Struggles for Self-liberation in African Philosophy
Keywords:Self-liberation, self-determination, injustice, intellectual freedom, struggles in African philosophy
Since its inception as an academic discipline, African philosophy has positioned itself at the centre of the struggle for justice and self-determination, and by that jettisoning—and rightly so—the otherwise sterile pursuit of the abstract. There is an inherent emancipatory urge that is, therefore, historical and that has conferred to African philosophy its identity as a uniquely context-oriented tradition. Even as it seeks to satisfy the quest for knowledge, African philosophy proceeds on the realisation that philosophy cannot hide behind the abstract quest for knowledge at the expense of its practical and ethical commitments. This paper analyses these key issues within the ongoing struggle for liberation in African philosophy. At the same time, attention is also drawn to a problem that potentially threatens this realisation. Unless we choose to ignore history, we should never forget that philosophy, as a practice, has a history of lending itself easily to exclusionary and repressive tendencies—even as the expectation is that it should be the paragon of intellectual freedom. To recognise this fact is an important step in the struggle for intellectual liberation in African philosophy.
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