could be a benefit for the world around us in this new individualistic civilization where everything outside is considered to be a menace. At the end African will not have anything to present to the global world.

Africans have seen that limitation of Human in life and realised that life is short and the process of life at different stages too like circumcision, marriage, and death rituals…

All this experience calls upon a deep reflection about the course

about life’s facts in the Universe. There are numerous African ideas about the Universe that cannot be named at all. These views are presented in the form of myths, tales, symbols, legends and proverbs.

Africans think that the world is a created reality. Secondly, they believe the whole has a beginning somewhere and has been created by one great spirit (the Great Cosmic), man is the centre of the universe and above all other creatures.

There are two types of universe; the invisible and the visible. The invisible stands beyond the material world, represented as the sky or the heaven and the visible is the earth, material things alterable by times. The invisible is considered as the dwelling of Gods represented as the sun, the moon… and the visible as the home of creature and things like rock, mountains, men, animal…there is a link between the two universe and man is the centre of the two realities, from that appears the law of “causes and effects.”

The universe as something eternal that it is endless both in space

and time. The symbol of the universe is a circle or a snake. These forms depict the universe as a permanent reality. The Creator sustains the two parts. There is order and power in the universe, which is important in African world view so long as it is not disturbed. It can bring disasters; that to say that we are responsible for what could happen to us; what happens today is the response of actions we did before known in the esoteric as the “Karma law.”

In our tradition, the order is subdivided in many levels. The law of nature, which is operating in the entire universe. It gives universe security and certainty and any change in the world leads to chaos. There is the moral order which operates among people. This moral order was given by God and angels or ancestors are in charge of the respect and application of those laws so that people live in Harmony and peace. The aims of those moral laws are to safeguard the life of the individual and the community by knowing what is good or evil, right and wrong, truth and false, beautiful and ugly, and people’s rights. Each society is able to formulate its values because there is moral order in the society. These values deal with relationships among people and between God, spirits, and men’s relationships with nature.

In the African worldview, the universe is created by God. We consider even the law of the universe to be controlled by God, either directly or indirectly through his agents. Those agents are spirits and some people on earth. The relationships between Gods and his agents on earth have to be maintained. If that balance is not kept, it could lead to punishment and disasters. In African tradition, the balance can be kept through different taboos about foods, burial, shelter…Taboos were the meaning of keeping religious order between God and men.

There is a mystical power in the universe that could be found in the African medicines, practises of sorcery, magic, witchcrafts…there one will find mystical power that can be used for good and bad purposes. There are also Curses, which is used by elders or parents to find the culprits who have caused suffering to people by performing certain rituals. Among the Baluba, Lusanzu a murderer. Divination is another form of power that is usually used

for good luck, prediction, and conversation with spirit.

The universe is illustrated by stories, myths; man is situated at the centre of the universe. And consequently, Africans always look for the usefulness of the universe to man and how man can benefit the universe. For this reason, man has divided things of the world into various groups for different purposes.

– physical needs: animals for feeding , building, medicine, fire, clothing, furniture

– religious needs: animals for sacrifices, rituals; Plants for worship and rituals.

Every existence in material form is possessed by some spirit and this it to prevent men from misuse of whatever man finds in the universe; for example, if you kill an animal unnecessarily, the spirit of the animal will haunt you down. Man therefore is the centre of the universe and he has to make proper use of things basically for physical needs, mystical needs and supernatural needs. Man is the beneficiary of the universe; when he disturbs the order within, he becomes the only victim of it. When he used it well he grows in his relationship with God, spirits and his fellow Humans, hence living in harmony in the universe

4. African cosmogony

The term cosmogony is used to designate the oral or written response on a pre-scientific and philosophical basis. Cosmogonists describe the form of myths, the creative action and primordial events to which the world holds its existence. In cosmogony, the creator (God) is represented as man (anthropomorphic form) and regarded as supernatural being. This creator carries out the act of creation by making use of other beings coming from himself, either through his creative will or by divine affiliation. He creates the universe either from nothing or from pre-existent-matter. He is the supreme artist.

According to the Egyptians, the universe was not created ex-nihilo on a particular day, but some matter existed before. This uncreated

matter had no beginning or end. It was chaotic, matter without form. This chaotic matter was like non-being. Non-being does not mean nothingness (emptiness) but it is organised matter. This primordial matter is divine. Later, when philosophical thoughts developed in Egypt and even so in Greece, divinity became gradually replaced by principles or sources. Then primordial matter was believed to contain the law of its transformation. This is the principal of evolution of matter through the ages. This principal was also considered to be divine. In Egypt the word they use on this principal is “Kheper” it is the law of beginning, law of change, acting on matter through time actualising the archetypes. Beings were created in potency long before they were created in act.

Considering the movement of evolution, according to the African cosmogony, the eternal created matter passes from stages to another until it becomes conscious of itself. In this way the first consciousness springs up from “nous” in Egyptian thoughts. “Nous” in Greek word meaning God. In Egyptians’concept, it is Demiurge “Ra” who brings creation to completion.

Matter (eternal) —- God-Ra —- creature

The Egyptian cosmogony can be considered as materialistic because they granted that an eternal uncreated matter existed before the act of creation and evolution.

Chaotic matter + Ra = consciousness of things

It says Ra is composed of creation through word and at once the being comse into existence. Then there is a relationship between spirits and things that is an idealistic and spiritual worldview, no separation between spiritual and material. The real is necessary rational, since it is spirit and created by word. Hence the spirit can be external natures. “Ra” in Egypt or Imana in the Great lakes Region is the first God, the first demiurge of history who created through word. All the other gods of history came after him.

We cannot escape Egyptians when discussing African history, like

Greek for western history. In Egyptian cosmogony, there is a historical link between the words of Ra, Ka, and all the universal reason present everywhere in the cosmos and everything.

“Ra” the first God, “Ka” rationality, spirit who is immortal principal and unites with the divine after death. Ka is given to what is created and when the creature dies, the Ka separates and goes back to the divinities.

In the work of Egyptian cosmogony, Ra created 4 divine couples:

– Geb and Nout unite with Ra to create earth and skies

– Shou and tetnout unite with Ra to creates air and space

– Osiris and Isis unite Ra who also unites with Ra to create human beings, Adam and Eve

– Seth and nethings unite with Ra to create Evil.

We can conclude that, with the conception of Ra, an idealistic or Spiritual element is introduced in Egyptian cosmogony with the appearance of the demiurge Ka. Later this idealistic influenced the Greek philosopher or became the basis of Greek idealism. Ra is the first God; he has neither father nor mother, and he is auto-genius, not engendered.

In black African cosmogony, the idea of “vital force” dominates thought. However, we can hear that the vital force can be found in person or spirits. This vital force is found in persons, Queens, spirits Kings, Chiefs, mysterious persons that continue the perpetuation of God work.

The Queen or King is believed to be continuing the work of creation through rituals, directives and rules of society. People believe in him and his rules because they see God in him, the King has to be strong since the vital force he has.

He might also be successful in his task; a King wounded or sick had to leave the throne until he was cured. This was a sign of weakness. Through the death of such Kings, people say, he has hidden his hand here as a symbol and sign of power. For instance,

among the Alur in the North-east of Congo, the death of the King cannot be announced until the successor is found. The word of a king is taken seriously because it full of vital force. The King has power even over life and death. He can for example curse one to death or bless one to continue to live among the Baluba or Bahema people in Congo.

a. African concept of time

When something is done, time does not matter except as the execution of the function or duty. Time has very little influence on African view. Time is only a composition of events which have either occurred or are occurring now or which occur in the near future. What has not taken place or what is not likely not going to take place soon falls in the category of “Non-time”? What are sure to occur are whatever falls within the rhythm of natural phenomena and this falls within the category of “Potential time.” On the other hand, the “Actual time” is what is present and what is past. Africans look behind unlike western concept concentrates on the future. For example, a white man could ask you what your plans for the future. But an African will ask you what has already happened, who has died, funeral rites…for Africans, time moves backward.

Time reckoning is only for concrete, specific purposes in connection with events. It is nomathematical due to the fact that it is a composition of events. The relations with the event are considered as the relation to one another. In western society, time is utilised, sold and bought, but in our traditional life, time has to be created and produced, men do not have to be slave to it. In Buisha (East D.R.Congo) society, they counted time in term of rainy and dry seasons, cockcrows, birds, movement of stars and winds.

Bangala people in the centre of Africa have words to explain the future and the present; the words are Sika-oyo and Kala in Lingala, meaning present and past. Sika-oyo (Sikoyo) has the sense of immediacy, nearness or the now period of immediate concern for people since that is what concerns their presents existence here and

now. Sika-oyo is also understood as a period in which people are conscious of their existence and within which they project themselves both into the short future and mainly in the past. For this reason the older the person is, the longer in in the Sika-oyo period. The community has its Siko-oyo period, which is greater that of the individual.

Kala overlaps the period of Sika-oyo, has its past before and events classified which events are actualised in the Sika-oyo dimension before moving in the Kala-wana. It has periods of achievement where everything finds its end point.

Every ethnical African group has it history, which moves backwards from Sika-oyo to Kala. There is no concept of the world moving forward towards the end of the world. With the events of death, the person continues to live in the Sika-oyo period but only in memory of relatives; he is dead physically but alive in memories of those who new him or her. The main entrance into Kala is reached when a person has survived from death or completely dead without any ashes of remembrance in the memory of anybody. This brings to mind the religious importance of marriage and it ensures one’s existence even after death. One who has no children simply dies and is forgotten, but he who has survived continues to live in this survivors; the survivors and the deceased continue to relate.

To remove African from their ancestral land is what is often not accepted, people who leave their land voluntarily because of different necessities often visit their ancestral land for important rituals like birth, burial and other funeral ceremonies or marriage.

b. The Supreme Being according to Africans

The concept of being is strengthened by the belief in of a vital force which makes up the essence of beings. The Supreme Being is considered God the creator, this concept of a Supreme Being exists in all tribes in Africa. God is a part of the African View. That God of African is the same God that Christianity teaches about. He is known by different names. Often Africans identify the Supreme

Being with his work. The Supreme Being has the following attributes:

– Omniscient: God knows all things, but in many African cultures, African religion is silent about knowledge of God, although there is no evidence pointing out that the Knowledge of God is limited.

– Omnipresent: God is present everywhere and we cannot escape

his presence because is everywhere.

– Omnipotent: God is almighty, He is able to accomplish all things, and men can need his help in their daily life. Nothing is impossible for him and if He does not answer the request of man, it does not mean that he is unable but for his will.

– Transcendent: God is beyond man’s being; he is highly exalted

above human’s creation; he is without limitation; he is mysterious to human.

– Immanent: people can also approach him in prayers when the

need arises. We are able to reach him.

– Everlasting: no beginning or end with no relation with time.

– Spirit: God has no body; he is invisible for our physical eyes.

– God is kind, merciful and good. This is manifested in the gift of rain, animals, children, victory, long life, and healing.

– God is holiness: in Africa. It is seen as sacredness; people during

worship or other rituals imitate the holiness of God, even in gestures or dances organised in a systematic way.

– God is unique: no one can equal God; no one can be compared to him. His ways are different from human’s ways.

The Supreme Being is seen as:

– Creator: he created the world

– Protector: people believe that God protects his creation and guides them.

– Ruler: he continues to rule his creation, he is the supreme ruler

over the earth and he is known as the Supreme King, the Judge, Lord.

– Others functions like the giver, the healer come to complete his

Greatness.

The African people pray during ceremonies for different stages in a person’s life like death, puberty, death, marriage, birth, and harvest limitation. At the shrines, people offer sacrifices and prayers for different reasons resumed by wish for example for the restoration of health, prayer for the entrance in a new house, success or failure before and war, prayer before the journey. Most prayers are accomplished with a sacrifice. They are formal when those prayers are led by a religious leader or an elder of the clan and informal when led by the head of the family.

c. Notion of Divinities

People believe in various forms of spirits that form together with the Supreme Being to make the spiritual world. Other divinities are living dead and various spirits considered as monsters.

Most African society believed that the divinities do exist; they are part of the created universe, and the Supreme Being in form of spirit creates them. They are either created as such or they were once human beings who later on became deified. Some of the spirits exist as national heroes who have became elevated and became divinised.

We can explore the followings example:

Ashanti in the South of Ghana belong to the group of “Akan.” They have a pantheon of divinities known as “Abosom” According to them, the Supreme Being created these divinities known as “Abosom” to accomplish its will by punishing, and serves as is spokesmen in this world.

The Yoruba of Nigeria; they have numerous divinities known as

“Orisa.” They are believed to have the largest number of divinities. The Yoruba divinities are associated with natural phenomena and objects. They are worshiped daily in Temples built by they devotes.

Ewe, living in Togo, have divinities known as “Mawu-lisa” Mawu- lisa are twins. Mawu represented by moon incarnates the feminine side and Lisa, the male represented by the Sun.

Karimojong in Uganda, they have “Ngipian”divinity which is the

oversee of society.

There are numberless divinities in each tribe of Africa that reflect the spirituality of its people.

In some societies, the divinities carry out responsibilities for the

Supreme Being through the ancestors to theirs gods.

Supreme Being ———Divinities———-ancestors———–People

For example:

The Dinka in south Sudan: Nhialo—Yeeth—Atyep—People Banyarwanda in Rwanda: Himana—Mizimu—Abachekuru— Abaturage

Bangala in R.D.Congo: Nzambe—Molimo—Bakoko—Bato

d. The Spirits

It takes about five generations for one to be completely forgotten by descendants. Then to be remembered as an ancestor one must be a parent (kinship) and also exemplary person. One must have a King, chief and a hero. There must be a blood relationship for one to be an ancestor.

Other spirits are just there in the world of spirits without any

significant role. These can be the spirits of those young who died young without getting married. Such spirits don’t become ancestors, but certain of them are turned into Ghosts especially of those persons who used to be criminals, evil, unhappy, buried in a foreign land. They are believed to wander in rivers and mountains and people cause them harm.

The spirits that were not human before are found in the environment and are associated with the force of nature. Among the Luo in Uganda, there is a river spirits known as Jokkulo. Women do not go to fetch water there late in evening because that is the time the river spirit comes out. The spirit could causes miscarriage for pregnant woman, sickness or sterility.

It believed that some spirits wandering could cause harm to people. Then there are various means like traditional medicines used to protect the people from bad spirits. Some means of protection are:

– Amulets

– Blessing of homes by the witch doctors

– Planting of a particular tree

– Small cuts on bodies

– Smearing of the body with special medicinal oil

e. The notion of Human

In Africa particularly there are many stories according to tribes and races:

– Human created from the skies (Lugbara; North east of R.D.Congo): the first man was from the skies, created by God. Lowered down to inhabit the earth. This thought is common among the people of the Nile Valley, Tanzania, Kenya. In Tanzania they say after been created in the skies, man was lowered down by spider thread. This tribe respect spider very much.

– Human created from the ground or earth: most Africa myths speak of God as a potter who moulded man on earth. However there are many versions according to regions. The Shilhuk of Sudan say that god used clay, which was of different colours to create men.

– Human being’s creation of from water: others say human beings

were created in water of marshes after being brought out of water and put on dry land. This myth is found from Akamba of Kenya and Nuer of Sudan.

– Human being’s creation from a tree: some African people think that the first human fell off from the tree; this myth is found among Herero from Namibia and some tribes off R.D.Congo like the Mangbetu. The tree from which he fell off is called the tree of life. Among the Nuer, they consider that the first human fell of a Toumarine tree.

– Humans created in a calabash: among the Azande in R.D.Congo they believe that God created the first human being and placed him

a vessel but later the vessel burst open. Because of that the Shagge call “God who bursts out humans.”

– Human’s origin from a hole: Akamba think that the first human comes out from a hole. From the hole, God brought man to live on the earth.

The basis of all these stories and others all over Africa is that humans originated from a supreme being “God.” Man and woman both come from God either direct or indirectly. And they come in the completion of God’s creation.

5. Inter-exchanges between Africans and western thinkers

Ionian thinkers visited Egypt. In Egyptian Cosmogony, the concept of being and matter of the origin of universe was studied before Plato and Aristotle. The being is composed of :

– The Zed or Khet, and this decomposed after death, soul and body compose being.

– The Ba that is the corporate soul or making to be recognised.

– Every being has a shadow.

– Every being has got the Ka that is immortal principle, which after death is united to divinity.

In the Bantu philosophy (tempels) there is a concept of :

– Mu-ntu which is existent with intelligence (Human) ;

– Kintu which exist without intelligence e.g. rock a or things.

– Han-tu localising existence e.g. spaces or place

– Ku-untu model of existence (manner of being)

There were no ethnologists, anthropologists or historians specifically for Africa. Those who studied Africa, did it in the favour of their own people. Historians produce books like Europe to learn about Africa, portraying Africa as a dark continent and so nothing good could come from it. Prof. Groves, the author of the

« Planting Christianity in Africa » says it is a paradox that this vast continent while sharing in the earliest mysteries of Human race it was not yet opened up until the 19th century. Quoted in Black Men of Life, African heritage series, New York, 1970

For various reasons the western scholars did not credit the African people with simple fact like cultural tradition or forms of government. But they sought always to under look the Africans as not being human and hence to enslave them and exploit them.

Historians linked the North of the Sahara to European civilisation and the south of the Sahara as not, so that the South of the Sahara may remain a land of colonisation, exploitation and slavery. Studies have been taken and fossils found in the South of Africa and proofs have been advanced that those were African skeletons, but some western Anthropologists have rejected this discovery.

While western philosophy is academic, abstract and often dehumanised; the African philosophy is concrete and humanized. Western philosophy seems to separate thought from life. Or it tends to pretend that human beings are separated from their thoughts.

The case of individualism in western philosophy has overshadowed the peoples existence. Kierkegaard says Abstract speculation is the Cartesian and Hegelian manner has led to unspeakable impoverishment of life. Human existence, while particles of the universal idea, is not itself an idea or a purely ideal existence. Therefore abstract thought is an idea without a thinker. Concrete thought is from a thought that is related to a thinker. Because this abstract thought is associated with people like Descartes or Hegel; the African philosophy was not considered because it was concrete associated with life. Kant had argued that the Original Human species was white, appearing as dark brown only a result of oppressive climatic conditions, whilst Hegel wrote similarly that the characteristics that the feature of the Negroes is that their consciousness has not yet reached an awareness of any substantial objectivity. In Africa, life was not a manifestation of dialectical reason but, as Hegel put it, a succession of contingent

happenings and surprises.

Since Hegel’s exclusion of Africans history, anthropologists and others have stressed that because the reasoning capacity of all humans is the same, it is sociological rather than the epistemological differences in societies that are important.

6. Political nationalistic philosophy or contemporary African philosophy

A moderns time class of thaught, when some African leaders came up with their own thoughts in governing the people: for example Ujaama of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Harambe of Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Black-consciousness of Steve Biko (South Africa), African Humanism of Kaunda ( Zambia), Negritude of Leopold Sedar Senghor (Senegal), Nyaho of Harap Moi (Kenya), authenticity of Mobutu Seseko kuku Gbendu wa Zabanga ( R.Democratic of Congo).

All their philosophy is built on unity or communality. Political nationalistic philosophy was born during the political struggle of independence. It is a philosophy brought by African leaders. They tried to bring a new Africa political theory based on traditional Africa socialism and famillyhood. They argued that a true meaning of freedom must be accompanied by a true mental liberation and a return, whenever possible and desirable, to a genuine and authentic traditional African Humanism.

1. Nyerere Julius of Tanzania and Ujaama

Ujama is a Swahili word meaning Familyhood, Unity, and

Togetherness. According to him the word was special reasons:

– it is African word a and so emphasised the Africans of the policies we intended to follow.

– Its literal meaning is familyhood so that it brings to the minds of

our own and so that it brings to the minds of our own people the idea of mutual investment in the family.

Cfr: Nyerere , J.K, freedom and socialism Uhuru na Ujaame, Oxford University press, Dar-es-Slaam.1968.

2. Harambe of Jomo Kenyatta (Kamua)

Harambe is a political philosophy born in the 1950s by Jomo Kenyatta. who was a freedom fighter in Kenya. Kenyatta found a philosophy that called for the collective effort in the struggle of life. Harambe literally means pulling together, struggling together. If we successfully meet the challenges of life, we need to pull out together (Harambe). The community helps the individuals ensure health and the individuals also help in supporting the community in running these institutions. Harambe thought teaches unity, co- operation development and nationalism, which has, worked very much in Kenya.

3. Nyayo philosophy of Daniel Arap Moi

Soon after taking over from the Late President Kenyatta in 1978, Moi introduced a new philosophy, which he called Nyayo philosophy. Nyayo is a short name but in full that is Futa-Nyayo in Swahili, meaning “follow my footsteps.” Follow in the spirit of our ancestors; in that way he managed to bring African people together for development and welfare of the people.

4. Black consciousness philosophy of Steve Biko

Steve Biko wrote a book “Black Consciousness and the Question for a True Humanity” article edited by Mothabi in Mokgeth, Essays On Black Theology, Johannesburg,1972. Page 21.

The African philosophy known as Black consciousness was born in 1969 in South Africa. It started within Christian Communities and as a movement of South African students Organisation known as S.A.S.O. The purpose of this movement was the liberation of people in South Africa then under the Apartheid System. It was so great that Africans were thinking that it was an evil to be black. So

Black Consciousness was to wake up Africans to fight for their rights as Africans and Human beings.

In brief, Black Consciousness philosophy is an attitude of mind and a new way of life. It was a rebirth of a new black subject from the field of rejection to be fully human in life. It rejects the value system of the whites that devalues dehumanised Africans as useless. It liberates Africans from Negro-phobia; it liberate whites from false ideas of about Africans and enlightens the Africans to fight for their equal rights and freedom.

The distinctive feature in the thoughts of all the contemporary African philosophers is that they developed a way of thinking charactised by protestation in quest of freedom and authentic identity as the Late president Mobutu introduced in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) the philosophy of authenticity, which was another hidden side of the Negritude of A.Cesaire which called for the return to the source of African culture and moral. But after others, like Senegalese poet and philosopher the late President Leopold Sedar Senghor, it sustains conventional western thoughts. Senghor takes negritude into the political domain following the Second World War, with his famous saying, “Emotion is black as much as Reason is Greek.” For Senghor, the African is characterised by the emotional faculty, devaluated in racist eyes but for him, another way of knowing the essence of things. For example water purifies, not washes, or fire destroys, not heat, the sun blesses us every morning, the heaven fertilizes the earth through rain.

7. Conclusion: Ubuntu in dialogue with humanity

Ubuntu is an African philosophy of humanism and co-existence. Ubuntu through umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu translates as: “To be human is to affirm one’s humanity by recognising the humanity of others in its infinite variety of content and form” or “A human being is a human being through (the otherness of) other human beings” (Van der Merwe, 1996:1— italics mine)

For Africans and humans of all colors, and cultures, Ubuntu

dictates that, if we were to be human, we need to recognize the originality in the diversity of our fellow human beings. That is, we need to acknowledge the diversity of languages, histories, values and customs, all of which constitute Africa and the world.

The Ubuntu philosophy emphasis on respect for particularity is vital for the survival of contemporary Africa. It contradicts the Cartesian conception of individuality in terms of which the individual or self can be conceived without thereby necessarily conceiving the other. The Cartesian individual exists prior to, or separately and independently from the rest of the community or society. The rest of society is nothing but an extra added to a pre- existent and self-sufficient being.

Au contrair, Ubuntu defines the individual in terms of his/her relationship with others. According to this definition, individuals only exist in their relationships with others, and as these relationships change, so do the characters of the individuals. It represents a way of life based upon self-respect and respect for others as human beings, the latter becoming the source for finding one’s own humanity. Ubuntu therefore implies knowledge and understanding of the people within a specific society. Originating in the African extended family, Ubuntu not only calls for respect for the mothers and fathers within society, but also for the elders, for they have the wisdom that accrues with age. Respect for siblings is extended to include an entire peer group, who should be treated like brothers and sisters. Kindness must be shown to strangers, for Ubuntu grants dignity to all people, a dignity born of mutual respect among human beings.

Ubuntu is especially appealed to when it comes to the settlement of seemingly unsolvable conflicts and insurmountable contradictions, especially in Africa and why not in the Middle East. ubuntu can be effective, in the first place because it is appreciated as an African thing, but in the second place and especially because, despite its globally-derived format, it introduces non-global, particularistic. Ubuntu is in favor of:

* Effectively managing differences

* Dialogue

* Reconstruction

* restoration

* Forgiveness

* reconciliation

* Empowers people

* Positive Peace

The Ubuntu ethic of caring and sharing is not uniquely African. After all, the values which Ubuntu seeks to promote, can also be traced in various Euro-Americo-asian philosophies. That shows its universal and humanistic values that all nations and people could rely on in building Peace.

 

 

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©Raïs Neza Boneza

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