Research Article

Africanising the philosophy curriculum through teaching African culture modules: An African Renaissance act

DOI: 10.1080/02580136.2016.1242207
Author(s): Simphiwe SesantiInstitute for African Renaissance Studies, South Africa


Often, when the concept “African culture” arises in philosophical discourses among Africans, debates tend to be characterised by a dichotomous line between those who insist on the existence of “one African culture” and those rejecting the existence of such, insisting rather on the plurality and heterogeneity of “African cultures”. In this debate the interlocutors tend to speak past one another, thus missing the opportunity to appreciate the richness that could benefit both sides of the divide. Taking cognisance of the fact that central to the African Renaissance project is the revival of African culture, this article argues that pivotal to the teaching of African philosophy should be the teaching of modules on what constitutes African culture/s. This exercise, it is argued, will reveal that traditional African culture encouraged the practice of freedom of expression, giving space to divergent views as a healthy exercise for progress in traditional African societies. Teaching African culture will reveal that being “African” is not merely a geographical entity, but also about values that connect Africans across ethnicities, thus giving them a firm basis for speaking about what is “African” beyond what is “ethnic”. This, by extension, would be an enabling factor to argue about what is “African” about philosophy.

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