Michael Oluwagbemi: Does African Philosophy Exist?

At the heart of most African Philosophy is the concept of communalism which is not socialism, communism, capitalism nor the other “isms” of the West. It is high time we market this unique brand of economic system: if capitalism legalized lobbying bribery of legislators in America, communalism should legalize gift-giving bribery in Nigeria. Is it not high time that educated “modernized” Africans espoused useful concepts of their philosophy that espouse philanthropy, morality in public office and provide answers to many problems of modern African societies including crisis and corruption? Indeed, most of African philosophies even though not written are encoded in wise sayings, proverbs which in the words of our fathers are the yam with which words are eaten. Take for instance the wise words of the people to the east of the Nigeria: that “if a child washes his hands, he shall eat with kings”. This word epitomizes the fundamental philosophy of the Igbo people to the east of the Niger. Indeed, it shows the republican and egalitarian nature of that society that believes in absolute meritocracy: if the same saying were postulated in the Yoruba land it will be utter rubbish. In the traditional Yoruba land, royalty then age and then merit wealth and accomplishment is the order of precedence. I can cite thousands and thousands of such proverbs that epitomizes the beauty of the traditionalist approach to African thoughts.


via Michael Oluwagbemi: Does African Philosophy Exist?.

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