What is the Origin Of African Philosophy?

African Philosophy is peculiar. Western philosophy is said to have started from the sense of wonder. The early inquirers were puzzled by the way there was order in the world. As you can see by yourself even today; you see a mountain and a valley. One can see water bodies such as rivers, lakes, oceans which are well organized; this order of course lead them in the belief of a super creator whom today we call God. This belief in a creator came many years later, before that the inquirers were interested in origin of things in this world as we see them.


The origin of different staff in the world was explained differently and by different inquirers who later on came to be known as philosophers. The early ones came from Miletus and those guys were really interested in the original staffs of which all things on the face of the world were made up of. Some thinkers said all things came from water, others said they all have their origin in fire, others said it was air, some other philosophers said it was soil, and the list goes on and on.


This subject can be well explained in the history of western philosophy specifically in the course of classic/ ancient Greek Philosophy. As for now let us go back to our subject matter that is African philosophy. All people in the world have issues of great importance to them; thinks that can shape their community and the future of their people. That being the case then, Africans have the task of preparing for their future.


While western philosophy emerged from the sense of wonder, African Philosophy, on the other hand, started from the sense of frustration. The African thinkers emerged from the sufferings that the people of the continent experienced. The people of this continent had experienced slavery long before this generation. During that era the major focus on business was on human beings where people were traded like commodities.


Africans sold as goods – African philosophy

Africans were sold as goods are sold in a supermarket. That business dehumanized humanity. When slave lords realized that the business was no longer profitable and that they needed no more slaves then they abolished it. They abolished it because they needed raw materials from the areas where they took slaves from. That was the beginning of colonialism.


Africans were colonized – African philosophy

Colonialism was a state or relationship between an independent country dominating another country in the sense that they (colonizers) took control of a country as if it were their own province. During colonialism colonizers took away the sovereignty of an invaded country and commanded it what to do as they pleased and found to be good for them and specifically for their economies.

African philosophy
African philosophy

The African people lost of their freedom; cultures, tradition, economy, their dignity, and everything… It was out of such circumstances that the African thinkers developed African philosophy. Africans can not do away with the past but can move from misery to success. It is useless to keep on crying all day all night. When a problem occurs accept it and then move on. Nobody can change the past but the future one can shape it by today’s activities.


African Renaissance – African philosophy

When African countries were involved in the world wars that is when the eyes and minds of African people; soldiers and thinkers were opened. They started questioning as to why they participated in the wars that were fought far away from their motherlands. Moreover, they were astonished to see that their European counterparts also died.


There was a superstition among Africans that white men didn’t die. When they saw them dies during war then they realized that their time for liberation was near. It was in such a situation of frustration that African philosophy was born. Do you have another version of the birth of African philosophy? Please do share it here…

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