African philosophy, Nigeria, philosophy, Western philosophy

OVERHAULING AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY: CHALLENGES AND PANACEAS

African philosophy is gradually gaining recognition as a discipline both within its milieu and the universal arena. But then, as this takes place, certain pressing challenges still awaits it because she is yet to put in her best in the universal philosophical discourse. These challenges portray African philosophy as moving back wards and in serious need of an external aid as scholars like Makinde seem to assume. In certain parts of the world, the question of the existence of African philosophy is still in doubt whereas in some areas, African philosophy is merely exotic and devoid of critical reasoning. This has put African scholars to reflect deeply on the often asked question, can the Black Man think? To an extent, I share the view that Africans and scholars alike are to be blamed for this. We are not at our best in our bid to promote African philosophy. While I deeply acknowledge the sincere efforts of some scholars in some quarters, I still believe that we need to do more. As the day goes by, little efforts are being made by scholars to articulate African knowledge in a systematic way so as to make our philosophy challenging and to promote lasting intellectual curiosity beyond mere world views. What is usually the case in African philosophy today is the mere recitation of world views that do not resonate in the universal. What is more? We have in our time a gradual decrease in the reading culture. Few tend to cultivate the habit of deep critical reading that goes beyond what we see in newspapers and novel.  It does seem that with the excitement generated by the debate about the existence or non existence of African philosophy, we seem to be marking time to use the words of Prof Innocent Asouzu.  At this time, one is not mistaken by asking, where are our trained philosophers who study in various prestigious universities in and around the globe? How much do the give to African philosophy after their degrees? Is the bank of African philosophy enriched enough by their wisdom? I come back again to the need for system building because, it is one of the greatest trials facing African philosophy. If our  scholars can actually begin to systematize their thoughts as they philosophize from their African Ambient, then we can say that we are on our way to progress. To forestall retrogression and lack of creativity in African philosophy, we must change strategy. Here we must study not only Western philosophies and their methodologies but also works and systems of African philosophers. The study of regional philosophy must be promoted in our institutions of learning. We can’t loose our own. (Nkemefuna). All forms of sheepish and slavish attachments to Western philosophical thoughts and paradigms must be discouraged as this can kill creativity in African philosophy. Africans must take pride in studying and internalizing the ideas of African philosophers as part of the wealth of our intellectual heritage. It is often surprising how one can search for the works of fellow Africans in African libraries, universities and not easily find them as we find that of our European counterparts. On the other hand, for the work of total and comprehensive solution to be achieved, African philosophy must engage in critical reflections that will solve the pressing human problem both in and around African philosophy. This is quite a daunting task but without it, all our arguments will be meaningless. It is by aiding in solving both the existential and perennial problems of man in a systematic way that the voice of African philosophy can truly resonate beyond ethnocentric and exotic world views that it is usually styled with. Indeed now is the finest moment for African philosophy to stop marking  time and move to the next level. This is our chance…         Have a blissful week! 

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