Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 86



To the Eriman People's Libaation Front and m
al1hose who, sacdcingfe andiimb, have fought
forand are still fightingfor the complete emancipa-
t i a of the A t i m conruicnt. It is in light of their
cnduranceand saai6cc that o u r i n t e l l d effom
have any scnse or muning.
Tbis book S aiso dcdicatcd m dic kind munory
of my fathet Smquebuhan Gebragi and to my
two som, Nesim-Neme= and Awate-Hayct-to
thc nagic past and the hopehil Lture.
Published in 1994 by
29 Wcst 35 S m
New York, NY 10001

Published in Great Britain by

11 New Fcmr h e
London EC4P 4EE

Copyright Q 1994 by Tsenay Serequeberhan

Printed in the United States of America on acid free papcr.

AU rights reserved. No part of this book may be printcd or nproduced or

utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or 0th- mcans, now
known or hereafter invented, induding photocopying and recordin& or in
any infomation storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Pnblication Data
Serequeberhan, Tsenay, 1952-
The hermeneutics of African philosophy :horizon and discourse I
Tsenay Serequeberhan.
p. an.
Indudes bibliographical referenccs and index.
lSBN 0415-90801-9 ISBN 0415-90802-7 (pbk.)
1. Philosophy, African. 2. Hermeneutics. 1. Title.
BS315.H36S47 1994
199'.&dc20 93-40156
British Library Cataloguing infomation also available.

Introduction: Philoso~hyin the Present Contutt of Africa
1. Philosophy and Post-colonial Ariui:
Historicity and Thought
2. African Philosophy: Horizon and Diourse
3. Colonialism and the Colonued: Violence and
4. The Libuation Sauggie: Existente and Historicity
Conclusion: Africa in the Present Context of Philosophy

For unmding discussions and enduring conaibutions not only to

thii study but to my intcllcnial development as a whole, 1m u l d like
to express my gratitude M my wife and friend Nuhad Jamal. Without
her assistance this bwk might never have seen the light of day.
For her unfailingencouragement, confidente, and a f e of moral
example and suppon, my gratitudeto my rnother Assegedctch Aradom.
1 also would like to acknowledge my friend Michael Ghebreab for
long discussionscentered on questions of African freedom and on our
beloved homeland, Eriuea.
Thii bwk, or more accurately,most of the t h i i g a n d rescarch that
~ 0 n S t i ~its
t cbasic
~ mre, was the main diunk of my Ph.D. disscrtation
defended at Boston College in 1988. 1 thurfore wish to express my
thanks to my mentor, Professor Oliva B h c h e m and to my two other
readers, Professor William J. Richardson, S. J., and Profcssar Paul
Breines. 1am most grateful for the confidente and patience they showed
Vihiie ir is not possible to thank everyone who has, in one way or
another, assisted me in the writing of this book, 1 would iike to tbank
Thomas McCarthy, Roben Gooding-WiKi, Luaus Outlaw, An-
thony Appiah, James Bohmann, and Reinhard Sander for helping in
many and different ways.
... independencc haa bem turneti inm a cage,
with people looking at us from oumide the bars,
sometimes with chantablc compassion, sometimes
with g l a and delight.

-Pamce Lumumba
From Lumumba's last letter to his wife,
Decanbu 1960
Philoso~hyin the Present Context
of Africa

For the whole universe is interconnected; if something is

distorted, the other things connected with it suffer.
-Wolda Heywaf
Sixteenth-century Abyssinian philosopher

The title: The Hmeneutics of Afncan Philacophy: Horizon and

Discourde, undustood in i a most liarai and abstract sense, points m
h e interpretative character of contemporary African philosophy. In
and of itself thk snys vuy little, insofar as phiiosophy is @sofa& a
specicdculation of thc inhcrently interpretativecharacterof hurnan
existence as such. Thus in rhis introduaion, as in the smdy as a whole,
1 wl progressively conaetizc and theoretically enunciate the sense
and charactez of thii dry and absrract title.
As is well hown the a n n "hermcneutia" derives from the name
Henncs, the messcngcr-interpreter god of ancient Hellru. Just as
Hermes rcndered and translatcd the messagcs of the gods, so too
philosophicai hermeneuticsengages the sense of our morrality interior
to the mia and possibilities of this mortality iaelf. As Gilgamesh o
old discovered to his dismay, it is within diese finite l i a that the
possibilities of human tife are arpbred and appropriated.' Thus, from
within the mia o this livcd h i t d e , philosophical hermeneutia
explores the possibilitiesof mortal existence. In so doing it appropnatcs
the anaent rmth of myth long lost to philosophy since rhe days of
Wirhin &e d i ~ o u n eof contemporuy philwpby, chis is the basic
direction and saisibility othought opened up by Martin Hcidegger's
qeingand Time (1927) and further explored andpropounded by Hans-
Georg Gadamer's Tmth and Method (1960)-the two most important
figures and documents of contemporary philosophical bermeneuhcs. St- from the mid- and late 19409, provoked by Father Plaadc
To organically appropriate and indigenize this existentially aware Temples's book B a w Phikophy-pubshed in Frcnch in 1945 and
philosophic thesis from within the concrete historicity of post-colonial in English in 1959-then has bcen taik of African philosophy. As
Africa is the basic task of this study. Henry Odua Omka has observed, discussionof and on African phiios-
The axiomatic point of departure for this effort is the view, first ophy in the 1960s was dominad by the work of thii Belgian priest
articulated by Heidegger and further developed by Gadamer, that and his "pious' African dkiples. The present prolonged and ongoing
philosophy-as, strictly speaking, with al1 things human-is an inher- debate in and on rhe status, nanue, and indeed thc very possibiity of
ently interpretative undertaking grounded in the mortal existentiality African phiiosophy dates back to the early 1970s, when challcnges to
of human existence. In this context horizon is the lived back-ground thc cthnographicand documentary hegcmony of Temples, John Mbiti,
against which the discourse of philosophy is fore-grounded. Philosophy and o t h m began to be registered.'
always presupposes and grounds its reflexive and reflective diicounein The pmcnce or abxnce of philosophy in some *honotfic" sense
and on the actuality of a lived historico-cultural and political milieu-a has been taken thus far by both sides of the debate as a subst?ntiation
specific horizon. Thus, the "hermeneutics of African phiiosophy" refers or defaultof the humaniq of African uristence. In all of this, "philoso-
to the interpretative and rdexive presuppositional reflections
grounded ui and on the actuality of our post-colonial present. .
ohv" . is taatly and surreptitiody (i.e., without even the bendit of an
argummt) p~vilcgcdas &e tm measurc and standard of the humanity
To say something about the "hermeneutics of African philosophy," of the humanar sub. Alona with this covert privileging of philosophy
one at least has to explore how this discursive practice establishes itself one also nds an obscure &d mther cniPitic d&h of contendiag
within the horizon of post-colonial Africa. In this study, my efforts political agendas-agendas which, iuthecmon, haw not been, evm
are mainly directed at doing precisely this: showing how, in progres- to thunselves and in al1 thcir consequcnccs, expiiatly declared or cvm
sively more concreteterms, African philosophy-even when its protag- articuiated.
onists are not aware of it-is inherently, and cannot but be, a herme- As Luaus Outlaw asnitely observes, this overt and rather protra~ted
neutic undertaking. In so doing, 1will contributemy own interpretative "scemingly" didplinary-meuiodologicaldisputeis grounded on much
elucidations of and to this discourse. more substantive and rather cryptic political and philosophic issues.
Properly speaking, philosophy has the peculiar charactcristic of al- These iasues originatein the interna1seU-implosionof Eumuntric and
ways being implicated in its own conceptions and formulations. logounrric phiosophic thougbt, which is constitutive of and interior
Whether it knows it or not, philosophy, like the proverbial spider, to European modernity, and on the onslaught of an African philosophic
always spins the thread of its web out of itself. It forgets this at its discourse aimed at redecming thc humanity of the human in colonized
own peril, at the risk of being snared by iu own mesh. Thus, as Drew
Hyland reminds us, "every philosophic speech ... is in pan about
African cxismice? In a nutshell, this is the existential and thcmatic
acntaUrp of African philosophic thought m the iast quattet of the
the nature of philosophy."3 FuUy cognizant of and starting from this m t i e t h ceaniry.
inescapable and krtile hermeneutic insight, what 1 hope to do is to To explore Ni situatedness in the concrete is the expliat hcrmaieu-
explore the lived hermeneuticity or interpretativecharacter of African tic task of this snidy. in accomplishingthis, we will sce that phiiosophy,
phiiosophy in terms of the dishna concems of our post-colonial African or otherwise, is a situad critica1 and systematicinterpretative
present. exploration of our lived historico-nild acntality. in this rcgard it
By way of an introduction then, let me begin by looking at the is a radically presuppositiod and rcfluive ~ ~ ~ U I SinCout . case,
thematic actualiy of contemporary African philosophic discourse: a ir is a criticd and systematk dkction on thc lived antuxdcnts of
disnwive actuality that originates in Europuui dfotts to bener and contemporiry Ahcan exinencc and thought.
more properly colonize Africa, both physically and spiritually. This hirrhumon is m it should be, sin- the questionllig of iti
own groundedness and originative horizon is a concern proper m and African philosophy has unfolded thw far. Ncediesr m say, this "either/
constitutive of philosophic discourse in its very nature. As Heidegger or" is mt &ed or insaibed Ui the heavcns but, thus far, this is how
puts it: the debate has dmloped.
Fmm the ou- it is important to note that the innocuous simpliaty
Reflection [.e., philasophyl is the courage m d e the mnh of our %
of this hesitation h& a bundle of matious and enigmatic political
own presuppositions and thc realm of our own goals inm the things
that most desuve to be caiied in q~cstion.~ and philosophic wnms. This indecision vaclates amund the cen-
tral-theomic and practical-question reguding the basic charactcr
of collremporaryAfneaa philosophicwork: 1s it to be an ethnographic
Tbat Heidegger hiinselfdne of the pillars of twmtieth-ccntury Euro-
pean thought-failed to actualize the veraaty of the above statement and antiquarian documentation of ethaic African world-views, or a
systemicphilosophic cxploration of thc pmblans and con- deriv-
in hiis own actions and political involvunents does not in any way
ing om thc history and concrete actuality of p-t-day Afnca?
detran from the uuth of the statement itself. Rather, it saya somtthing
quite odious of the political pet3OM of Heidegger and of the political
In the wo& of Kwasi Wdu,we k v 6 on rhc one hand, a 'semi-
anrhropologifal paraphrase of African uaditionnl belids."' In stark
and historico-cultural horizon of the Europe within and out of which
distinaionto thia antiqunipnism,whicb Paun Hountondji has derog-
he philosoph'ized. atody labeleti 'Ethnophilosophy," we have, on the other hand, the
The above cannot be emphasized enough for our purposea, since views of: Windu, Hountondji, Pcter Bodunrin, and Heruy Odera
we are not in any way implicated or comected 6 t h Heidegger's Euro-
Oruka-the s e l f - d e s i schoolof hfessional Phiiofophy-whidi,
centric and Ger-manic political horizon and, in fact, are vehemently
in so many words, ppse a Use and b h d dichotomy between a suppos-
opposed to it by the very nature of our hermeneutic projen. Thus, al1
edly 'mic univmalistic" philosophy and the "dturaUy partinilaris-
we need to do is to note this central differenm and appropriate out tic" indigenous thought of traditional Africa.'
of the concrete actuaiity of our African situatedness "the courage to In thii view, Africa has thw far "innocently" been either prephilo-
make the truth of our own presuppositions and the realm of our own
sophical or nonphilosophifal. T h m authors who consciously label
goals into the things that most deserve m be cded in question." This
their p i t i o n the "school of Professianal Philosophy," with the cxap-
then is the self-assigned hermeneunc task of this study.
tion of Oruka, see themselves as among the earliest pioncers of Afncan
In this introduction 1 wiU preliminaray explore this project and in philosophic thoughr. in this rather gratuitously self-flattering pespec-
so doing map out the way that is here bnng outiined within the tive, African phiilosophy is menly a "geographic designationn9whidi,
larger framework of contemporary African philosophic thought. pmperly spePl<iag, with and is mdusively wnsatuted by the
Thus 1will articulate, not only a theoretic position but also and neces- work of modem Afncans in philosophy or ethnography. Whm the
sariiy the political and practical implications of this position. For latter ir the case, in Hountondji's view, it i s u d
political "neutrality" in philosophy, as in most 0th- thiigs, is at best self-deludim'~hilosophy" t h a t - 9 be writtcn only encased between a
a "harmless" naivet6, and at worst a pernicious subterfuge for hidden
SetOidoubii &otation
agendas. It is in contradisrinctionm the enigmaof this duplicity, as Theophilus
Okerc points out, that &e hermaieutical orientation in contemporary
African philosophy constitutesitsclf." This paspeetive counters itself
both to the particdanstieann'quarimrrmi of Elhnophilosophy and m
the absrract miwersalism of Professional Philosophy. It does so in an
The texts presently constituting African phiiosophy have a rather effort to think thmugh the hismriaty of postsolonial "indepcndent"
equivoca1 orientation. These texts focus either on documenting the Africa. In doing so, furthknre, it is Mly cognizant of the faa that
world-views (Le., tbe "iived" but non-articulated philosophies) of etb- its own hermeneutic effom are parr of the saugBle m q a n d and
nic Africans or on philosophically engaging African problems and ~ m ~ nclovn m a t e our prrswitly unhililed and paradoxical "inde-
concerns. The theoretic hesitation unbodied in this equivocation has pea'du~ee.~
been the point of contention around which the debate in cantemporary Thus its rdation to thepast-tradition-is both rwermt and critical.
implicared in the "prejudice that views Afnca as primitive" by univer-
It is reverent in that it is radically open and susceptible to that which salizing, as ontologicallynormative, the specific metaphysical singuiar-
is preserved in its own cultural heritage. On theother hand, it is u i t i d ity of ~ u r o ~ e amodunity.
of tradition to the extent that the cultural elements that have been Regarding both of these seemingiy "conuary" and equally unpalat-
presewed in it have ossiiied and are a concrete hiiderance to the able positions Marcien Towa witcs:
requirements of contemporary existence. l i s fruitful tension between
esteem and criticism, when properly cultivated, constitutes the critical The durgec to w h i A b n p h ' i p h y is currmtly ex+ is that
cutting edge of African philosophical hermeneutics. of a reai blockagc. The ethnophilosophus saive to ocdudc and
In chis respect, Kwame Gyekye's distinction and canecption of "ua- .
replace ir with lhQr eonecnled aedo. [Onthc other hand] . .scien-
tias [.e., s a a d s t i d y auented philoropbcnl and e p ~ L @ ~
ditional African philosophy" and "modem [or, more amirately, con-
temporq] African philosophyn-in which the lamer is candtuted dismiss it ovedy in thc name of scimce or the commenrnry on
by its critical relation to the former, in terms and in the context of saence."
contemporary problems and concerns-is v n y insightful." Por 1116-
mately, as Gyekye correctly points out, "philosophy is essentialiy a He furthcr notes that:
cultural phenomenon; it is part of the c d t ~ u aexpecience
l and tradition
of a people."'3 For us contemporary Africans, this "cuitural cxperi- nie cutmt of diought rcprcsented by P. Hounmnd')i Dr., Pri,fes-
ence" is marked and, in fundamental ways saiaured by our expenence sional Philmphy] daea not ocdude %can thought, it openly ex-
of and conkontation with colonialism and neomlonialism. dudes it, m the name of sciatificity, as not in the least pcctinmr.m
Thus, as Okere has dwnonstrated. in terms of the -- ~historidtv
-- - ~ ~ . ~
~ u r o ~ e thought
an and the contempo& discourse of African philoso- Bryond thi double 'blockage" by ocdusion (Ethnophilosophy) and
phy, the hermeneutics of African philosophy or African philosophical exclusion (ProfessionalPhilosophy)contemporary African philosophy
hermeneuucs sees itself, on the leve1 of theory, as the critical-reamive is c o n d y oriented toward thinking the problems and concems rhat
appropriation and continuation of Aff~canemanapatory hopes and atise fmm the lived actuality of post-colonial 'independent" Africa.
aspirations." As Frantz Fanon pointedly obsewed in 1955 in the con- 'ius, &e s i ~ a t e dhistoriaty out of which it is b e i g secretcd is the
text of hii native Martinique, the concrete political process of anti- essential object of its own retlexive and reflective conanis. As Towa
cotonial confrontation and political emancipation is a "metaphysical correaly points out, phiiosophy is:
e~~erience."'~ It is the lived historicity of this 'metaphysical experi-
'Ic thought ofthecsamtiol,thc methodical andcriticalexamination
ence" that the hermeneutics of contemporary African philosophy of that whidi, in the theomicnl ordu ot in the practica1 ordet,
makes the object of its reflexive discourse. Thii is also what Amilcar hns.or should bave for humaniy a supremc importancc. Sudi is
Cabra1 refers to as the "return to the s~urce"'~ in and out of the lived philosophy in its abstraa and enurely general essmce?'
context of the African liberation struggle. From what has been said
thus far then, the locus of philosophic retlection and reflexivity is the The geaerality of this essence is speaficd by the differentiated pamm-
concrete actuality and the phenomenal hiioricity of lived existence. larity-culturai, hiitorical, and political-within which a philosophic
In contrast, what is unacceptahle in both of the previous perspectives diseourse is anidated. Philosophic discourse secures its wncems by
is that, in a strange sort of way, the seemingly contrary positions systematically anidating the issues and probing the questions of its
of Ethnophilosophy and Professional Phiiosophy implicitly share the lived horizon. It is this situatedness itself which serves as its horizon,
"prejudice that views Africa as primitive and with a purely mythical in and on which it is foregrounded as a discoutse on its own levd of
mentality."" On the one hand, Ethnophiiosophy does so by inadver- theoretic absuaction.
tently valorizing essentialist stereotypical notions of Africa and Afri- Phiiosophicretlection is thus a grasping and ucploring of grounding
cans. The best example of this is Leopold Sedar Senghor's oft quoted con- aimed at the enhnnment, perpetuation, or critique of its
rernark-a standard of Ethnophilosophy-that "reason is hellenic and own lived aauality. In othct words, and quite precisely:
emotion is negro.'" Professional Philosophy, on the other hand, is
one has to see that any particular phmphy is dways elaborated of theorctic reflection. As Aim %aire has insightfully obsavcd,
by philosophtrswho are not themsdvca abskactionq but are bcings "more and more the old ngrimde is tuming into a corp~c."~'But the
of flesh and booes who bclong to a wntincnt, m a particular cuihue,
and to a s p d c perod ... for a particular philosophcr to really new "ngrimden is yet to be bom and in this historical intcrlude,
African humanity is anxious and does not nd i d f at home. It is this
philosophize is necessarily m examine in a aitical and methodic
manncr the wsential problems of his miiieu and of his puiod. He felt anwicty, thii absence, this gap betwcen actPurUty and Lfeafiiy which
will thus elaborate a philosophy that is in an cxpliat or impliat today calls forth and motivates the struggle, at various levels and in
relation with his times and his miiieu.= diffaing fonns, against -1onialism, and simultaneously, out of
the ucigenaes of this struggle, provokes the reflections of African
For us-contemporary Africans-the "timewand the 'milieu" within philosophical hcmieneutics.
which thc discourse of African phiisophy is elaborated i8 the actuaty In terma of al1 that ha#been aaid thus far, the diallenge of our post-
of our post-colonial enigmatic present. To think the his~ricityand colonial situation ia grounded in the failed actuaiity of the p m m k of
presence of this situatednessrneans m concretely query the conaadic- African indepaidence. 1t ir, in the words of Kwame Anthony Appiah,
tions of our post-colonial and "independcnt" Africa, M canstimte, the manifenation of "a fundamentalm o l t against the endlaa miscry
out of our "essential pmblems," the central and guiding questions of of the lnsr t h i y y e a ~ . "Thirty
~ years ago, in the section of Tbe
African philosophic thought. Wrctchcd of tbc Eurth entided "The Pitfalls of National Conscious-
In our speciic political and historic context and beyond the ratha ness," Fanon had acfuntely anticipad the proper analysis for thae
sterile dispute berween Ethnophilosophy and its sacntisticaitics, it is decades of acisrcntid misay and political impotaia in ke ~ P D M T ,
important to note that the concerns of contemporaty African philoso- out of the acigcnaes of thc struggle against Portuguese wlonialism,
phy are focused on the possibiity of overcomingthe misery and politi- Cabnl, twenty-six years ago, &ed catcgoridy that:
cal impomice of our present post-colonial situation. The veraaty of
this conviction is grounded on the fact that for Afnca and Africans We do not & exploimtim or arploimr with the colour of
today the question against which life is staked is that of the political, m ' s skina; wc do not want any urploitntion in our aunmes, not
economic, and dturaluristential survival of the wntinent. For ulti- even by black peapleU
mately, in the rneasured words of Antonio Gramsa:
The remedy that both of &ese thinkers suggcst-as appropriate thai
The philosophy of an historical epoch [Le., in our use, post-aolonid as now-out of the speciiaty of their respective con- is that, in
Africa] is . .. nothing othcr than the "history' of that epoch itaclf. Fanon's words, we 'm over a new leaf" and 'work out new wn-
.. .Hiscory and philosophy are in this s w u indivisibk:
~ they form ceptsn" and in so d o i g invent the concrete actuality of our own
a bloc.* existente. in t h i i g the his~riatyout of which it is bciig semeted,
African philosophy is conaetcly engaged in doing prcQsely this-
Hence, in its impotent acmality, post-colonial Africa poses the chal- working out "new amapts."
lenge of self-transformationand &e concrete acnializationof its prcs- in rccognizing the simatednas of our own Lived historicity as the
ent chimerical "indcpendencc." On the leve1 of thought this pus into proper objccc of rdlection for African philosophic thought, we have
question the inherited and taken for g a n d self-con&tion of African actively inheritcd and made our o-within the context of the pm-
"Liberationn as the guise and mask of nnxolonialism. It does so, ent-the u of y a unrealid grounding concuns of thc diswune of
furthermore, in view of the suffering millions that have been victimized the African libcration struggle. To this cxtcnt and speciifauy, the
by the lived actuality as opposed to the hoped for ideality of an "inde- hermeneutics of contemponry African philosophy or African p h k -
pendent" Africa. sophical hermeneutics is a critical appropriation of the emancipamry
It is in tbis pninful gap berween ideality and actuaiity that the heme- possibiliti~of thL discoune. Let me d u d e thia inaoduction, then,
neutics of African philoaophy nds its source and the locus of im by very briefly o u t l i g the thematic structwe and expositionallayout
concerns. This is also the gap it hopes to surmount on its own lcvel of thii study as a whole.
into service, for this purpose, insights derived and culled from the
European philosophic tradition.
The reader should thus not be surprised to find, throughout thii
Chapter 1examines the groundingrelation that philosophic thought study, positive refcrences and appropriationq as well as critical reiec-
has with the actuaLty out of which it is artdated. This question is tions of the Eumpean philosophic tradition. For ultimately, as Come1
explored in terms of the theorcric and lived rcality out of which the West corredy points out, this obsessive (Afrocenmc?)effort to bracket
retlections of African philosophic thought are produced. Europe at al1 costs is itself &e product of ouc encounter with and
Chapter 2, by way of further substantiating this point, explores the interiority to E ~ r o ~ To e ? be
~ a Westernized African in today's post-
thematic connection of the discourse of the M c a n liberation struggle colonial Africa means ultimately to be markedhranded-in one way
to the contemporary discussions in &can philoaophy. The chapter or another-by the histoical urperience of Europcan colonialism. We
presenta a critical discussion and a critique of M c a n philosophy should not uy m 'hide" from this a ptrvasive element of our modtrn
which is focused on its thematic nka to the failings and thmretic Afcican historiaty. Rathet., our efforts m surmount ir must begin by
shonwmings of the discourse of the A f n w liberation strugglc facing up to and confronting this enigmatic actuality. Thii &en is the
Thus these first two chapters critidy explore the mediated and hermeneutic task of thii study, for ultimately the antidote is always
mediating refiexive role of African philosophy in and out of the con- locami in the poisonl
of its own lived situatedness. In this rcgard they are an attcstation to ln all of this, followingFanon and Cabral, 1take my methodologieal
the lived hermeneuticity of the contemporary discourse of African cue from the "various attitudes that &e Negro [African] adopts in
philosophy. contact with whitc civiliati~n."~ Thus, in sum, the phaiomenality
Chapter 3 examines the dialectic of colonialist violence and the of African cxistaice rnarkal by colonialism and bludgeod by neoco-
emancipatory counter-violena it evokes and the vital rale played by loniaiism is the central fofus of my hermcneutical cxplorations. It is
this process in terminating not only the physical but the cultural- not, howevcr, the lived psychopathology of &e enwunvrs but the
existential presence of the colonizer in the colonized. The central con- emancipamry possibiliti~inscribed in them that is my main concem.
cem of this chapter is to show that violence has an indispensable and The conclusion will thus prrtent, as its titie niggesu, the obverse
saucturing function in both the pmcess of casting the colonizer and of this introducton. It wl bridly state, in vi- of the terrain o
the colonized and in the contrary effort aimed at molding the humanity connmporary philoaophy, the destru~~rllig possibdities of A.w
of the human in the colonized and, no les, in the colonlzcr. philosophic thought. For to effectively be a hcxmncutic suppl-t
Chapter 4 examines the process by which the AfRcan liberation w the cnduring effom against colonialiim and neocolonialism is, si-
struggle, both against colonialism and neocolonialism, is a world- multaneously, to engage in the systematicenlargemuirand wmpbund-
disdosing phenomenon that offers the possibility of conaetely re- ing of the fissures and contradictions inmior to the Eumccntric and
daiming and establishing the histoncity of African cxiwnce in the univeraalistic traction of Westem mctaphysi~s.'~After all, when a
contemporary world. It is an ucploration of the c o n M process by is said and done, this is the lived heritage which bumessed and g m
which the Bemg (i.e., the freedom) of African existcna (ir., its historie- &cal and mctaphysical endorsement to the ucpansionist advenhus
ity) can be redaimed and established annv out of the cxigenaes of of a colonialit Europe.
the present.
Thus these last two chapters are humeneutic elucidations of the
possibility of African freedom that take theu point of departure from
positive aspects of the African liberation suqgle. Specifically, hese
chapters are grounded on the seminal and hermeneutically insighthil
works of Frantz Fanon and A m i l a Cabrd. The effort of &ese last
two chapters is not merely to restate ideas, but to tbhk further the
concems incamated in these ideas by aitically and edectically pressing
Philosophy and Post-colonial Africa
Historicity and Thought

For one thing, nothing could be done without friends and

loyal companions, and such men were not easy to find '

ready at hand, since our city wos no longer administered

according to the standards and pmctices of our fothers.
Leier VII, 325d

For us, contemporary Afrieans, thc condition that has resultedfrom

the colonial obliteration of the "standards and practices of our fa-
&m,' to use Plato's words, and the consequent neocolonial inermess
of our contemporary situation is the nccessary point of departure
for any warthwhile or meaningful phiiosophic engagmient. Thus, the
closing yean othe twentieth ccntury are bound to be for Afnca and
Afncans a time of prolongcd, decp rctlection and self-examination.
Having achieved political 'indcpcndence," for the most pan, we now
need to take stock of the victorica, defcpts, and compromises that
constinitc and infom our enigmatic p-t
The conccrn with ihii fclt and lived situation seems to be the ccntral
focus of postalonial African literature and inteuecnial work as a
whole. In faa, contemporary dnielopmentsin African philoaophy are
themselves interior to this i n t e l l d productivity and ocaipy a place
of fundpmental importan= in it' Howwer, what has been said thus
far norwithstanding, Marcien Towa has corrcctly observed that

Africi will no<reay attain iu cuinunl M e , politifP2and eco-

nomic] mnturity as long as it doep not elevite itpdf d u d y m
14/ Philorophy ond Post-colonial A f r h Philosophy ond Postdonial AfrkallS

a profound thinking of its esaential pmblems, that is to say, to regarding the promise and thc actuaiity of the immediatepost-colonial
philosophical refiection.'
African situation.' For as Enrique Dussel points out:
In endorsing Towa's observation, we impose on ourselvesthe responsi- 'he heroa of neocolonial cmancipation worked in an ambiguous
bility of properly articulating what these "essential problems" might political sphm. Mahamu Gandhi in India, Abdcl Namr in Egypt,
be and of spelling out the role of "philosophical reflection" in the and Paaioc Lumumba in the Congo drram of emanapation but are
situation of the present. It was in the guise of introduang the "matu- not aware that their nations will [soon] pass k m thc han& of
rity" of the modern age that European colonialism imposed on Africa England, France, or Belgium into the hands of ?he UMted Statcs!
its present subordinate status. Thus, to be able to transand thk deplor-
able situation we contemporary Africans need to mnfront the question Today, in the last decade of the twentieth cenhiry, the United States
of our "maturity" at its most fundamental level-on the plane of is the dominant supapower and the harbinger of a 'new world order'
philosophic reflection. dominated by the West ( i t , NATO).' In fa*, paraphrasing Lmin and
In this initial chapter, 1 will articulate the situated historicity of Nknimah, one could describe this 'new world order* as the latest, if
contemporary African philosophy as the critica1 self-reflection of a not the highest, stage of neocolonialism in which thc United Statcs,
concrete totality: post-colonial Africa. In doing so, 1 will establish undcr the guise of the United Nations, niles the world, and sman
the parameters within which, in my view, A& can "elevate itself bombs enfom "international law." In thii context,
resolutely to a profound thinking of its essential problems." It is only
thus that it can self-consciouslyconfront the question of its historie, the prolongntion of existhg socieeconomicsauctures and world
cultural, political, and economic subordinate status or "manuity' relatio~hips,daiving as thae do from the colonial pcriod and
imposed on it by colonialism, which to this day defines, in all spheres the world capMist smcnue, must ineviably, without a change,
of life, the situation of the present. produce in Mnca a vast intcmational slum.'

In fact, the 1970s and thc 1980s have already been for Africa a period
of "endemic faminen9orchesaated by the criminal incompemice and .
political subsmience of African governments-m European, North
As far back as 1958, Frantz Fanon had correctlypointedout, without Amuican, and Soviet interesa. Tbus, irony of ironics, the offiaal
the benefit of hiidsight and om within the lived actuality of the inheritors of the legaq othe Afncan libcration saiggle today preside
African liberation struggle, that over-or, more appropriately, dicta-the neocolonial demise of the
continent. This is the paradox and 'dark" enigma of contemporary
Tbc twentieth century, when the futurelook~~b a d o n l y It is appropriate then for the dosing decade of the twentieth century
be remembered as the era of atomic discovcrics and interplannary
to be a period of introspection and self-examination. For the naive
explorations. The second upheaval of this period, unquestionably, mid-cenhuy euphoria of "liberationn and "freedomn has a m e to
is the conquest by the peoples of the lands that belong to them.'
naught. It has been callously dashed onthe hiimrically languidviolence
o neocolonialism. These very terms, "liherationn and "freedom"-
But the future will also note-as we do today in the last decade of the the proud, clear, and popular slogansof yesterday's anti-colonial strug-
twentieth centuq-that the "mnquest by the peoples of the lands that gle-are mday's opaque, obscure, and ambiguous enigma. In the midst
belong to themn was a much more mmplicated and protracted struggle of famine, politicai terror, Weatcrn or Eastcrn ("demomticn or 'so-
than it first appeared to be.' When "the future looks back on itW- cialist," as the case may be) mitary intccventions, "liberation' and
that is, on Fanon's present and out (1990s) immediate post-colonial "fresdom" have become the wods with which Occidentalpowa impc
past-it wiU register a rather harsh disillusionmmt and disappointment riously p d a h i e military might and politiul preuninencc.
16/ Philosaphy ond Po*-coloniol Airica Phaomphy and Pod-caWiIA f h 117

In conuast to the recent past (i.e., the period of armed anti-colonial our Africanphilosophers" as the correct response "to the phiiosophical
liberation stmggles), mday it is in &ese very temis that post-colonial quation in Africa?"" From these remarks, espeaally from Wamba's
"independent" Africa misunderstands itsdf. What seemed m be dear obsewations, we can surmise that a hermeneutical orientation, br
and unambiguoushas become o b s c u ~and opaque. Thus the lethargic better or for worse, has already taken root within the indigenous soil
inertness of neocolonialism passes for the acniality of "fmdom" and of thc discome of contanporary African p h i l o s ~ ~ h ~ . ' ~
"liberation." To explore and decipher the sourceof this vucing Umisun- The net rhmrical effett of these strong remarks, however (ex-
derstanding" is the proper task of contemporary African phosophy. prssed, as they are, from within diffuing philosophical paradigms:
For it is only by chauenging and contcsting this situation at its source phiosophid hermeneuticsandan 'Africanid" Marxism-Leninism),
that Africa can put behind it the subordinate status imposed on it by is m queaion the validity of the 'nkage" of hemeneutics to African
European colonialism and perpetuared by neocolonialism. philosophy. G a h e r chacgcs that hermeneutics is now in vogue and
As Wans-Georg Gadamer, the father of contemporary philosophical points to a faddish fashionablenesswithout substance. Wamba, on the
hermeneutics puts it, it is precisely this negative situationof 'misunder- other hand, following hi rhctorieal question and without in any way
standinf and the estrangement of meaning within the lived contart philmphidly accaunting foc the ideological bent of his own cies m
of a tradition (i.e., a specic historicalness) which is &e originative European thought, strongiy suggests that a hermeneutical position in
moment of hermeneutics as a particular philosophic orientation. For
Gadamer, "understanding becomes a s p h l taskonly when ...
derstandings have arisen."" What Gadamer is here enunaating is the
African philosophy la& 'authcntiaty" and does not escape neowlo-
nialism: European tutelage in the realm of theory.
The validity-both phiosophic m d political-of the 'link" bemeen
groundiig insight of the tradition of philosophical hmeneutics within hermeneuticsand African phiiosophy is thus in donbt. Given the name
which he operates." This insight is an old, ewn if at tima neglectcd, of my concems-named by the title: The Hennmcutics of Africlm
truth of philosophy that is abundantly epitomized in the originative Philosophy: Horkon aad Discourse-it is necessary and beneaal in
moments of Plato's dialogues (which occupy a central paradigmatic this initial chapter, to begin by presenting a sustained defense against
place in Gadamer's work) and is categorically affirmed by Hegel when this dwble, if disparate, atta&. in so doing 1wl formulate the q u e
he writes that: "Diremption is the source of the need forphil~sophy."~~ tion of hermeneutics (my mponse m Gadamer) and of the hermeneu-
In our case, the veracity of the above is codrmed by the indisputable tiaty of contemporary African philosophy (my response to Wamba)
historical and violent diremption effected by colonialism and the con- by concretdy exploring the way in which phiosophic discome itself
tinued "misunderscanding" of our situation perpetuared by neocolo- originaas k m and is organically liked to the concrete conditions-
nialism which calls forth and provokes thought in post-colonial Af- ofuristcnec and the fe-practices of thc horizon withii and out of
rica." It is in this regard, then, that the propu task of philosophy in which it is formulared.1will also show, in the process of amcularingthe
Africa is that of systematically daborating a radical hermeneutics of above and in line with my subtide, that this hermeneutical undeaakuig
the contemporary African situation. Having asserted the central and cannot but be a potically commitred and hismrically specific critical
deining claim of this study, we now have to confront Gadamer's self-refldon that stems fmm the negativity of out post-colonial
strong reservations on this point and the rather contcntious r e m k s present.
of the African historian and philosopber Emest Wamba-Dia-Wamba.

The hcnneneutiaty of contanporary African phiiosophy-as is the

Gadamer forcefully affirms that 'hermeneutics has [now] become case with the hermeneuticity of phosophical discourse as such-con-
fashionable and every interpretation [today, 19771 wants m cal1 itself siso of the intcrplay of horizon and discoursc. This interplay is
'hermeneutical.' "" On the other hand, Wamba rheroricaUy asks, al- growided on the concrete and lived historicalnessof a specific horizon.
most a decade later, in 1983: Why is hermeneutics "understood by The tcrms "horizon" and "discoune," are here used in a rather speaal-
18/ Philosophy ond Post-cdonmlAfm. Philosophy ond Posi-coloniol Aiticall9

ized sense. Horizon designates the historico-hermennitical and politi- zon]" which is "their own cultural [and historical] background.""
co-cultural miiieu within and out of which specific discourses (philo- Elungu and Okere articulate, in slightly differing formulations, the
sophic, artistic, scientific, etc.) are articulated. It is the overall sameinsight: philosophic discouse is a reflexiveand reflective rsponse
existential space within and out of which they occur. Dicourse, on to the fdt crisis of a lived and concrete horizon.
the other hand, refers to these articulated concerns interior to the In view of the above then, m interpretatively engage the present
concrete conditions-of-existence made possible by and interna1 to a situation in terms of what Africa 'has beennn-both in its ambiguous
specific horizon." pre-colonial "gratness"" as weU as in its colonial and neocolonial
The discourse of modern European philosophy, beginning with Des- demisc-is the propu hermeneutical task of African philosophical
cartes, for example, originates in the concerns arising from the hodzon thought. This interpretativeexploration, furthermore, has m be undu-
of modern science. Out of these concems, associared with thc names taken in view of the future of fmdom toward which Africa aspire*
of Galileo and Newton, the discourse of modern philosophy is articu- as ucemplified by its undaunred scniggle, and in spite of aU its faiigs,
lated." It is these concerns that provoked and made possible Kant's against coloniaiism and neocoloniasm. This histotically saturated,
Copemican Revolution in philosophy and enshrined the subjectivity explorative self-dedon is thc baoiccharacter of philosophy, whether
of the subject as the originative moment of reflection for modern consciously e~~gnizcd as sudi or not, and constitutes the explicit sclf-
European thought. awareness of humcneutics as a philosophic orientation."
In like manner, but within a radicaily different horimn, the philo- This then is the radical hermeneutic task of contemporary African
sophic discourses of the sixteenth-cennuy Abyssinian phdosophu phdosophy in view of the contradiecory and y a fecund legaq of the
Zar'a Ya'aqob and his disaple Walda Heywat are grounded in the African iiberation smig%e. Radical, because snch a task is concerned
iived concerns of their day. Unlike their Empean counterparts, thc with exploring and exposing the mt-so- of the contradictionsof
Abyssinian thinkers are concerned with questions of piety and the our paradoxifal present. Hennencutical, because such a grounding
nature of faith in the context of the acure crisis of Abyssinian Christian- exploration cannot but be a consmt and ongoing interpretative and
ity, in confrontation with thc subversive work of j d t missionaries ranterpnative task u n d e d e n in view of the failures and succ&ss
and aggressive Catholicism. Religiosity, in its differing and thus bewil- of our history as AfRcans in the contemporary world. As Okonda
dering claims, manifestations, and contradictory instantiations, is the Okolo puts it:
singular and deining concern of Zar'a Ya'aqob's and Walda Heywat's
thinking.lP The cultural [hismric]memory is ccvclssly renewed retmanively
In oui case, on the other hand, it is ndther the thcoreticalexigenas by new dkovaies. Ourpnn, by rnntlliudymodifyingimlf throngh
of modern science, nor the crisis of faith in confrontationwith a foreign our dkoverin, invitu us m new appmpriations; rhese appmpria-
and aggressive piety that provokes thought. Rather, it is h e poiitico- tions Lad us mward a bam gnsp of our idmtity.2<
existential crisis interior to the honzon of post-colonial Africa which
brings forth the concerns and originates the theoretic space for the in thii respect, thm, thc hermeneutical task of conternporary African
discourse of contemporary African philosophy. in ea& case then, it phdosophy is itsdf interior to the ved and continuous pr- of self-
is out of the concerns and needs of a speci6c horimn that a particular underscanding indigmous to a particular hitoricalness, to a speafic
philosophic discourse is articulated. For as Elungu Pene Elungu p u s identity.
it: It is thii perpetua1proccss of lived self-understanding, peculiar and
It is often during periods of permrbation rhar the human bang is interna1 to human e*stence as such, that philosophical hermeneutics
cailed on to affirm and ar the same time vdfy the unfatbomable consaously articulates and cultivates. Moreover, this is the concrete
depth from w h q e springs his action on the world, on himself and actualityof the contemporary discourse of African philosopby insofar
on others.1 as it is concerned with overcoming the diremptions and misunder-
standiagsof present-dayAfrica-what Wiredu and Hountondjirespec-
in a similar way Theophilus Okere points out that the variow dis- ism"26refer m as the 'anachronisrnn of our situation and the "foikior-
courses of philosophy are "dictated by the non-philosophy [Le., hori- of out theoretic efforts.
20 / Philorophy ond Post-colonial Afico Philo~phyond Post-colonial A k 121

The fundamental orientation of this iaherently interpretativeunder- in present-day Africa. niis hegcmony-beyond the overt violence of
taking is aimed at disclosing a fume in congntence with the humanity coioniaiismand in a much more eftectivcmanner-instimtes and estab-
of the human in African existence. But one might and indeed should lishes itself from withii and reproduces and perpemates our subordi-
ask at this point: What exactly does humanity mean in thii contuct? In nate status in the wntcmporary world. Thus, for us to appropnate the
this regard I take my cue not from Leopold Sedar Scnghor's essentialist "to be" of our hiiricalness means to wnfront European neocolonial
humanism of "negroness" (Ndgntude), but from Martin Heidegger's subjugation: the politics of economic, cultural, and scientific subordi-
ontological and phmomenological fonnulation (itself the product of nation.
a systematic hermeneutic of modern European existence), that 'the The insidious nature of neooolonialism is that it internally repli-
substance of man [the human being] is existenyn2' or, put differently, ares-in an indigmous guis-what previously was imposed from
"The 'essence' [Wesen] of this entity Les in its 'to be' [Zu-sein]."" the outside by the urdusive and expliat use of violence. In vicw of
Heidegger's personal political languidity and Euracentric anti-switic the above &en, and u d i e Heidegger, for us, the question of our
racist views notwith~tanding,~ his formulation of the Being (Sejn) of existen* of out 'to be," is an inherently political question. To neglect
the human being is grounded in the particular ontological speficity the politics of chis question, in our case, is to disregard the question
of the temporalizing ecstatic phenomenality of human existen~e.'~To itself. For, when we ask or reflect on our own humanity, when we
the extent that we recognize both Europe and Africa as sites of human examine the actuality, the "substance of our existence" as human
historical becoming, the ontological explorations of the "to be" of beings, there wc fuid and are wnfronted by an intemalized imperious
human existence, which Heidegger undutakes fmm within the ontic Europe dominant over the mntradimry remains of our own indigmt
confines of European modernity, can also be posed from within the and subjccted indiguibusness.
ontic confines of other cultures and histories." It is in this manner that &e Ge-stell of m o d a technology shows
in hii destrucnuingreading of the tradition of European mctaphys- itself, and is m d m d in the fom of political domination. As Warnba
ics, staaing from the lived ecstatic phenomenality of human life, Hei- puts it:
degger assects-against the ossified and ossifying ontotheological wn-
ceptions of human existen-that human reality (Dasein) is not a
present-at-hand substance or entity, but the lived fluidity/actuatity of
This is why the expatcianpnonnel, from impuiast countrk~,are
more at enre in thae mtionai [Afriem]mte sm-, functioniag
its own existmce. in thii radical destnictive hemmeutic critique of as if they werc made by, md for, that pemnnel, than are the
the metaphysical tradition, Heidegger explores-in Being and Time majority of the natives who have m bear [and support] these smic-
and in his later works-the "to be" [Zu-sein] of European modernity. tures'nprrssive hiernrdllcdwaght. Inthaeconditions,co be i n t d i -
Seen from the perspective of Heidegger's Being-question, and the pt,rasonabk, donal, civilired, etc, is m be receprive to, rnd
grounding ontic-ontological destrucfivc analysis that derives from it, m huidon iecordhg m, the Iogic and mtionalirp governhg thae
the modern world is caught in the snare of the Gc-steU (en-fiaming) [n~Ioniai] ani-"
of modern technology. Thus, the evocations of Heidegger's Being-
question are aimed at salvaging the "to be" (i.e., the essential nonsub- pgiwmic obscene duplication of E u r o ~ i Africa
n and as Af-
stantial substance) of European modemity fmm the beguili snare ncp-ri the actual and mnccetc duplifity which negativdy wnstinites
of technological catasvophe. To the very end, Heideggcr's efforts were and witiveiy saucnues the nonhistoriatyof neocolonialism-its his-
dominated by and directed against this obstinate Ge-stell, and ocicntai toridstential inermes.
toward the striving "to prepare the possibility of a transfonned abode In this manna the technoaatic Gc-m11 of European modunity-
of man in the world."" wmpounded by and in the fom of political, eamomic, cultural, and
We too-the ex-colonial subjects of this ensnared and ensnaring hirtoricai dominan-is impsed on us, the exsolonial subjects of
Europe-suffer from this Ge-stell. But for us this Siniation of en- imperial Eutopc. In thc name and in the guise of technologiul and
framing is mediated, instituted, and imposed thmugh the pecaiaunce scimtik ' a a s ~ " Eumpe i m p o ~ son un its hegemonic poticai
of neocolonialism as the continued inuusion of European hegemony and culnual control. We are thus afflicted by pmxy. Precisdy for thii
22 / Philosophy ond Post-colonial Afnco Phiiowphy and Port-coloniol Africa 123

reason, a concrete hermeneutics of the existentialicy of our cxistence, oniy by humeneutieally plowing (.e., turning over) and r a d i d y sub-
in order to be adequate, has to confront the aeniaty of our present. vutine the theoraic wacc of the post-colonial African simarian, with
For the "veracity" of tbis present is the historical dupliuty of neocolo- the c o k c t e historicit; of o u r o G most distinctiveexistential actuaiicy
nialism, which is lived and concretely actualized in and through our that African phiaaophic rctlection can be pan of thc praaical and
e~istence.~ In this context the culture of the former colonial power is theorcticeffon aimed at conaetely redaiming the freedom and actual-
the ground and the accepted source of hegcmonic cultural, tedinical- ity of the continat.
economic, and historico-political dominante. In the words of Antonio Gramsu:
This is the historical and cultural estrangement, intemal to our
situation, that Fanon systematicaiiyinspected as early as 1952in B k k Tbe beginning of a &cal claboration is the awarensr o diat
Skin, White Masks. It is the estranged and estranging tragic legacy of which d y is, that is m say a %nowing of one's self" as a product
the European "civilizing missionn to the world. As Basil Davidson of the p- of histoy that haa utolded thua hr md which has
points out, the African anti-colonial struggle did not only expel the left in p u m l a M t y of traces m I I d without the bae& of an
physical presence of colonialism, but it also put in invenmry. It is necessary UUtiaUy to undcrtake such an invcntory.
question the smoothly borrowed assumptionsof thc add hybrids Noten. Onecannotseparatephilosophyfrom thebiatory of p h m
[.c., Europeanized Africans] about the opposition of 'European phy and culture k m the hiaory of dnue. In a more di- and
dvilization" to "African barbarism.'" fitting or proper ou\se, it is not possible m be philophus, dmt ir,
m have a aiticay mhmnt conaption of the wodd, without a
oonseiousners of its histwiaty, of the phlse of devclopmat reprc
Indeed, beyond the physical combat to expel coloniasm, contempo- oented by ic nnd of che fan that it is in conuadiction with other
rary Africa finds itself confronted and hhdered, at evuy turn, by that conceptions or with dunmts of other conccpti~ns?~
which this mmbat has put in question without fundamentally and
decisively eradicating. In this rcgard, Aican phosophy can be true to its own historicity-
Thus, present-day African reaiities are constimted partly by the the historicalness of conumporary Africa out of wbich ic is b e i g
bybrid remnants of the colonial and pre-colonial p a s t a s embodied secrcted and spun-by concretely exploring and wnfronting the 'in-
at every leve1 in the ossified neocolonial instimtional forms of wntun- finity of traces" lek by colonialism and the mduring rernains of the
porary Africa and in the pathologically n;gative self-awareness of pn-colonial past. It is, in this manner, a "knowing of one's self"
Europeanized Africans-and partiy by the varied forms of struggle and an explorative "inventory" aimed at appropriating that which is
aimed at actualizing the possibility of an autonomous and free Africa possible in the context of a specific history.
in the wntext of the wntemporary world. Thesc struggles, hirther- As Gramsu pum it, 'phiiosophy is the critique and the surpassing
more, are not homogenous in their ideologicalor theoretic orimtation. [nrpcrmmto, Le., thc Hegelian notion of sublation] of region and
Along with the Africanist essentialismof Smghor, we have Nkrumah's of common sense and in this way it coincides with 'good sense' [buon
Marxism-Leninism, as weU as the historically and hemmeutially s m o ] which is co~ntetpoisodtocomaon~nsc."~~~~ ir so,inasmuch
astute theoretic perspectives articulated by Fanon and Cabral. A11 this as the "religion" of the mass and a historically specific *common
and more is the miange that constinttes the lived actuality of post- sase" are thc dmrally distinctivc self-awareness of a people that
colonial Africa! s t m ir,~historic and p o l i t i f ~ ~ ~ n o mUrisunce
ic i n t e d to its
Broadly speaking &en, thii is the enigmatic and paradoxical inheri- traditions. Phiiosophy is thus this uitical and explorative engagement
tance of African "independence": the Siniation of the present. It is of one's own cu1turd spdfiaty and lived historicalness. It is a c r i t i d y
the "ambiguous adventuren of Africa that Cheikh Hamidou Kane aware explorative appropriation of our C U ~ N Ipolitical,
~ ~ , and hismri-
articuiates so well in his seminal novel of the same title. The inscmina- cal arisknce.
tive tilling of Africa's "ambiguous adwnture" with the Occident M In v i m of &e above, contemporary African phioeophy has to be
thus the central concem of contemporay African phiiosophy. It is conceived as a radically originative hermaeutics of the pandoxical
24/ Philosophy and Po&-colonialAfn'm Philosophy and Pastolonial Afn'ca l l

and yet fecund post-colonial present. It is the ardmt effort to redaim and lived conncs of one's tradition or concrete historicahess, how
the African experience of Being-the historiaty of the various moda
prccisely d o s the hameneuticaliy oriented phiosopher engage the
of Afcican existente-frorn within the wotld-historical contac of the particular tradition or hiaoricalncss withim which and out of which
present, i.e., the implosion of European modunity. In other wordp, it phiiosophig occurs? In diis regard, in An Introduction m Metaphys-
is an attempt to explore and conaetely reappropriw what this moder- ics, Hcideggcr wntes:
nity closed off at the dawn of its own originative moment of history:
the violent self-inception of its own historical adization."
Inthii regard, the herrneneutics of connmporary Afncan philosophy
or African philosophicalhermeneutia is a thinking of new b e g h i n a one, the kewhicb ;unply ralres ova a perspcnive into whidi
it has hUm, because chis -ve, di iine of sight, prrsma itulf
bom out of our enigmatic political Uemancipation*and the historid - inmiarand
ns .
.---- wlf-evidcnt.or the intcrprrutionwhich questionstbe
and political crisis of European modernity-the long-awaited weakm-

ing, if not the demise, of our subjugators. As Okolo sagaaowly points

cunomnry pcmpdve from mp m boom, because conceivably-
and indeed ~ u d i y h4e of dght does not lead to what is in
out: need of beig seen.''
In Afnca, the interest in hemieneutico also ariaea out odK redity of
crisis: a gcneralized identity crisis dueto &e prescnec of a In other words, the philosopherI'itupretcr who works out of rhe
a forcign and dominating tradition-and the necessity for a self- context of the present, as it relates to and arises out of a s p e d c
aftmation in the f o n s t d o n of an authcntic cnlture and tra- tradition,should not passively adhete to what is given by that tradition.
dition." Rather, the relation to tradition is an open-ended encounter in which
what is expliatly preserved and impliatly betrayed by tradition is
In the paragraph that precedes the sentence just quoted, Okolo points revealed. But how or from what vancage point is the "customary
out that in Europe, the "birth and current revival of the hermeneutic pcrspectiven to be questioned from "top to bottom'?
movement" is linked to crises: "the crisis of sdf-idcntity in Guman
romanticisrn," and the "crisis of Europe confrontedwith a technicized This ia not done shifaly and arbiaarity, nor is ir done by diliging
[technicisesl world and language," which Heideggw, among othcrs, to a Sysnm sei up IU a nom, but in and out of bistoricalneceuiy
"felt . . . as the forgetting of Being."" in ea& case then, m d in terms (Nokumdigkcit), out of &e nnd (Not) of hiirical being-thcn."
of differing traditions, the herrneneuticiy of philosophy is grounded
on the theoretic effort to reconstnict and appropriatc meaning withii It is imperative for us to note that by "hiiorical being-there," Heideg-
the parameters of a lived inheritance and aadition that has become ger means the conaete and factual (ontic) situation in which human
estranged and crisis prone. in other words, philosophic discourse does bcings find themselves (i.e., the actual lived situation of an individual
not just happen; rather, it is the acticulation of retienive concerns or a group) within thc confine and possibilitie of a specific aadition.
interior to a negativity arising out of the horizon of a spaciac cultural In other words, "historical being-there" (i.e., a specific pecson or a
and historical totality within which iris located and framed." historical comniunity of pmons) always becomes what it is by proj-
For philosophic reflection, the lived le concerns of a mime, a ecting itself out of its effective past, its lived inheritance. Its "destinyn
history, a tradition, serve as the source and bedrodc on which its is thus always what comes out of irself, its 'has been," out of the
own herrneneuticity is grounded. Thus, phiosophic discourse is the prospea of its hiitory and the possibilitie of its generation. As Okolo
rhetorically effective enunciation-the bringing to uttetancbof the wplains, "destiny" is here understmd as the
historicity of existente out of and within a specific hismficalness. For
as Okolo emphatically affirms, ultimateiy, "hermeneutics [philosophy]
implacable givm [acniatity] of a people and of an individual, but
exists only in particular traditions."" it b also a task of the tture for a people and br an individual. It
in view of the fact that one dwells and is immured within the bounds is the thrend of tradition and of intcrp~etations.~
26 1Phibophy and Postsdonial AfrKa Philowphy and Post-colonial Afnca 127

It is in a constant process of self-interpretationand ongoing re-interpre- fmm and simultancously consti~ttsour hermeneutical appropriation
tations that a history, a people (and an individual within the confines of the heritagc that we project as o w funire.
of a people and a generation), constitutesitself and proj- its htmre/ in other words, if "bistorical beii-there" (.e., the concretely situ-
destiny-the yet-to-be of its lived presence. ated puson in community) projects itself out of its past (i.e., out of
Taking Heidegger's Being md Time as his bmchmark, Gadamer that which marks &e prcscnt by its presence whik being appropriated
refers to the actuality o"historical behg-there," in its encounter with by it as its concraely felt "effedve-history"), it follows that the cman-
tradition, as the "effective-historical consciousness." For Gadamer
cipatory aspirations of this effcctive past have a dtfining and norma-
the "effective-historical consciousness" or the hermeneutical encounter tively determining rclation to our f ~ r e our
, destiay. As Okolo un-
with tradition is open to the uadition's claim to mth. In this acounter, equivocally points out, our
traditionlhistory &e., the wrirten or oral pasr) is not muMed but
allowed to challenge the cenainties of the present. n i e interprmr hennninitid oituation ir that of thc brmerly mlonized, thc o p
or philosopher in this situation-the embodimmt of the 'effcctiw- p d that of the ~ m l l o p e dstru&g
, for more jus<Ke and
historical consciousness"-is in a questioningand yet rrle~seddisposi- equality. From this point of view, the validity of an inrcrpmotion
tion to that whidi the past holds in its independenceand the autonomy ia tied M thc validity of a smiBglc-of its justice and of iE iunness.
of its possibilities. Here, maf6nn the methodologidpfeemha~c ofpraxison heme-
This openness and willingness to risk the standpoint of the present neutia, pMi5 undecsmod in thc s m of~an aaion tending towrrd
is the critica1moment and the moment of critique in tbe htrmmeutical the quaiitative transfo&n olife"
uicounter with tradition. The undecided and risky character of the
hermeaeuticd situation, furthermore, arises out of the concrete 'nacd In this con- as Okolo afkns, "Humcneutical theory is an integral
[Notl" of the actudity of esuangemat, out of which tradition, as &e part of hermeneutical praciice. Here, theory is not added to praciice
historicalness of the present, is explored and engaged." As 1 have as a luxurious supplemmt; it iUuminatts practice, which, in tum pro-
already pointed out, for us contemporary Africans, that which impels vokes it in a diaicctical manner.'" In this theoreticscenario, emancipa-
us to thought is precisely the estranged acniality of ourpresent dcriving tory praxis opcns and offers the timely issucs and concems in wbich
from tbe colonial expecience, the specic particalarhy of our hiitory. a hemieneutical perspectiw incarnatesits interrogativeand interpree~-
Thus, it is in view of the inert presence of neocolonialism-the diremp- tive explorations. Conversely, and as a rejoinder to the dialcctical
tions and misunderstandings consequent on colonidim-that a radi- tensions interior to this relation, hermeneutical reflection opens to
cal hemeneutics becomes the proper task of contemporary Afican praxis the propcr theoretic sparr to explore and suggest thc normative
philosophy. alignmmt of its emanapatory projects and practica1 undertakings.
It is necessary at this point to confront squarely the huidamental It is imperative to remcmber, as Amcar Cabra1 u n q u i v d l y
problem of this whole explication: How can one guard against the pointed out in 1962, that the pr& of the African anti-colonial struggle
political dangers latent in an open-endcd and radically interpretative as affimud by the "UN molution on dceolonialiiationnis now pan
relation with a particular and spccific tradition exdusively guided by of the intcrnationally mgnized emanapatory legacy of post-mlonial
thc "need [Notl" of the contemporarymoment of historyl 01as Drew hurnanity." In honoring this legacy we are basically upholding the
Hyland puts it, how is "the 'ontic' [concrete, political, and historical] "justia" snd 'jusmess" of our age-old &can struggle against colo-
question of good and evil" to be settled?" nialism and the continuing effom against neocolonialism. In view of
One can only say that it is the "effective-hismry,'" to use Gadamer's this:
term, the history that makes itself felt and saturates the lived presence
and acniality o the present (in our case, the emanapatory promise When in our cuuntry [ot Continat] a comradc dies under poli-
and failure of the African liberation suuggle)that acts as the normative tomuc, a isrossinaccd in prison, is bumcd ave or fas undcr the
standard whicb projects a funire/des&y as the actuaiity of its yet-to- bullew of Portuguese guns, for which ausc is he giving his life?He
is giving it for the liberation of our people kom the colonial y o k
be. This effenive past, this felt presence of history, itself is derived and hace for the UN. In fighting and dying b r &e tiberation af
28 / Philosophy ond Post-colonial Africo Philorophy and Post-colonial AfrKa 129

our countries we are giving our livcs, in the preaent aontun of

international legality, for the ideal which the UN itself has defiaed ... no one can any longer live by the simple carrying out of what he
in its Charter, in its resolutions, and in particular in its molution himself is." in the sunmess of thii global future, however, we the
on demloniasation.J3 formerly colonited, 'al1 of us, Hindus, Chiicsc, South Americans,
Negrocs, Arabs, a of us, awkward and piaful, we the under-deve\-
oped, who feel ourselves to be clumsy in a world of perfect mechanical
The struggle against neocolonialism is, furtbumore, a continuation adjustmcnts," have to reclaim and conaetely teiIIstitute the hiitoriaty
and a hermeneutically critical rening of this emanapatory pra& of our own udstence?'
aimed at autonomy and freedom in fui1 recognition of the diffenng niis the "justicen and 'jusmess" that originates out of the disap-
cultural-histoncal totalities that constitute our world. This then is the pointcd possibilitics of our past, from whcncc we projea a future. A
moment of critique in the hermencutical encounter with tradition and future in the unequivocal mgnition of the mulaverse that
the speciiics of appropriation withii a particular historicalness. wnstitutes our-thus far dmied-hiitorical and cultural speaficity
In contradistinction to Heidegger then, and with Cabral and Fanon, (i.c., our humanity) will become the basis for global eanhly mtidafity.
on an ontic leve1 it is our struggle, grounded in the spccificity of Thus, hceding Fanon's insightfd words, we leaw behiid Old Ewpe,
our history, which acts as the normative siwe that stcains, sifts, and with d its uanscmdcncal and empty d e s to "M~II,"'~and with
negotiates out orientation to the futurc. This does not mean that we Nicusche we "rnnrrin faithfil to the earth.""
ding "to a system set up as a norm,"" nor that we are beguiled by
history, wheresoever it might take usl Rathu, in releasing ourselves
m the fluidity of our exisrence and of our f u m , in and out of thii
fluidity we firmly resolve that the ved "necessity [Notwendigkeit]""
out of which thii h r e is being historiazed will always be r e m a -
bered. in so doing we persevere and sustain into the hmre the "justia" The humeneutical oricntation in contanporary African philosophy
and the ''justness' of our concrete engagunents. This is how we re- or African philosophifalhermaieutics is thus thematically and histori-
spond to Hyland's germane question regarding "good and e~il."~' cally linked to the demise of diren Europeui colonial dominante and
Thus, African philosophy as the hermeneutics of the post-colonial is h e d a the dcstrwmiring of thc pcrsistmce of neocolonial he--
situationis the critical remembrana, itself interior to the lived emanci- ony in contemporary African existence. It is focused on die theoretic
pamry praxis of contemporary Africa, that cultivates, mediates, and consummation of this demise. For the cona- mumction of Afnca
revitalizes the origin or the sourcc of this emancipatory praxir as the beyond the mtehgeof E w p e qquires in all spheres of le a r&nkng
historicity of its effcctive inheritancc. 1t is thc discounie which con- of the p m n r asphyxiathg inatness in terms which are conduave
cretely evokes and evocatively recalls to this unancipatory tradition and congenialto Africa and itsdivuse peoples. Thisis the indispensable
the "truth" of its originativedisdosure. Occasionedby thc felt and lived hermeneutic supplemcnt to the histonc and concrete proceso of 're-
needs of the present, it explores the f u embedded~ and presvved in Africanisation"" without which, as Cabral telis us, nothiig can be
the possibilities of the hentage of its own cnduring horizon. In so doing achievd
ir explodes the duplicity and steriiity of the neocolonial duplication of As part of thc cultural and inrellechinlproduction of a diverseconti-
European modernity (Le., the en-framing of modem technology) and nent, ihc henncmuticevocationaof the African phiiospher areinterior
inaugurates "invention into [contemporary African] exi~tmce."~ to thc effom of diffaing Africln peoples in "the sphere of thought"
As we shall see in chapter 4, this is how the African liberation
struggle-as critically epitomized in the thinking of Fanon and Ca-
.. .
m constimteand 'keep [themselves] in existen~e."~ For the African
phiiosopher the accent is on hermeneutically cxploring diese difter-
bral-acnialues the historicity of the colonized in the p m s of thc enea in view of thc eommon and bmding African ucpcrima in con-
anti-colonial struggle. in the apt words of Cheikh Hamidou Kane: fronting Ewpcan modernity-the sharcd expaicnce of colonialism
"Wehave not had &e same past, you and ourselves, but we shall havc, and ncocolonialism.
strialy, the same uture. The era of separate destinieshas run its course in the commonaliry of these diftercnces we nccd to ascend to and
30 / Philosophy ond Poot-eolonial Africa

forge a joint future. For beyond the inertprwnt the future stiU remains
"to be di~covered."~'As Okolo fittingly observes:
We have to aclmowledgethat otu cffoctsat thn,riz'mginte'pmtion
and tradition are inscribcd interior to the ways and means that
tradition itself secretes and utilizes for its ownpresewation, rcnewal,
and perpe~ation.~' Afncan Philosophy
The basic task of philosophy in Africa is expliatly giving voice to this
Horizon and Discourse
needful concern. in contributing to this henneneutical effort, on its
own level of abstraction and in fuil recognition of its lived historicity,
philosophy constitutes itself and fulfills its calling-to think that which
evokes thought-in the situatedness of the present. To afirm the above
is to recognize that "interpretation [philosophy]presupposes a tradi- Then there is the cose of the conquest and bnitol destruc-
tion, and . tradition as such is always interpreted."" This is the tion of economic resources, by which, in certain circum-
historicity of philosophic thought and reflaction in the contart of post- stances, a whole local or nationol ecanomic development
colonial Africa. For the historiuty of philosophy is always measured could formerly be ~ i n e d Nowadays
. [the late nineteenth
against its own conscious awareness-or la& thereof4f its lived century] such a cose usuolly has the opposite effect, at
presuppositions and its rootedness in a specific tradition and history. lea* among great [European] peoples: in the long run
in view of al1 that has been said thus far, thcn, the discourse of he vonquished [+he Asiatic, the African . . . &c.] &en
African philosophy has to be grasped wrplicitiy as a radical hermeneu- gains moreeconomicolly, politically and morally than the
tics of the contemporary Afncan situation. This hitorically specific victor.
situation is that out of which African philosophical humeneutia spins -Friedrich Engels
the thread of its reflexive reflections. Taking b point of depamue From a letter to Joseph Bloch, 1890
from the as of yet unhilfilled promise of A f n m "indepcndence," this When the white serpent has once bitten you, you will
hermeneutical perspective constitutes the substance of its discourse search in vain for a remedy against ik bite.
and critically appropriates as its own thc emancipatory horizon of &e -8ahta Hagos
theorerical and political legacy of the African liberation str~ggk.'~As Eritreon anti-colonialist leader, 1894
Heidegger aptly puts it:

Philosophy will never se& to b y its 'pruuppositions," but neither

may it simply admit them. It conaives thua, and it unfolds with
more and more pcnetration both the pmuppositions thuaselves The period of world history that begins with the end of the Sccond
and that for which they are presuppositions." World War has been for Africa not a period of relative peace and
calm, but rather a period of accelerated war and political nimioil.'
Thus far 1have onlv, arranrred the overail structure of the 'oresuooosi-

tions" that underpin the hermeneutic puspective of this study. In what

To be sure, rhcsc contlicts have not been futile. By the end of the
1960s most of Africa had achieved the status of political indepen-
follows 1 will explore W e r and substantiate the position of African dcnce and the carly 1970s wimcrsed thc end of Pomigse-NATO
philosophical hermeneutics preliminarily articulated thus h. colonililism-the oldcst Eumpean colonial empirein Africa.'nie inde-
paidence of Namibia in Mvch 1990, &e military-political victory
of thc Eritrean reaiaancc in Muy 1991, and thc indepadencc &rm-
dum held in April 1993, along witb the dynamic developments in
South Africa, al1 point to the possibility that the 1990s will be &e be ovc~orne only by grasping thc hiitoricalness of the African situation
decade in which not only European colonialism but differing forms and orienting one's thinking a~cordingly.As already indicatcd in thc
of African colonialism and extemal domination will be totally eradi- introduction and in chaprer 1, this is the theoretic project of African
cated? philosophical hermencutics in the contcxt of the contemporary debate
To this day, however, anned political confcts-in the midst of in African phiiosophy.
famine and "naturai" calamitie+rage on'. Grim as this picture may
be, it is important to rernember that it fbnstimtu the Afcican peoples'
varied and dfering struggles to dene and cstablish their freedom.'
But what are the people of Africa trying to free themselves from and
what are they trying to establish? In mponding to the above-indicad h d a t i o n a l "prior ques-
'fiis "prior question," m use Plato's formulation,issquarcly s i t u a d tionn-What are the people of Africa uying to free themselves from
in the domain of philosophy and is the central question in thc problcm- and what are they aying to establi~h?-as far b a d 1945in Twmdc
atic of African freedom which wiU concem us in this chapter and in Coloniui Freedom, Kwame Nkrumah, a leading pioneer of the African
this study as a wh01e.~Al1 those whose names, a various lwels, have anti-cdoncil struggle, had poMd and formulated rhis question in
been associatcd with the African liberation smggle have had to seri- strictly cmnomic terms, out of an anti-imperialist orimtation of Marx-
ously engage this question. Nknunah, Senghor, Lumumba, Nyerue, ist-luiinist inspiration.' Twenty-five years later, in Class Smggk m
Csaire, Fanon, Cabral, and the literature-which for us constitutes Afica (1970), Nkrumah addressed thii question in much the same
the theoretic legacy-of the African liberation struggle as a whole (.e., way, but this time around in stcidy Macxist-Leninist tenns:
pamphlets, programs, docummts, manifestos,novels, poems, m.),
al1 be read as a sustained effort to pose and politically confront this
grounding question. in this question our aim is to confront Africa in
In almort ewy African statc, nonindependmt and indepmdent
gudUa strugglei s k g prepacedor has becn atabshed as &e only
"metamorphosis."' m overdirowcalonialist, neocoloniastor smler regimes.. ..
This is necessary precisely because, without aplicitly cngaging the GueriUa activities wiU ntao continue in many of the independmt
central concerns articulated by the theoreric andpolitical lcgacy of the rtatcs, so long aa thue is no ammpt k g made m have thc mcans
African liberation sauggle, the contemporary deban in and on African of producrion owned by the rnnsscs of the Afcican pmple. Udess
philosophy ploughs this same terrain. in undertaking sudi a critica1 the leaders of thc independmt Afcican states stop paying p oemce
exploration we will locate the thematic ground of contemporary Afri- m s o c i s l i and go all out for saennfic sccialism they are only
can philosophicdebate in the theoreticcul-de-sacof the African libera- deferring the guerilla onset.''
aon stmggle. We 'el1 thus supplemmt the discussionof contcmporary
African philosophy presented in the introductionwith its paraiiel ideo- in making thc above observation, Nknunab was stating what indeed
logical and political correlate. in order to attain some measure of was the case on the continent as a whole: at the time he wrote, there
succincmess if not completeness, my ucposition will be ccntered on were swentcen major liberation movemmtsactivein both independent
Kwame Nknunah's Marxism-Leninism and Leopold Sedar Senghor's and nonindepuident Africa."
A M i t (or Ndgritude) and African Socialism." These are the two nien as now, howwer, the language Nkrumah utilUcd fa& to grap
poiitically contrary positions that encompass the legacy of the African ple with the historicity of the Afncan situation. By unreservedly em-
liberation sauggle as a whole. ploying the abstracr and worn out language of Marxiism-Leninisub
The exposition will show that the theorctic positions of Muurnah the language of Ysaenti6c socialismn and "means of production,"
and Senghor have a parallel and intrinsic affinity to the Uopposedn and by framing the problematic of African fmdom in these terms,
phiiosophicperspectives of Edinophiiosophy and ProfessionalPhiloso- Nknimah d u d e s the h d a t i o n a l and grounding charactcr of the
phy. As we shall sec, these parallel positions s h w , in concrary ways, quation of fnedom in Africa.
a dilapidating Eurocentric metaphysics. This theoretic b l i d spot can Nknimah 4 1 s for 'scientificsoaalism" preasely because he thinks
34/Afncan Philosophy Afncan Philosophy 135

it will empower the disinherited peoples of Africa to establish the But is such a "sacnce of historyn possible? 1s this not colonialisrn
possibiity of theu freedom, which he understands to be the control in the reaim andguise of theory?Are not the people of Afria sauggling
of the "means of productionn by the "masses of the African people." to overcome prePsely this-on aU levels, indudmg the theoretic-
However, in posing and framing the question in this m a m a and and to establish their own autonomous initiative and self-standing
in the very act of formulating the question in this way, Nknimah fr~edom?'~ These are questions which do not ocnir to Nkrumah, and
underinterprets the problematic of African freedom, and in so doing, given hii Marxist-Lenini paradigm, cannot occur to him as legitimate
banishes it to being nothing more than a "Empean* economic ques- and important questions of and for theory.
tion in the tropics. in other words, Nknimah impliatly univenalies It will not do m transpose European conceptions onto the African
and surreptitiously-without even the semblante of an argumcnt- situation sin- this would not allow the diveroe peoples of A f n a
assumes the hismric ground of European modcrnity: that the ground their own df-standing selfdetcmination. Any and all pre-established
of "scientific socialism" is the universal ground on which and out frameworks wiU w t reticct the autonomous and historial self-instint-
of which economic questions as ouch are posed. Thus, the specific tion that is necessary if Africa is to be free. As Aim Csaire fomfuUy
particularity of the African situation is relegated to oblivion. points out:
Nkrumah's formulation is basically aimed at supcrimposing a gen-
eral and abstract-universal, contcxt-neutral, and value-frec-theory 1 n m r thought for a moment that our emaaapation could come
on a specificand particular historico-cultural siniation.Thus, the Euro- ..
fmm the right-that's imposaible .our liberarion placed us on
centric framework within which Nknimah posa the problematic as
a whole remains unquestioned, and yet it is silcntiy and surreptitiously
the Idt, but [m] &sed to sn the black [Mican] queaion as
simply a social [cconomic]queaion after aU we are dealingwith
presupposed. In faa, it is that which grounds and slyly determines the only r e which is denied oren the notion of humanity."
Nknunah fails to ask what s&alism or any 0th- universal, neutral, According m diese eloqucnt words of thc founding poet of Ndgrhmk,
and culnue- and value-frce conceptioa of keedom conceivcd and con- the question of African frecdom is not Usimplya social [ewnomic]
struaed outside the concrete context of African historical existmce question." Rather, it is a historic, ontic, and ontological question aimcd
could mean in and for the African situation. Along with most Marxist- at opening up the originative hismric ground on which, in ata, the
Leninists, he fails to realize that a theory (any theory) always carries, soaal and politial-the polk as the hismric space of the publi re&,
sustains, valorizes, and constantly resuscitates within itself the traces to paraphraseHeidcgger-can be establishedinfreedom, that is, within
of the originative histonc ground out of which it was initially theorized. the con- of contemporary African historial existence. in other
In the case of "saentic socialism," this is the historic ground of words, the possibiiity of African frcedom presupposes an open site
the Enlightenment-the ground of European modemity which then which is "the historicnl place, the there in which, out of which, and
becomes the archetype of al1 "illumination" and freedom as such. for which hismry happens"" fmm within thc historicahess of the
In other words, "scientific socialism" aummatically and of necessity African siniation.
privileges its own originative historic ground as metaphysicaiiy para- This suggests that the African struggle for freedom cannot, as does
digmatic for human existence in aU of i a derivative applications." the European Le$ simply presuppose and nart only from the political
Thus, to talk of "scientific socialism" in a singular and undifferentiated and hismric lcgacy establihcd by the European eighteenthcaitury
way-as Nkrumah does-is to superimpose European ideas and con- bourga~isLiberal Democratic revolutions. Afnca, properly spcaking,
ceptions (in the guise of "objective" theory) on the African situation. is not heir to thii heritage. In other words, the nonEuropean world
In other words, the historial and culnual spefifiaty of Africa and of as a whole, prpperly speaking, is not interior to the originative historic
the struggle for African freedom is obliterated and covered over. And ground on whch the aghteaith-cuiniry bourgeois Liberal Democratic
this is done in the name of a "universal" and "wlue-fm" "science of revolutions are grounded.
historyn-historical materialism-on which the scientism of socialism The huitage of the Enlightmment is for us a borrowed inheritance.
is grounded. t
We share in it only insofar as we are colonized and neocolonized
members of its modern European-dominated world and have been h like m,- the cmanupation of the intunational prolctariat-
drastically affected-incorporated by conquest-into its development and thus of 'humanityn-requircs the displacing of traditional non-
and globalization. Sharing in this legacy in this way, our aim is to European social fonnations by Westcrnized indigenous societies.
destroy and go beyond this European-dominated disdosure of &e Marx's "hismrical logic" is impecable! As he tes us, "philosophy is
present-the historic space in which the battles of the Left are fought rhc head of" communist or human "anuidpation and the prolerariat
and grounded and its hopes and aspirations nourished. Our purpose is its bcmt."" The poeap of thesc words notwithstanding, it has to
is not, as it is for the European Left,aimed at hilling the "emanapa- be noted that "phhophy" here rcfers to Eumpean thought and more
tory" telos of European history, whatever that might be. Rather, from strictly to German Ideaiiim, and 'prolctariat" refcrs to the European
within our own African historicalness-which encompasses diner co- and more sttictly to the Fmch and German working dasses. Thus is
lonialism, its demise, and neocolonialism-we have to quarry and Europbor certain aspects of its social and hiitorical acistcnce and
carve out a liberating and edying political tradition. thought-globazed.
Our efforts are aimed at reclaiming our histories, whose destniction Thc ciass war of the proletariat is, furthermorq advantagcously
and obliteration is presupposed by aU the political shades-including conditioned and, in tum, ir benefiady h u i a t e s the export of capital
the Lek-of European modernity. Thus, to extract and uncover that and European giobd dominion. It is within the scope and w&es of
which is covered over by the historiaty of European m o d d t y , it is this hinoricalners that thc Europe~npmletariat attempts to hktoricizc
necessary, conversely, to undermine and cover over thehistoricgtound i U , that is, u> replace the bourgmisie and inhait its cultural-histori-
of European modernity. It is only thus that we will simultaneously cai legaq. Toiriheband radically aansformhransccnd, this is the basic
transgress and appmpriate diis disclosure. and unifying theoraic S&-understanding of the European proletariat
The European Left basically fights for politico-economic demands artidated by che vadous strandsof the Marxist tradition-but always
within an already established history. It is located and arises out of a from within die coloniPlirt parameters and presuppositions of Euro-
uadition and history which explicitly presupposes the desuuction of p e a ~dnunl and historie hegunony.
our traditions and histories. At its best, the Left and the suuggles of The fundamcntai aim of the African stnigglc for M o m , on the
the European working dass are political and economic manifestations orher huid, is to disdoae M aumchthonous tradition and himry of
of the most radical possibilities proper to the historicalnessof European politi~~conomic saugglcs intaior to itseif. The Afriun suuggle M
modernity.Al1 this, to be sure, does not take inm accountthe colonized f o c d on dahroning die Eumpeandominatedprescnt, withia which
non-European. Or rather, it takes account of the colonized by praup- the Lcft functions and fccls at home, ftom within and out of the
posing the necessity of colonial conquest-as a harsh hismrical p m q - indigenous historicaty of its own hismricainess, a concrea political
uisite for the dialectical completion and fulfillment of "humana (ir., and cultural cxhencc.
European) freedom globall~. To aurodithonously ovmome the indigaice of our indigenous plit-
The fitst few pages of the Communist Mmfesto, for example, hium- i d and h i a o r i c ~ c e - a c n t e dand pepetuated by European colo-
phantly recognize and celebrate the worldwide victory of the European Naliam and ncocoloniali8m-is the basic and most fundamental his-
bourgeoisie over non-Europeancultural and historial formations. For torie task of the Mican m d e for M o m . nius, in ordcr to be
Marx, European feudal soaety is the zmith of, and essentially the t m t o itself, the m g g l e for Africui freedomhas to beginby undcrmin-
same as, non-European traditional social formations. It is for thii h g and damcturing the historie ground on which thc political dis-
reason tat in the Manifesto he dismisses both of these disparate social mum of &e European Lcft unfolds. This, furthermore, is nota ques-
organizations of life in the same breath. tion of tactia or politid cxpediencc that could be avoided or
From these well-known pages, it is cleat that for Marx and the circumventcd, but a question of confronting and being r>irc to the
European Lek as a whole the dass war of thc prolctariat is wagcd concrete historic situation of Africa?'
and historiazed on the terrain of a homopnized historicalness consti- Evai in postsolonial Africa, tbe suuggle against nmmlonialism is
tuted by the worldwide hegemonicpower of the West. Just as European a ttruggie aimed and foaued on disdoaing the historico-political
feudalism had m be supplanted by the modern European bourgeoisie, ground on which an African political tradition can be instituted within
the context of the present. To be sure, and this cannot be overempha- the 'latern Nkrumah mdorscd the Marxist-Leniniit thesis that thc
sized, the aim is not to return to some "me," "uncontaminated," struggle in Africa is nothing more than thc class suuggie of Westcrn
"original," African arche-as if this were possible or even desirablc- socicties extended to the intecnational arena.'9 Being a Marxist-knin-
but to make possible the autonomous and thus authentic self-standing ist hiiself, Hountondji preseas the above as a positive development
historicity of African existence in the contexc of the modern world. It or mattuation of Nkrumah's thought. Tbus, Hountondji shares in
is this concrete awareness of our situation that we must constantly Nkrumah's failurc to grasp the s@city and distinctive panicularity
cultivate and preserve against the seductke "universalistic" rhetoric of the African situation.
of the European Left. This much Nkrumah fails to do. Hountondji deprccates the carlier works of Nkrumah not on techni-
Hence, in addition to expanding-through our conaibutions-and cal-pbilosophical grounds, but because diey intcnd-no matter how
appropriatingthe European heritage of &e Lek, the stniggle for Afci- inadequately-m think Afcican pmblans fromwithii the horizm of an
can freedom at a more fundamental leve1 is aimed at overcoming Africanist puspcctive. in chis respea it is Nkrumah's self-consciousl
European dominanceand reclaiming the politico-histoicspace of Afri- philosophical work, C o n r c k i s m (1964), which is smngly attacked.2
can existence which has been oblitcrated by Ewopean colonialism. It l e inherent conuadictions of Hountondji's position are obvious
is in tbis fundamental respect, then, that the struggle for Afcican free- however when he writes that
dom is not merely or simply a social, economic, or political "question"
of the Left. To be true to its own historicalness, the African struggle it must nm be forgotten that Iam he [Muumah] morc and morc
has to instinite an emancipatory tradition and discourse withii which openly d c d d hi deginnato rdcntifk sociaiism,that is m Mnn-
the political struggle-the smggle for African frcedom-can realize iam-lminism, &ou& of murse, witbout in any way qudiarllig
itself. At its fundament, thuefore, the suuggle for African freedom is the autbcntic African cuitural tradia0n.f'
an exploration of the interrupted historicalness of Africa and of the
ways in which the historicity of this Afcican historiealness can be Such a statemmt is nothing more than a htile attcmpt to square the
reclaimed and politically established." This, as we shall see in chaptu p m r b i d arde, since to subscribe to Marx's thought underswod.os
4, is the emancipamryproject that informs and suuctures Fanon's and 'scimtific socialism" or MPnosm-Leninism, one necessarily subscribes
Cabral's thinking. to an wolutionacy developmmral metaphysics of biitory-hlstorieol
Nkrumah's failure consists in his incapaaty to think through this matecialism-that placa Afnca at the lowest rung of an evolutionary
uucial and enigmatic dimension of the problem. nie specificity and ladder of developmmt and which fulhlls its 'objcctive" and singular
distinmive complwrity of the African situation escapes him. He views "human" telos in the historic wentuation of European modanity.
the question of African freedom in s m a economic Marxist-Leniniit In such a perspectivc-givcn the meaphysical struciure and logic
terms and thus reduces the smggle to a question of economic-political of the discoursc-one n e d y (gwd intentions notwithstandingl)
control. Once reduced in this mannu, thc African suuggle for frecdom subordinares Afcica to Ewope and "solves" Afcican problmis by im-
is then subsumed within the basic smcture of European social, politi- poaing Empean dwdopmmtal 'formulas," conmved and gmccatcd
cal, and economic concuns. It becomes merciy a European problem out of the singular historic cxperimce of European modernity. 'Ibis
in the "tropics," which thus requires Eumpean solutions which have appmach doea nothing more than replace the colonialist or neocolo-
been "properly" adapted to it. But can such adaptations be "properly" Nalist yoke with the yoke of the Commisar, armed 4 t h 'scim&c
adopted without risking the recolonizntion and indigmceof the indige- aosinl~m,"who aia to play out and replican in Africa the European
nous populace? What is the criterion and ground of the "propriayn historic and developmeatal expcriaxe 'pmperly adapd" to the tmp-
of the "proper" in this contextl ics. In the(~cffoitst h e g o o d - h d Comrade Commissardocsnothing
n i e African philosopher Paulin J. Hountondji points out that N h - more than pmlong and 'pmperly adoptn-in spite of himscif and in
mah's thought vacillates betwem an "early" Africaaist phaae and a
"later" Macxist-Leninist pcriod. By presenting what he calls a "histori-
j a new fomi-Enropun ~o~onipn.
in view of thc above thm,"sQentic socialism" or Mancism-Lcnin-
cist" reading of Nkrumah's work as a whole, Hountondji argues that B ism ig in the non-European wodd, a mrhless formula of devdopment.
40/Arican Philosophy

But what does "development" mean in this context? No more and no

less than the imposition of Westem ways and attitudcs under the guise
... thc most typical [of which] is the bogus mnception of 'nigRtude,' "
without a doubt, he has Senghor's idea of A w i t 4 in mind?'
of Liberation or "science." To paraphrase Heidegger, "development" A fcw ycars earlier, Nkrumah had dmounced the very idea of an
is the global Ge-stell (en-framing) of modern tedinology playing iwLf "Arican socialism," and &rring to Scnghor rejected al1 historico-
out and being manifested as &e perpetuation of European modemity's cultural particularity, embracing "scicntific sociasm" which he cate-
cultural and technological dominance of the Earthu It is this Ge-stell garically affinned is grounded on universal prinaples.m in * 'African
of European dominance, manifested as the "neutrality" and "objectiv- Socialism' Rcvisited" (1966) and in 'The Myth of the 'Third World' "
ityn of science and technology, that Africa must owrcome in order to (1968), Nkrumah systcmaticaUy opposed any form of dis~ctivcness
reclaim and carve out the existential, historical, and political spafc in or h i s t d c particularity. For him, such a thing as "African Socialism"
which to ground its freedom.
In what has been said thus far, we have rendered the Mantist-
is not possible, as if there could be a "socialism peculiar to Africa. . . .
in fact there W only one mie socialism: seientific sociali~m."~
Leninist interpretation of Marx's thought-namely, 'scientiic social- it is imperative to eniphasii that, in rejeccing Senghor's particular-
ism," endorsed by Nkrumah and Hountondji-questionable in tums ism (AHaitL),Nkmmah and Hountondji reject al1 cultural-hismric
of the "prior question" of African freedom.= It is dierefore necessary distinctiveness. And yet, wichout batting an eye they endorse "scimti6c
at this point to examine the polemical counterposition against which socidism": as if thii p c r p d v e was devoid of any distinctivenss
the views of the above two authors are articulated. We thus mto and cultural-historic speciliaty. As if, in 0th- words, thii particular
the Africanit or African Socialism of Senghor-the main polemical perspective and the historic ground (European modemity) on wbich
opponent of the two thinkers we have examined thus far. But what it stands and in which it is grounded were isomorphic with 'human
exactly is their attitude to Senghor? existencc" in the singular. As if, that is, European modernity, properly
For Hountondji, Senghor's Aficunit4 is nothing more than a sus- speaking, spelled the 'me" humanity of the human QS such!
tained effort to avoid the political questions of the anti-colonial strug- in order to M y grasp the mnsequences of the spell of European
gle. In contrast to Aim6 Csaire, who, according m Hountondji, uses modernity. let us examine one last passage from N k m a h ' s " 'African
Ngrfhtde for political ends, Senghor is eyaged in the systematic Socialism' Rnrisited," a donimcnt that, unlce some earlier w o r h of
elaboration of "artificial cultural problems." ' Hountondji's critique Nkrumah, is fdly endorsed by Hountondji.
of Senghor is basically an extension of his critique of the ethnographic
and documentary orientation in African philosophy. Scnghor is num- Soaalism depads on dialcctical and historical materialism, upon
bered first among the secular Ethnophilosophers. Aficunit.4, along the viw that then ir only one nanire subject in aU its manifestations
with the work of Kagame, Mbiti, and Ethnophiosophy as a whole, m natural iaws and that human socicty is, in this scnse, part of
is-except for Temples's work-pan of thc mystifying and mystified name and subject to its own iaws of development.
body of literature that goes by the name "African philo~ophy."~ In It is the elidnation of fanahilnas from sodalist action that maks
other words, Hountondji's uitique of Senghor is a speafication of hi sociaiism scimti6c. To suppoae that here arc mbal, national or
broader critique of Ethnophilosophy since Senghor himself, by his racial soaalisms is to abandon objectivity in favour of chau~inism.'~
expliat aiiegiance, is an Ethnophilosopher.
in l i e manner for Nkrumah, Senghor-in contrast to Julius Nyerere in the above two passsges, as in pmious ones. by renouncing al1
for example, who is also an advocate of African socialism-formulates culnual-hitoric particularity in the name of a "universalistic" social-
at the bundation of his notion of African socialism a "metaphysics ism which is Uscientiic,"Nkrumah surreptitiously universaiiies Euro-
of knowledgen-Akicanite-which is hdamentaliy antithetical to pean modernity-the cultural-historic "tribal, national, or racial"
"scienhfic soaalism."16 Thus, when in Claro Shuggle in Afica (1970) ground priveged and valorized by "dialectical and historical materi-
Nkrumah writes that the African bourgeoisie "for the most pan slav- alism."
ishly" foUows its European munterpvr with the exception of 'ertnin in endoming the absaact univcrsality of dialcctical and historical
ideologieswhich have devdoped specificallywithii the African context materialim Nkrumah is in etfccc and inadvertendy (ithc guise of
African Philosophy 143

this "abstracmess") doing nothing more than flag-waving for Europe. their difierenaa and the rcasona for thae differenm, which my
Thus, through Nkrumah and Hountondji-and in spite of their sincere opponmts have not yet done?'
African cultural nationalism-speaks the nineteenth-century evolu-
tionist and colonialist saentism of Friedrich Engels, the lifelong friend To be sure, the hrxist-Lcninists have, in their own way, answered
and systematic vulgarizer of Marx's work.ll this quedon. For them it h not a question of a "white" or a "bladrn
To "suppose" that there is a position bcyond allpositions isomorphic aviution marked-on the foundational level of ontological desaip-
and wterminous with realitymeing as sucb is fancihiliess to end all tion-by a qualitativediffemnce in kinds ohuman exismce. Rather,
fancy! This is, at the level of rhctoric, the theoretic b i d place of for the Marxist-Leninias ir is a question of the singular and quantita-
Stalism and of the leftist dictatorships of contanporary Africa. It tively uniform sequential unfolding of &e world-historical dialectical
is the delirium of a scientistic metaphysics in which Nkrumah and symbiosis of man and nature."
Hountondji are totally enguifed. In the wntext of the hismric subjuga- What Senghor sees as a qualitative difference in kinds of "civiliza-
tion of Africa by Europe the metaphysicsof thW Ewocentrism (s&iis- tionn between diffuing human groups-Indo-European, on the one
tic universalirm) is nothing more than colonialism in the realm and in hand, and Arab-&rber and Negro-African, on theother-the Mawst-
the guise of theory. Lcninist aplicates u a quantitative regrcssion or pmgression, an un-
i e t us now turn to the contrary perspective a r t i d t e d by Senghor, derdevelopment or dcvelopment,in the evolution of the sequential and
which basically is an Ethnophilosophical position grounded on an ontologically propcr relation of man to nature. This relation-the
essentialist pmticularism. As should be dear by now, the wntrary technical control of naturt-is ordered aefording to the singular dic-
perspectives of Nknunah and Senghor antiapate and lay the thematic tates of the hismrical dialectic and of strurnral transformation. The
ground for the debate in contemporaryAfrican philosophy, which was technical control of nanuc, or the la& thereof, is therefore, for the
outlined in the introduction to this study. As we shaii see, these two Marxist-Leninist, rhe singular and "me" yardstick by which the pro-
contradictory positions impliatly share a single Eurocentric metaphys- gression or regression of h u m groups and humanity as a whole
ics. In the process of probing Senghor's position, 1 will expose this is hismrically gauged and tabulated. But can such "things" as the
hidden metaphysical contluence behind the apparait surface political pmgression or regression of human groups be measured without pre-
antagonism. Ultimately, as 1 have already argued in the introduction, judging the evidence in the very act of tabulating it?
both of these parallel positions suffer from a failure m think through As we have aiceady seen in our discusion of Nkrumah andHounton-
the concrete histonaty of the contemporary African situation. dji, this Eumcenaic mctaphysical isomorphism, thii scientistic Miver-
salism, in the guise of "univemality" and "objectivity," surreptitiously
univeraazes Europe and subordinates Africa. i e t us now turn to
Senghor, and see how he answem the "prior question" of African
freedom: What are the people of Africa trying to free themselves from
Let us begin then by looking at how Senghor defends himself against and what are they trying to cstablish?
his Marxist-Leninist detractors. As aiready indicad, for Senghor, "there is a white European civili-
zation and a black African civization." It is in explaining and grasping
Young African intellectuals who have read Mam carelessly and the ontological gmunds for thii difference that Senghor answers the
who are stl not altogether nired of the infcriority complex given "prior question" of African freedom. The terms "white" and "blackn
them by thc colonizers, criticize me for having r e d d the African or Indo-Eumpean, on the one hand, and Berber-Arab and Negro-
mode of knowlcdge to pure emotion, for having denied that there African, on the other, are not merely exterior raaal designations.
was an African *rationalitynandan Afrim nduiology. Thcy muat Rather, thii taxonomic ordering o human kinds is, for Senghor, the
have read what 1 have witten as carclessly as they had rcad the ground on which the ontologiul diffenna, essentiality, and comple-
scientifiesociasts. lt is a fact that thue is a white European civiliza- mentarity of human races and civiutions h grounded3'
tion and a black African civilization. The question is to explain In conduding his talk, 'Constructive Elements of a Civilization of
African Negro Inspiration" (1959, Rome) at the Second Congress of does not mould them into rigid patterns by climinating thc m t s and
Negro-African Writers and Artists, Senghorobservcd that new "auton- the sap: it Bows in the arteria of rhings, it weds al1 their contours to
omous or independent States are being born in Negro Africa* and dwcll at the living heart of the real." In other words: "White reason
that is analyticthrough utikatiom Ncgro reason is intuitive through p d c -
ipationWYEuropean reason is thus discursive and utilitarian, it aims
freedom without consaousness is wone thnn slavery. .The most m control and aansform: The "European is empiric, the African is
smking thing about the negro pmples who have been pmmoted m mysti~."~'The European
autonomy or independence, is pr&Iy the hck of com-
of most of their chiefs and their disparagment of Negro-fiun aka p l e ~ in~ rreogwing
e the wodd thmugh the nproduean
cultural value~.~' ...
of the obiect the %can h m lmowing it v i d y through h g e
md rhythm. Wth the EaropePn the chorda of &e s m ~ lead
s m
The question of African freedom resolves icself, for Senghor, into the thehcutuidthehepd,~ththeMicPnNcgromthehepnd
question of how we are to "integrate Negro-Aficun valucrninto the the beUy.*
process of gaining independence. "Thm is no qucstion,' saysSengbor,
"of rwiving thepast, of livingin a Negro-African museum, the question The Africm
is to inspire this world, here and now. with the values of out past.'"
But what are these values? As Senghor had pointed out in, 'The Spirit dcu w t mze that he thinka: he feela that he aeels, he feels hb
of Civiluation or the Laws of African Negro Culnirc" (1956, Paris), ezimtte. he fecls h W ; md because he falr thc Other, he is
a central tcxt presented at the First Congress of Negro-African Writers drawn towds the other, into the rhytlm of the Other, to be re-
and Artists, these values are what charactcrize the humanity of the bom in knowledge of the wodd. Ihuc the aa of knowledgc k
human in Negro-African existcnce. an "ageanait of mnciliiitini" with thc worid, the simul-
The Negro-African has an ontological kinship, afhity, or bond with co~ousncssd creatini of thc world in its indivisible unity."
nature that is abscnt from European humanity. For Scnghor "&e Negro
is the man of Nature." As he puts it: "By tradition he [Le., the Negro] It is ncarsary to stress and emphasize that, for Senghor, the above
lives off the soil and with thc soil, in and by the Cosmos." He is "daaiptions" (ra&t hpu~tioILS?)of the Negro-Affican are not
"sensual, a heing with open senses, with no inrcrmcdia~~ betwmi m e d y hismricai and thus continguir characteristics of a particular I
subject and object, himself at once subject and object." For the Negro- culturc and hinory at a specific point in time. Rather, iust as the
African, this acwrd and immediacy to nature is " h t of all, sounds, Mamht-iminists present their conception of history as the timeless
scents, rhythms, forms and wlours; 1wouidsay that he is touch, before *truthn of history, in like mannet the above "desaiptions' an, for
being eye l i e the white European. He feels more than he sea; he feek Senghor, the abiding nanue of differing raees and cuitures. It is impera-
hiiself."37 This is the Being of the Negro-African-a d d e immediicy
in m e with nature. It is this docility and lyrical submissiveness to
tive m note h a e that Senghor is not articulating a view; rather, he is
allowiag himself the honor of bcing the passive vehicle for the self- 1
nature which Senghor values above al1 elsc as the rrue Being of the
Negro-African and he postulates it as the essentid defining characteris-
aniculation of the "auth" of human cxistence as such.
Epistemically speaking, of murse, one can always ask: 1s this humii-
tic in and for the humanity of the human in African existcnce. lis
then is Africunit!
ity or mgance? Or is it m g a n c e masqucrading as humility? In
other words, as Senghor puts it: "Nanirc has arranged things wcll in
Between the European and the African there is a qualitative ontologi- 1 willing that each people, each racc, ea& continent, should dtivate
cal difference in kinds of rationality. The Negro is "not devoid of with speaal affection certain of the v h e s of man; that is p&dy
reason, as 1 am supposed m have snid. But his reason is not discursive: whae otiginalityLie~."~ But from what ''extra-natural" vant~gepoint
it is synthetic. It is not antagonistie: it is sympathetic. It is another d a Sen* *dghtw thb *ou<bw?This is a question that doe8 not
forrn of knowledge. The Negro teason does not impoverish thimgs, it and cannot occur to the philosophet of Aficunit preasely because,
46/Afncon Philosophy

as we shall see, his thinking is enveloped and specified within the tions-as in 1956and 1959, and in the paper 'tatinity and Ngrimde"
Otherness of the Other as projected by Europe's own metaphysical of 1 9 6 k as a polemical d e k of dUs pooition-as in 'NCgritude:
and delusionaryself-conception. It is within this Eurocenmc projection A Humanism of the Twcnticth Cennuy" (1970).The views presmted
that Africanit is encased and thus essentially consti~ted. in thcse occasional papas, howevu, are not themselves transient posi-
In this epistemically suspen "view" then, Africa is to "cultivate" tiow. ney are, as we have noted above, Senghor's measured response
its own most intuitive reason and Europe its own most discursive to the founding "prior questionn of Aftican fmdom.
reason! Therein lies the "originality" and the "uuen-ontologically Smghor systematicallydefmds hese views in: On Afrim SocUilim
speaking-essential wmplementarity of ea&. Why does one thhk of (1961), The Foundiaim of A f h n & or "Ngnft<demand "Arabibi"
Lucien Levy-Bruhl as one reads these lines? 1s it at al1 possible that (1967), and in Pmse and Po* (1976), an anthology of his work
Senghor is trying to pass off Levy.Bruhl's racism as AfricanW?" prcparcd with his active assistancc and collaboration.These hst three
The European in wnfronting "the object, the exterior world, nanuc, tans are not mere ocasional fomulations, but substantial articula-
the Other. . Armed with precision instruments ... dissects it with tions of Senghor's position.
a ruthlws analysis." The African on the other hand "sympathizes and Now, afta Edward Said's O r h d i m and V. Y. Mudimbc's The
identifies himself . . . dies to himself in order to be reborn to the Other. Znvnrtion of Africu, it is dificult m seriously engage Senghor's Afri-
He is not assimilated; he assim'lotes himself with the Other. He lives cunig, for it is nothing more than the ontologizing of Euroeentric
with the Other in symbiosis; he is born again (con-dt)to the Other."" ideas p r o j c d and pcesented as the African's own self-conccption.
The African-Negro's "sympathetic" knowledgeof the Other is immedi- Said and Mudimbe pment a systematic and aitical unpachg of the
ate, as Hegel would say. I&S in-born, born-with (con-di:), and direft. prejudgments that Gnstinia thaie ideas. Smghor, on the orher hand,
It is natural, instinctive, and intuitive. The ontological difference that like a good Orientalist, Orienralues. or bemr still, Africanites the
marks off the Negro-African from thc Indo-European is, for Senghor Afrim;" And al1 this in &e name of Aftican fmdom.
in Hegelian terms, immediacy. It is the lack of a self-differentiated Without aitically unpncking the negative desaiptions of thc Afti-
conscious freedom, reflective rnediacy, and detachment from the object can-which constitute the Otherne~sof the Other-offcred by the
or oneness with nature. Of course, as is well known, such a being for ethnographic and anthmpologicll sourccs he rebrs to, Senghor over-
Hegel, properly speaking, wuld not be human." Humanity, in Hegc- whelms hi rcadcr with 'faas and figures." The Eurocenmc prejudg-
lian terms, is constituted by a sublated and mediated differentiation rnents out of whicb these "facm and figures" are construcrcd, howwer,
of subject (humanity)and objen (nature).It is precisely for this "rea- he does not question. Basing himself on the racialist and racist ethnog-
sonn that Hegel, in the intmduction to his Philosophy of History, raphy of Count de Gobiaeau, on the nebulous spedations of the
places Africa beyond the bounds of human avilization proper. Catholic philoaopher Teilhard de Chardin, and the colonialist ontolo-
The values of Afdcanit are: intuitive or tactiie spontaneous reason, @ng of Father Plaade Temples, Senghor is happy to constnict an
sensation, sensuousness, instinct, feeling, rhythm, imagc, ueativity, Akican-Negro (and by exkmion a Berber-Arab) eswncc?' How does
imagination, naturalness, immediacy (athletic prowess? satualness? Senghor achievc this miradous marvel? He shply takes negative
animality?).Thus, in art, "the kingdom of diddhwd whcrc N&gitude Eurocenrric desaiptiow and pm - them as positive Negroantric
is King," writes Senghor, shamelessly paraphrasing the raaalist and rnanibtations of an ontological diffemcc in and for the being of the
racist Count de Gobineau, we have nothing to learn from Europe.' Negro-African.
This then is a sampl'mg of Senghor's AficunW whicb he characterizes As far back as 1952,in Black Skm, WhVbitcMusks, Fanon had convinc-
as the *sum of the cultural values of the black world."" ingiy argucd that thc Eurapcan 'sees" the Negro-African and pastes
1 hope my reader will forgivc the extensive and incssant quoting on him an lmage of Othancss that nccds to be critically peded off
ofrather offensive material, but the widence, su& as it is, has first to be and rcjec~I.'~Quite m the contrary. Senghor pastes and rcpastes,
presented beforewe can unpack Senghor's internalizcd and ontologized and thus perpetuatea this very imagc. He unaiticplly piemita racist
racism. It is important to begin by noting that al1 the rcfuenea @ven Eurocmtric dcscripdonr a# positive m&tations of thc hecan's
thus far are to occasional papers presented eitha as positive elabora- Being-in-theworld.
48/Afrimn Philosophy Afnwn Philarophy/49

Senghor does not see that these descriptions are always stmctured Thw one cnds with a tylmlogy-bad on a real specifiaty, but
within parameters which are interna1 to an evaluative prejudgment dctached from history, ad,cokqumdY,m a i w d beiog~tan-
that takes Europe as its measure and standard. Within the bounds of gible, essential-whieb malresof <he smdied "objm" another being
this biased gaugc-the Eurocentric descriptions which Senghor appro- with mgard to whom the studying subjm is transcenduit; m wiU
priates-the African is always already theinferior, theotherof Europe, havea homo Sias. a homo Arabicus (andwhv mt a homo A.a?vo-
since Europe is, de facto and de jure, the nonn. Or as Said p u s it: ticus, m.),a homofricanw, the m & h e 'normal man," %*S
undenmod-bdng the European man of the historial pmod, that
is, sina G m k antiquity."
Can one divide human re+ty, as indced human renlity snms to be
genuinely divided, into dearly d i a m t nilcum, histories, tradi- in othcr words, thc Oriencalist's imagc of the Otherncss of the Other,
tions, soaeties, even raas, and survive thc consequenceshumanly? or in o w case, Senghor's conccption of AfncM't.+ is internally struc-
By surviving the consequcnces humady, 1 mcan to a& whether tured and overdetcrmined by the mctaphysical assumption that the
there is any way of avoiding the hostity upressed by the dividon,
say, of mcn inm "usn (Westerners)and "thcy" (Orientals [or Afri- European is, properly speaking, "unlike the Oriental [or Negro-Afri-
cans]). For such divisions are generatities whose use hislorically and can]," the 'uue human bemg." This, as Said affirrns, is the purcst
actually has been to press the importance of rhe distinctionb e e n example of "dchumanizcd thought."*' It is dehumanized because this
some men and some 0 t h men, usuay mwuds not espwally kind of "thinlllngn is ulrimately grounded on nothing other than bmte
admirable ends. When one uses ategoties like Oriental [ A f n M t i q force and violencc, sinfe al1 the h g e s and wnccptions of "hornon
and Westun as both thc starting and the cnd poinb of anaiysis, Sicus, Aegypticus, Arabicus, Africanus, etc., i n d u d i i Scnghor's Af-
researdi, pubcpolicy ...tberesulris usuaiiy topolarizeh e distinc- ricnnit, are fnmed and inaugurated out of the politiw-historic hori-
tion-the Oriental bewmes morc Oriental, the Wesmner more zon of a violently impuialistic Europe.
Western-andlimit the human encounterbecwcen diffcrcnt culnues, The Orientalist, as Said d l s us without querying this central point
traditions, and societies." further,17and the European wloninlipt-from whom Senghor inherits
all of his descriptionsof Afrhnit6-sm from the belief that European
Senghor's strategy for overcoming the consequences of this division existente is the "tnic" and "propan manifestation of humanity in its
"hwnanly" is to ontologicaiiy sanction it. in other words, when Sen- concrete developmcntal self-realization. This belief is grounded on &e
ghor encounters those famous (infamous?)pages of Hegel's introduc- metaphysical delusion, interior to their culmre, that Europe's speafic
tion to the Philosophy of History, whcre Hegel "characterius" the particularity is the 'me" and "proper" actuality of human existeme
primeval savagery of the African Negro, he would have to agree with as such. But on what metaphysical &non does this daim rest?What
al1 the basic descriptions-rninus some "minorn outrageous allusions is the ground of thi Ewocentric isomorphism? In other words, what
to cannibalism-and go on ta properly redescribe and appmpriatc the is the ground on which is established the 'propriety" of the 'pmpcr*
negative attributes that Hegcl pastes on the Negro-African as positive in this gratuimus rnctaphysid E u r o p n self-evaluation?Strange as
endowments of Afiicunitk." To be sure, as Panon points out-squarely it may secrn, it is Scnghor-thc champion of Afncmcit and Negro-
confronng Said's larger and more imponant question-the only way ness-who will supply us with the positive metaphysical ground for
to overcome this division and its wnsequcnour "humanly" is to recog- this bogus Ewocenaic daim.
nize "the reciprocal relativism of differcnt cultures, once the colonial As Senghor tclls us in Thc Pounahtionr of Afn'cunit, Dr. ieakey
status is irreversibly excluded."" discovered in 1963, in the Olduwai Valley of TPnzania, the remains
Senghor's blidness to the racism of his s o m s is grounded in a of Homo habilis. This is a disoovery of 'capital importance" precisely
shared metaphysics. Said points out that the Orimtaiist's thinking or, because
in terms of our present disnission, Senghor's thinking, the thinking of
the philosophcr of Aficmcit, of the "Platonic Idea"" of Negro-ness, Homo habik a the fint Hano fnbn, morc simply, the 6rst man
is pounded on idealied strucnuu. As Anwar Abdel Maiek puts it: wonhy of <henune te eniage fmm d d i t y , sin- it is at bis M
and mived with his f o s s i l i bona that the a r l i a t pebble mols To be sure, as Saighor consoles us, humanity as su&, at some leve1
were discovered. ihese seem to have beni made by him?' or other, shares in 'discursivc ream."No 'aviiization can be buh"
he tcUs us, 'without using discunivc rcason and without techniques."
It is crucial that we properly grasp what Senghor says of this dkovery. in fact, "every ethnic p u p possessu differmt aspects of reason and
Homo habilis is 'the rst man worthy of thc name to cmerge from al1 thc vi- of man, but eucb bus srressed only one aspect ofreuson.
animality." Why? Because it is *at his level" that we nd 'the earliest only certamvirtues."~Inother words, the 'aspect" which is "strcssed"
pebble tools." In other words, the humanity of the human in the in the indo-European and which species its particdar humanity is
habilis (handy) is grounded on the ongiaative fact that it is the earliat that which, properly spcakhg, institum and grounds the humnnity
manifestation of man the maker-Horno fuber. 11 is ispebblemols," of the human as such. The particularity of the particular in European
early and rudimentary manifestations of a manipulative-pragmatic humanity-unlike thc s&6c particularity of the African-is mina-
orientation to namre, that confirm the humanity of the human in dent with the universality of the universal. Europe is thus, properly
Homo habilis. speaking, the 'auth" of humanity. But then, whcn Senghor advocam
n other words, "making" is here understood not as artistic creativ- the "symbiosis" and complementaity of diae two different kiads of
ify, but as pebble tools, elementary and rudimentary products of a reason, is he not advocating the subordination of Africa to Europe on
utilitarian-pragmatic orientation aimed at thc insaumental use and metaphysical grounds?
manipulation of nature. The question then bewmes: On what kind O n Afnarn Socialism is the text in which Senghor engages in an
of reason or rationality is such a utilitarian and pragmatic orientation extended and sysmatic confcontation with Marxism-Leninism. The
based? 1s it discursive or intuitive? The impon of this quution ep in overall oricntation of this nxt is to advocatc a soalism in ntne with
the fact that, for Senghor, Leakey's diswvery established the initial the Being of the Negro-African, a socialism which takes into account
originative point of emergence of humanity proper out of the realm the nature-immersed Bemg of the African-Negro?' But, givcn what
of "animality." This, furthermore, was pmvoked and called forth has becn said thus far, one might well ask: 1s thii not a soaalism of
by the act of "making" grounded on a technical and instrumental inferiority and subordination?
orientation to the natural environmuit, ir., on discursivc reason. Scnghor tells us that thc Europan 'always separared h k i f from
As Senghor teUs us, reaffirming what we have already seen in his the objcct in order to know t. He kcpt it at a distancc ...
he always
occasional publications, the killed it and h e d it in hii analysis to be able m use it in practi~e."~'
Thc Negro-African, on the other han& is "like one of those Third
Indo-Eumpean and Negro-Afnm wcre p l a ~ dat the antipodu, Day Wonns, a pure eld of sensati~ns."'~in other words, UEuropean
that is m say, at the m e n m of objenivity and subjenivity, of reasoning is analytical, discursivc by utilization; Negro-African -n-
di~ursivercason and intuitive rcason [and he has] ...
advocated ing is imitive by participation."u The one is aggressive, it p p s and
the symbiosis of these different but complementary clement~?~ controls; the other is docile and hannoniously in m e with nanue.
And yet, the above notwithstanding, for Senghor the true and
As has alteady bten noted, the Negro-African's mode of knowldge
is intuitive, and as sudi, it is the extreme manifestation of "subjectiv- proper charactcrisric of Man [as sudi] is m snatch himself from
ity." On the other hand, Indo-Ewpeao reason is discursive, and as the ea& ... to escape in an act of fnedom iom h s 'namral
su&, it is the extreme manifestation of "objectivity," aimed at the detuminntions.' It ir by libeny that manconqucrsnanve and recon-
instrumental control of nature. Hence, based on what has been said structs it on a universal s d c , that man realizes himself as a god,
thus far, it is Indo-Eumpean humanity which, properly ~ e a k i n gis, this is frcedom."
embodimentof "me" humanity as such. This i so preasely because its
reason-discursive reason-is the kind of reason which rst extricatcs
and disentangles the humanity of the human out of the nalm of 'ani-
1 rim c+plore ...
What then o<u c qui~n'mi jamais rien invente. . qui nnontjamair
qui n'ont jamuir ricn dompte," but who abandon
mality." themselves "a l'essmce de toute c h o ~ e " ?Can
~ we reaUy say 'Eia"
(Hurray!) to those who are still immersed withm the bowels of nature The contrary perspectivcs of Nkrumah and Senghor thematically
and without deception, duplicity, or hypoaisy hnld on to the above antiapate, within the diamurac of the African libcration stniggle, the
conception of freedom? stuile dispute of Ethnophidosophy and its "critical" critics. As Okolo
Doesn't Senghor-on his own terms-surreptitioudy privilege dis- has obmed, 'on the stridy philosophicplane"this Ys the expression
cursiveiEuropean in contradishction to i n n i i t i v ~ ~ A f r i c rca-
an of a problematic that oscillaus between a naive Ethnophilosophy and
son? What is meant here by the "proper characteristicof Man"? 1s it an unproductive aitiasm."" In this con- "unproductive critiasmn
not in terms of what is "proper to Man" that European philosophy describes not only the c u m t status of debate in African philosophic
systcmatically legitimated the conquest and subjugationof Africa and thought but aiso and more important, thc neocolonial impotenccwhich
the non-European as "savage." For now al1 we need to note Ir that pervades the continent aa a whoie and which has been dramatized so
for Senghor, in perfea accord with Hegel: the savage is he whose well in die f ih and novela of Sembme Ousmane."
humanity is within the bounds of "naturai determinations,"" he whose In concrete politial tems, chis failure at 'opposite extremes" mani-
humanity is not manifested as the systemicconquest of nature, he who fcsts itaelf idmtically as the impotaicc of neocolonial A f r i a ~ .lt~is
does not, in Senghor's words, 'snatch himself from the eanh." thc enigma of &a xala (ipotencc in Wolof). in the prolonged and
In other words, Afiicanit-on its own terma-describes the human- aaimonious dispute between Pmfersionai and Ethnophilosophy,
ity of the human in Negro-African wistmcc as pmnitive w a g y . As which encompaaser the contemporary discoursc of African philosophic
we noted with Said and Abdel Malek, al1 of thc desaiptions that thought. As we have seen, what both of &ese scemingly contrary
constitute Afiicanith are composed and inwardly determined in contra- positions la& is an awarcnessof their lived historiaty and the requisite
distinction to the "proper charact&tic of Mann-the humanity of historicizing of thcir thought which goes with such an awarcness.
the human as historically epitomized by Eumpe. As should be obvious As Heidcggcr has insighddly observcd, appropriating Count
by now, it is discursive reason which is the gmund for that which is Yorck's remarks:
the "proper characteristic of Man." h, for Suighor, appcaranccs
notwithstanding, the "propricty" of the 'proper"-that which is the Jwas phye.iology cmnot be smdied in abstranion from physicr,
"norm" for humanity as a wholc-is cstabliihed by the hiitoricalness -&hm & phil&phy from h*toriality-cspccialiy if ir is a critica1
ahilosonhv.Behivhor and hiscorieaiitvare I*e bm<hinnaod aano-
of European existence. We have now come hll circle: We are again
in the company of Marxism-Leninism.
sphaic p-un ...
r - ~ - - - ~ ~ = ~ ,
it sea^ m me mkhodologidy & a reriduc
fium metaphysim not m his&cize onc's philosophizing."
In our disnission o Nkrumah and Hountondji, we saw how the
Marxist-Leninist position meraphysically privileges European moder- in thii chaptu, in looking at Nkrumah and Senghor, 1 have located
nity by obliterating the specifiaty and particularity of thc African in the ground for the hiatoricallysighdessdebate of contemporary African
the name of a universalistic scientism. Senghor achieves an anaiogous phi;wophy in the thearetic legaq of the African liberation s&e.
result by construaing the Bnng of the Afri-Aficanit-out of Thi debatehas thus hrdominated the diamurscof African philosophic
the Otherness of the Other projectcd by Europe and i n d y demar thought. Beyond thii dispute, however, African philosophy needs to
cated by it as the negative exterior of Europe's own positive interiority. enplec the unendinasaifeand the debitatingxala of our post-colonial
Smghor's essentialistpar'cularism arrogates to the African a diffcr- p&&t. in view of &e above, and taking rnicue h r n the hismrically
ence which is (in spite of Senghor's "good" intmtions) thc ground for astute petspectivcs of Fanon and Cabrai, in the followingtwo chapars
inferiority and servitude. Nkrumah and Hountondji on the other hand, 1wiil acploretheviolmce (chapru 3)and the ananapatory possibidities
"objectively" place the African on the lowcst rung of an evolutionary- (chapcer 4) of the postsolonial African situation.
metaphysical ladder, itself constmcted out of the generative biases and How our explorations, thus far, have steered and guided us in this
prejudgmmts that ground the s p d a t y of European modemity. in direnion should by now be de-. Por, ultimately, to 'historicim one's
both of the above "opposed" positions this is a failure by default. It phiiosophizingwis to make one's phiiosophic reflections sensitivc to
is the incapacitym think through the concrete historidty of contempo- the hismddty out of *di they originatc-that is, to resuscitate and
rary Afncan existence. 1: explore the conccm grounded in out own iived hiimrical existence.

Colonialism and the Colonized
Violence and Counter-violence

Tribes living exclusively on hunting or fishing are beyond

the boundory line from which real [historical] develop-
ment begins.
-Karl Marx
From lntroduaion to a Critique of Political Economy,
Isoy, listen to my words ond mark them. We have fought
for a ywr. I wish to rule my country and protect my reli-
gion. We hove both sufered considerobly in b d l e with
one onother. I hwe no forts, no houses. I have no culti-
vatd fields, nosilver or gold for you io take. If the county
was cultivafd or contained houss or property, it would
be worth your while to fight. The country is al1 iungle, ond
that is no use to you. If yau want wood ond stone you can
get them in plenty. There ore olso ant-heops. The sun is
very hot. All you can get from me is wor, nothing else.
4 0 y y i d Mohamed Abdille Hossen
Somali anti-coloniolist leoder 1899-1920
From an 'Open Letter to h e English People"

i the violenoc of Africp's cncounar with Europe through which
the "dark" contincnt was intmduocdinm the modun world, the q u e
tion of violma should havc a cclltral imporrancc fot thc dimurse of
contemporary African philosophy. And ya, m date, African philoso-
phen have not pmperly dealt with ot cven engapd thc question. To
rny howledge the only mnsin AnglophoneAfrieathat d i i y address
56 / Colonialism ond the Colonizad Cdonialism and he Cdonized 157

this issue are: a short paper by Kwasi Wiredu titied, -The Question relation witb its Other-the colonized non-European world Csaire
of Violence in Contemporary African Potical Thought" (1986); and observes that
a slender booklet by Henry Odera Oruka titied, Punishment and Ter-
rorism in Africa (1976).' Both of these texts are rather formalistic Eumpc .is unablc m justify i d cithcr beforc the bar of 'reason'
tracts that do not engage, let alone propedy explore, the question o or befon thc bar of 'wnscimcc"; and that, inaeasingly it rakcs
violence in the context of the historiaty out of which it arises. rruge in a hypaaiPl which is a l thc more odious because it is less
Wiredu's paper is a concise tactical discussion of the utility and and l a likely to decci~e.~
value of violence, as mnaasted to nonviolent methods, in the contcxt o
the anti-colonial struggle. But does the question of violence historically In referring to 'reasonn and "consciente" asaire indicaes that he is
pose itself in this way? Omka's booklet, on the other hand, is an engaged in an interna1and immanent critique. Europe 1s fowid wanbng
analytic discussion of crime and punishment that advocates leniency on its own terms, by the v e y criteria it uses m exarnally evduate
and a curative pedagogical approach to viilainy. But can the question and mndemn the humanity of the non-Eumpean as uncivized and
of punishment be queried without looking at the grounds-political primitive.
and historical-for the legitimacy of the punishing authority? Por asaire, colonialism and the hypocrisy that 1s necded to justify
In both cases the historicity out of which the question of violencc it are predicated on "intemai ruisons* that impel European modernity
arises in contemporary Afnca is siientiy ignored. This chapter is an to 'umnd to a world scaie the competition o its antagonistic econo-
attempt to redress this deficiency. Based on Frantz Fanon's serninal mies."' In pointing to intemai ewnomic reasons, Csaire makes clear
reflections on violence, it hopes to engage the question in and out o that he presupposes a dassical Mantist-Leninist analysisof impcridim
the historicity of Africa's encounter with Europe.' Why so? Preasely and wlonialism. As is well known, a year later, in conjunctiou with
because thii encounter was, in its vuy natun inherently violent and hii mignation from the French Communist Party, he gives us, in
had, for the actuality o contemporary Africa, a transfiguring and addition to thc above, a much more substantial and non-Eumcentric
defining impact. reading of the relationship of the colonized to Europe.
The importance o thii historically attentive approach es in the In his Lctter to Maurice Thonz (1956) he assem, against the univer-
ha that it takes its point of departure from a grounding and neccssary salizing and hegemonic potic~of the European Left, that the huida-
fact of our contemporary African historiaty. This concrete situatedness mental concm of the mlonizcd is to retake the initiative o history:
of our present is the origin of its reflective engagement. In other words, to again become historical Be. it is to negate the negation of its
it stam from and grounds itself on the violent inception of its own lived hismricalness and overcome the violence o merely being an
present enigmatic condition. object in the historiaty of Eutopcan ewistence that the colonized fights.
In view othe above this chapter will be composed of three d o n s . Thus, it is the inter-implicativedidectic of thi primordial vionce,
The h t section will place the question of violence within the historiaty and the counter-violence it evokes, that we need to wncretely grasp.
of Africa's encounter of Europe. The second section wiU explore this For this Y the lived historiaty out of which the actuality o violence
encounter by utizing, for this purpose, Fanon's originative discussion
I prescnts i d f in the non-Europea world and thus in contemporary
oviolence in the first section of The Wretched of the Earth. The third Africa. As Edward Said insighthtlly observes:
section will wnclude by suggesting the pprspect-which will be the
central focus of chapter 4 - o f negating thc enduring violence of colo- 1mpenPlism W D ~the theory, coloniasm the practice of changing
the uselessly unoc~upicdnrritories of thc world into uxfd ncw
nialism and neocolonialism in the consolidation of the concrete possi- vcrsims of thc Eumptan metropolitan Meicty. Everything in thm
biities of the African liberation struggle. terrimriu that sugguted [dikrenee] waste, disordcr, unwuntcd
reaourcu, waa to be wnvcmd into pmduccivity. ...
You gcr nd
of moa of thc offrndiag human and animal bli&t ...you conhe
h e rcst m rauvations, wmpounds, nativc ho&and, w k you
Aim Csaire opens hii Discourse on Colmialh (1955) by noting can wunt, rps use them pmfitably, and you build a new s o c i q
that interior to the essential consti~tionof Europcan modernity is the on the vacated apace. Thua was Europc rewnstitutcd abroad its
58/ Cdonialm and ha Colonizad Cobnidm and he Colonired159

"multiplication in spacc" successfuyprojecnd and managed. The t d s us, thii is the i m g e the colonialist wants to belicve and wants
result was a widely varied group of litde Europes throughout Asia, others to believe about him.'
Afica, and the Amenas, each reiiceting the arcumstanw, the In fact, as Mudimbe has correctlypointedout, the colonizig venture
speafic insmimentalities of the pvmt culhue, ib pioneem, its van-
guard senlers. Al1 of thun werc similar in one other major respea- of Europe in Africa has always bcm and cannot but be a twobld
despite the differences, which wue considerable-and that was that mission of spiritual and carthly dominion disguised, even m itself, as
their life was camed on with an air of nomli2y.' an evangelic and civilizing mission to the world.' In other words:

Missionnry spach W alwaya predctcrmined, prereguiad, l u us say

The first a a of freedom that the colonized engages in is the attcmpt colowcd. . ..This W God's d& for the convemion of the world.
to viohntly disrupt the "normality" which Eumpean colonial society ...This mcans, at Icast, that che missiomry does not enar inm
presupposes. The tranquil existence of the colonizer is grounded on
he incarnim.
dialogue with h e pagano. . but must impose the law of God that
... God is rightly entided m the use of aU p d b l e
the chaotic, abnormal, and subhuman cxistcnce of the colonized. n i e
"new socicties" that replicate Europe in the non-European world are meana, cvm violaice, m achieve his objccti~es.'~
built on "vacated spacen which hitherto was the uncontested tema
finna of d'ierent and differing peoples and histories. Convcnicntly,European colonial consaousness saw itself in the image
The dawn and normalcy of colonial soaety-Le., the binh and of fullillingboth the demanda of Cod and &e requirements of civilid
establishment of the modern Europeanized world, as Karl Marx a p human e&tcnce. in colonizing, the missionary-or generally spePI<Uig
provingiy points out in the first few paga of the Commmist Mmi- the Christian European-is not violating or transgressing on non-
festo-is grounded on the negation of the c u l d d i f h c e and speci- European culnucs. Rather, he is r e d i g divine providence, thc mis-
ficity that constitutes the historicity and thus humanity of the non- sion bestowed on the twelve apodes by Chtist: to spread the faith m
European w ~ r l d European
.~ modemity establishes itself globally by the four comers of the globe.
violently negating indigenous culnues. This violence in replication, Thw, colonial wnsaousness, in the very act of conquest is itself
furthermore, accentuates the regressive and despotidarismcratic as- spelibound by its own spiritual andeanhly myths. In Rudyard Kiplig's
pects interna1 to the histories of the colonizing European sodeties. poignant words:
In imposing itself Europe cannot keep faith with the central m e t s
of its own bourgeois democratic huitage. In fact, paradoxically, the Tnke up the whin Man's burden-
Smd forth the best ye bmd-
colonies are the negation of this heritage in the veryaaof "duplicating" Go bind your son8 m d e
it. European democracy in the colonies is unabashed f a s ~ s mApart-.~ To sem your captives' need;
heid South Africa, British Kenya, and French Alguia are paradigmatic To wait in heavy hamesa
examples of this contradiction. in o r d u to verify this obsuvatioa, a On % u m dfok and w i l b
one needs to do is compare the life of the colonized African unda Your new-cau&t, sdcn peoples,
European democracies and avowed fasast dictatorships. French Alge- Half devil and ha child."
ria and the Portuguese colonies, British Kenya and ltalian Eritrca,
despite their many differences and in differing ways, are identical in A6 Mudirnbc's a a u n t indicates, andas the above shows, theEumpean
their respective disparagement of the indigcnous historicity. takes hmself as the n o m of human uristcnce per se and imposes hii
In al1 of this, it has to be noted that Europe-fasast or democratic- own partidarity as univusal on thc non-European who is viewed as
undertook the domination o the world and Africa not in the explicit "half devil and haif &d." Notice thc dcar and dean concurrcna of
and cynical recognition of its economic-colonialiit interest, but in the God's work and the utigenacs of Eumpean expansion. Givm this
delusion that it was spreading civilizationand beniaally Christianiz- "coinadence," European colonial consaousness, in contrast to themk
ing the globe. For the wlonialist consciousness, coloniasrnis an altru- of us, m n o t but aee itself aa thc vicnr of the m e rcvealed faith.Thc
istic and generous self-sacricingpmject. At least, as Alben Memmi epismnic untenability of this b l i d bclief is the metaphysical w u n d
O / Colonialbm and the Colonizd Coloniaiii and h e Colon'd / 61

on which the colonialist projea, both in i a sacrcd and secular manifcs- rubrimng in other ianL which are either dcfiauit m the goods
tations, rests. Indeed, it goes without saying, the "devil" has to be it has overpmduccd, or dse generally backward in induaay."
exorcized and the "childn has to maturel"
E l a b o r a ~ ga secular variant of the above from within the engaged Colonialist expansion is pmcnted by Hegel as the ideal solution m
discourse of the "materialist conception of history," Karl Marx wmte the i n d and i I I h e ~(i.e.,
t 'neccssary") contradictions of Eutopcaa
in 1853: modunity. h, nrritories which do not suffer from the peculiarly
modern Europun problem of "overproduction" are labeled "generally
England, it is m e , in causing a social molution in Hindustan, wac bnckwird in i n d u q " and rhnrby b m e the legitiman pny of
actuated only by the vilest intuests, and waa stupid in her manner coloniasc conquest. Eicpansion and 'systematic ~lonization"'~di-
of enforcingthun. But that is not thc queation %e queti011M, can re& by the statc are, in this scenuio, the process by which culnue
mankind [m the singular] fulftll its d n y [in dic singular]without and civiihtion an sprad. What is siluitly left out of &S picnue is
a fundamental revolution in the social e.tatcof M a ? If not, whanver the ha that this globDLizPtionof Europcan avizationpresupposes and
may have been the cdmcs of En%& she rhe meonrdour ir gmunded on &e systemic destruction of non-Eutopean civiutions.
too1 of hktory in bringing about that revolution. %m, whntevet Like Mnrx-who M WIf,in this respea, Hcgel's faiW disa-
biuuncas the spemde of the crumbng of an andent world may ple-but f o c u d on the self-unfolding of Weltgeist (world-spirit),
have for our personal Mings, we have the nght, m point ofhiaory
to exclaim with Goethe: Hegel also thinks of humanity and history (m the singular) as the
phenomeaal manifestation of G& (spirit), and European culture and
hismriaty as the proper and highest illusuation of chis world-historical
Should this tomue thcn tonnmt ur proaas." For Kipling, Marx, and Hegel, in keeping with thc critical
Sima it brin@ us greater pleoaurc?
Were not throuuh the d e of imur
Souls devoured without measure?"
self-consciousness and self-conaption of Euopean modernity, colo-
nialism is seen as a required and necessary snp in the unfolding of
world history." In this regard theopinions of David Hume and Imman-
uel Kant, the pivotal pcecumors of nineteenth-cenniry Eutopean
What has to be noted in these lines-which applics not only to india thought, are of cardinal impoctance. For as Hume pua it:
but to the test of the non-European world as a whole-is that Marx
is not bl'ind to the hypocrisy and bmtaiity of British or European nile. 1 am apt m suapcct the negros, and h general a the othu s p d a
In fact he recognizes in detail, in his &des on India, as well as in of men (fotthue are four or five i v e t lrinds) to be n a d y
chapters 26 and 31 oCapital. vol. l, theviolena upon which Eumpean inferiorM whiw.mere neM was a avizcdnation of any complut-
expansion is grounded. in point of "history," however, and in terms ion than whitc.
of the singular "destiny" of "mankind," the desuuctive violence of
European wnquest and expansion are exonerated. This is so prechely
because the violence of colonial conquest makes possible a "fundamen- In cangorical agreement with the above, Kant asseru that
tal revolution in the social state" of thc non-European world, .e., it
brings about the forced but necessary and propitious globaliiation of so undamental M the diffcmce bnwetnthe two faces of men, and
Europe." it appears m be as geat in rcgard to mental capaaties as in color."
In like manner, reflecting on the socio-economic dialectic interna1
to European modernity, G. W. F. Hegel wrotc in 1821: in view of the above, as Father Plaade Temples puts ir, "our civilizing
mission alone can justify our ofcupation of the lands of uncivilid
This inner dialenic of civil socicty [i.s, of European modemity] peoples.nm Notice the cornlation bemeen Uoccupation"-i.e.. unmiti-
thus drives it-or at any ratc a apedc c i d aodcty--M pwh beyond gated violen-d Europe's "civilizing mission." Colonial violence
its own limin and seek markets, and so im ~ccrsmymenns of sees ieelf as character-forming chastisement and in this u n e q u i v d y
62 / Colonialism and the Colonized ColonMlim and ihe C d o n i d / 63

adheres to Arismtle's self-serving dicnim that "slavesstand even more sion of Europe is cxpcrienad as the unabashed dawn of systcmatic
in need of admonition than children."" and organized global violence. Thii is a violence that closes off the
Just as for the Greeks the barbarian was the legitimate objea of different and differing culturai and historial totalities wirhin which
enslavemenfn in like manner European modernity sees itself as the the non-European exisn. i h e 'little Europes" throughout Asia, &a,
Hellas of the m o d a age. Colonialist violence justifies itself in its own and thc Americas arose out of chis primordial colonizing ~iolence.~
eyes by its "progressive," "civilizing," and "christianiziig" "mission" Theun-freedomin which Africa is pccscntly entangledis thus direcdy
to the world. As Alan Ryan correftly points out: cooted in European dominancc. This is what Csaire refecs to as thc
"peniliarity of our histo Laad with terrible misfortunes which be-
Gr& and Roman philosophers thought b i s t o ~was ~ cyccai and long to no other hisa,ry.'We n a d now to ask: How was chis violent
repetidve just likc any othcrnaturalprocess.. .%e Judeo-Christian dawn experienad by the wlonized?
tradition was anti-dassical in thinking that history had a denitc in ordcr a, properly grasp the scnse of this qucstion let us l w k
dramaticshape, with a beginning, a middle, and a mnduson. lt was at two well-known textd of &can imaginative production; Chinua
the Christian image of bistory as a thrce-act play-Pd, Suffering,
Achcbe's Tbings Fa11 A ~ r (19S9)
t and Chcikh Hamidou Kane's Am-
Redcmption-that found its way into Kuit's philosophy of history,
into Hegel's and evenmaiiy inm Maa's supposediy empiricai and b i g u o ~Aduenture
~ (1962).T h a texts concisely articulate-from
soaological "materialist conoeptioa of hi~mry."~ within Anglophoneand Franwphone Africa, respectively-tbe existen-
tial anguish suffercd by &ose of us who, as pan of our cultural and
Non-European cultures are saved from their "fallenn condition of hiatotical haimge, haw a colonitcd past Beyond the colonizcr's seif-
heathenism through the "sufferhg" of colonialism and can, through Pmiag and dclusory self-perception, we necd now to look at the
this suffering, look forward to a distant future of possibk "redunp- colonued.
tion." In both its secular and rcligious manikstations, this view does As Achebe puts it, with the advcnt of European w1onialism 'tbings
nothing more than universdie the singular historiw-cuitwal partini- kll apart." Tbe African's mode of life, his indigenoushabitar of human
larity of Europe in the name of a metaphysical-earthly or divine- ucistena, was displaced by the violuice of the navilizing mission."
telos. Thmgs African were devalued and the African was reduced to slavery.
Thus, in the very act of violent wnquest, paradoxically, Europe sees In the fictiod -tion of the dunise of the Igbo at the han& of
itself as serving its "captive's need." Or, not so enigmaacally, as Said the British, Achebe conasely depicts the truth of this uagic moment
puts it: of our modem African historiaty.
Things Fa11 Apart en& with the suicide of Okonkwo the warrior
lmages of blacks, of womm, of primitivea that occur in the nine- chief and nui charactcr of thc novel, and the reduction of the wise
t ~ n t hcentury are ... pan of the pmduction of hese banga as Obiuta-the wpcctcd and p ~ d e n elda t in dii circumstancc-to
the aatucr of an informant explaining to the Colonial Diitrict Commis-
inferior, and h a f e as dominated [and justifiably so] by the wielden
of the ... discourse about blacks, women, primiti~es.~ sioner the abominable charactu of his worthy friend's appalling end.

This then is the duplicity that Csaire acnises Europe of. Por the image '"ihat man [Okoniovo] wm we of the greatcst mm in Umuoiia.
You drove him m kU h i d ; and now he wl be buricd ke a
of the "primitive" is interior and necessary to Europe's own gratuitous
self-wnception. This same "image" is, however, also used to justify .
dog.. ."He wuld notsay any more. His voice tnmbled andchoked
his words.=
the violent destruction of the specific humanity of aboriginal peoples
which it supposedly describes.
This violence, furthermore-the violence of the "civizing mis- i The wise Obierika ucplains what, up to that point, had been dear and

sion"-is not aviolenceof mere destruction. Rather, as Csairereminds in no need of ucplanation or interpcctation. He is both the wimess
us, it is a dupliutous violeme that ranks human societies insubordina- and incarnation of the estranganent in African ucistence inaugurated
tion. Now, beyond this suange deceit, to the non-European, the expan- by colonial conqutst. Prom within an Africa ovuwhelmed by Europe
64/Colonialhm and the Colonired Colonialism ond the Colonued / 65

he laments, and by his political impotence manifests, the agonized Again the story ends with the death of the central character. The
primordial moment of Africa's mortifying enslavement. conclusion strongly suggests that the failure to reconcile the imposed
Standing at the feet of Okonkwo's dangling cadaver, which repre- modernity of Europe with the enduring traditions of Africa-which
sents defeated but unconquered Africa, the District Commissioner kills Samba-will also, ultimately, be the demise of the continent. In
contemplates the writing of a book. al1 this, the central moment is the moment of conquest and violence.
Let us read Kane.
The story of this man who had kilied a messengcr and hanged
himself would make interesting reading. One could almost writc a Strange dawn! The moming othe Occident in black Afrka was
whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a wholc chapnr but a rcasonable spangled with smiles, with cannon shots, with shining glass beads.
paragraph. . ..There was so much else m include, and one must ihose who had no history wcrc cncounteringthose who carricd the
be firm in cucting out details. He had already chosen the title of the world on their shoulders. It was a moming of accouchemenr:the
book, after much thought: The pacification of tbe Primitive Tribes known wodd was enriching itself by a birth that toak place in mire
of the Lower Niger." and blood.
From shock, thc onc sidc made no resistana. They wcre a peoplc
The unbending Okonkwo is the "jungle ~avage,"'~to borrow Fanon's without a past, thereforc without memory. Thc men who were
landing on their shora were white, and mad. Nothing likc them
sarcastic phrase; he exists beyond the pale of "humanityn proper, .e., had ever been known. The d d was accomplished before rhe people
the historicity of European conquest. He is the one who refuses the werc wen conscious owhat had happened.
designation "the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger," a colonialist Some among the Africans, such as che Diallobe brandished their
designation which presupposes the negation, as primitive, of the indige- shields, pointed rheir lances, and eimed their guns. They wcre al-
nous historicity. Or, in Hegelian terms, Okonkwo symbolizesthe rejec- lowed m come dose, then the cannons wcre fired. The vanquished
tion of the dialectic of colonial enslavement. In being the concrete did not understand. . . .
personification of its own freedom, this consciousness cannot even Others wanted to parley. They were given a choice: friendship
conceive of the possibility of being the bondsman in Hegel's dialectic or war. Very sensibly, they chose friendship.They had no experience
of "lordship and bondage." It chooses demise over bondage. at all.
Okonkwo is the consciousness that refuses to barter, oreven contem- The result was the same. . .. ihose who had shown fight and
place the possibility of bartering, its concrete ethical life-.e., its free- . ..
those who had surrendered they al1found themselves.. . checked
by census, dividcd up, classified, labeled, conscripted, administrated.
dom-for biological existence.)' Obierika, obversely, is the spiritual For the newcomers did not know only how to fight. They wcrc
forefather of the assimilado and the ~volu-the enslaved." His wis-
dom is a prudent knowledge, a skill at bartering self-preservation and
strange people. . Where they had brought disorder, they estab-
lishcd a ncw ordcr. They destroyed and they constructed.
the default of freedom. On the other hand, in Obierika's remorse for Thus, bchind the gunboats [stood] . . . the new school."
proud Okonkwo's tragic end, we see the demised remains of self-
standing Africa inaugurating the moment of reflective thought out of Behind the "gunboats" stands the "new school": the institutionaU
colonial estrangement in the historicity of our present.)' cultural weapon which will permanently scar and violate the indige-
In Ambiguous Adventure, Kane recaunts the story of Samba Diallo, nous culture. i h e sarcasm of Kane's prose illustrates well the sense of
a young Diallobe boy, from French Senegal, who finds himself in a terror and bewilderment with which European modernity dawned on
spiritual-cultural imbroglio between his traditional Islamic ambience Africa.
and the imposed materialistic world of the West, which he has partially This "Strange dawn! The morning of the Occident in black Africa"
internalized. The spiritual-cultural crisis that Samba feels and fails to is the primeval violence on which is grounded the quotidian normalcy
resolve is the conflict around which the narrative is structured. Utilizing of colonialism and neocolonialism, of being "checked by census, di-
this quandary as a metaphor, Kane engages the lived and systemic vided up, classified, labeled, conscripted, administrated." Or as Said
enigma of colonized existence. puts it:
66 1Colonialim and ihe Colonired Colonialisrn ond the Colonired / 67

You get rid of most of the offending human and animal blight .. . cultural-hismrical tocalities. As Patrick Taylor correctly points out, for
confine the rest to rescwations . where you can count, tax, use Fanon, the demise or destruction of 'the colonizer means the beginning
them profitably, and you build a new sodety on the vacated space.3' of the possibility of a new history for the colonized."" The actualiza-
tion of this possibility is the reclaiming of human existence for both
Europe experienced the dawn of modernity as the age of Enlighten- the former colonizer and the colonized. In Hegelian terms, this is the
ment. In the words of lmmanuel Kant, this was the age in which moment of recognition and freedom.
"man's release from his self-incurred t~telage"'~ was to be actualized. Let us now with Fanon look in greater detail at the nature and
A century later Africa experienced its entry into this modern European phenomenal character of this violent confrontarion and its possible
world, not as liberation or enlightenment, but as the painful process resolution. In so doing we will not be using "Fanon as a global theorist
of colonial subiugation. This is how Fanon puts i: in uacuo" as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., accuses Edward Said of doing."
Rather, our deployment of this violent text, on violence, srems from
Conquest, it is affirmed, creates historic links. The new time the anuality and the ferocity of conflict in colonized and neocolonized
inaugurared by the conquest, which is a colonialist time because Africa. This is the concretely situated-historically and politically origi-
occupied by colonialist values, because deriving i a raison &&re native-context out of which Fanon's reflections on violence were first
from the negarion of the national time, will be endowed with an produced.
absoluce coefficient. The history of the conquest, the histonc devel-
opment of the colonization and of thc national spoilation will be
substituted for the real time of the exploited. .. . And what is
affirmed by the colonized at the rime of the struggle for national
liberation as the will to break with urploitation and contempt will
be rejected by the colonialist power as a symbol of barbarism and In the opening pages of his seminal work, The Wretched of the
of regression. Earth, Fanon observes tha:
The colonialist, by a process of thinking which is after al1 fairly
commonplace, reaches the point of no longer being able to imagine The colonial world is a world cut in two. The dividing line, the
a time occurring without him. His irruption into the history of the frontiers are shown by barracks and police stations. In &e colonies
colonizedpeople is deified, transformed inco ebsolute necessity. Now it is the polioeman and the mldier who are the official, inaituted
a "hiscoric look at history" requires, on thc contrary, that the French go-between, the spokesmenof the senlcr and his rule of ~p~cession.'~
colonialist retire, for ir has become historically necessary for the
national time in Algecia to exist.J6 Fanon is describing the colonial situation as it existed and still exists in
Africa. ln the colonies things are clear-cut, especially in avowedly colo-
I have quoted extensively from Fanon and earlier from Kane precisely nial times, but also in their neocolonial prolongations. The differenceis
because they articulate concisely the moments of primordial confiict notonly oneof pigmentation but alsoof indigenizedcolonialistmethods.
o the two contending forces in the colonial encounter. Kane tells us Neocolonialism replicates colonial violente-by proxy-between
that where the colonizers "had brought disorder, they established a Westernized and non-Westernized natives. 01, as Fanon puts it
new order." They end one order of time and inaugurate a new colonial
order of time. [This] is the antagonism which exists between the native who is
Using the example of the French in Algeria, Fanon articulates the excluded from the advantages of colonialism and his counterpart
obverse of the colonial conquest. Just as the "irruption" of colonialism who manager to turn colonial exploitarion to his accoun~.'~
"into the history of the colonized" interrupts the historicity of the
indigenous culture, in like manner the reclaiming of the "national Thus, what is said of the colonial situation mutatis mutandis applies
time" is possible only on the demise of colonial temporality. The with equal force to neocolonial Africa.
clash is thus a conflict of contending and radically noncommensurable On the one hand, you have the colonizer; on the other, the colonized.
68 1Coloniolisrn ond the Colonized Coloniolism ond he Colonized / 69

These two groups-one of human beings in the process of extending The "native" is maintained-or held down-in his designated infe-
and globalizing their cultural and historical actuality, and the other rior position by the tremendous material and intellectual force exerted
of thingifiesl entities frozen in time and degraded beyond belief- against him by the settler and the "mother" country. As Fanon ob-
exist as an organic whole in subordination. The colonizer and the serves:
colonized each constitute the Other for one another and determine
themselves in terms of the Other. Their first encountcr was marked by violence and their exisrence
In the metropolis, the socio-economic relations of civil society and together-that is to say theexploitationof the native by the setrler-
the hierarchical structure of the state-.e., society as an organic and was carried on by dint of a great array of bayoncts and cannons.
differentiated whole-are maintained in place by a variety of inter- The settler and the nativc are old acquainrances.In fact . . . iris thc
secting socio-historical institutions. The national educational system, smler who has brought the native into existence and who perpetu-
the heritage of a common history, norms and modes of behavior and ates his exi~tence.~
moral conduct implicitly accepted by al1 muffle class contiim and
instirute a reality in which the lower classes' antagonism to those One has to grasp the force of Fanon's words. The "settler and the
in power is channeled through peaceful avenues. Even the militant native are old acquaintances." The settler maintains and constitures-
communist parties of the European working classes are accepted and brings "into existente"-the "native" as an inferior being. As the
represent a respectable political position within thc confines of Euro- embodiment of his own inferiority, and as long as he remains in this
pean modernity. Al1 these conflicting, and potentially Icthal, political position, tbe native upholds and endures-as if by choice!-the su-
perspectives are held in check by the hegemonic power of a common premacy of the settler. In this mutual relation one is the complement
modern European historicity. and the gmund of the other. The opposite moments of this inter-
As Fanon points out, the "serf is in essence different from the knight implicative bond necessarily stand or fall togerher. Master implies slave
but a reference to divine right is necessary to legitimate this statutory and slave implies master.
differen~e."~' Indeed, in Europe social contradictions are mediated. In The colonized is the memhec of a defeated history .But he also knows
the medieval age religion served thispurpose, and in modern capitalist that his forefathers-those who confronted the original conquest-
Europe the liberal abstract discourse of rights and theideals of "liberty, fought the aggressor and weredefeated not because they lacked courage
equality and fraternity," which animated the French Revolution, still or wisdom but because they lacked cunning and shrewdness. He knows
fulfill this task. In the colonies, on the other hand, the dialectic of that his history, the process of his communal becoming, was violently
social existence has no middle term, or, to be more precise, rhis dialectic intermpted not because it was impotent, but because it failed-as 1
is mediated by violence. The relation of the colonizer and the colonized Cheikh Hamidou Kane tells us-to organize and cal1 forth the requisite
is based on brute force. violence against the original intruders. The colonized is aware at some
Coloniaiism, as Hegel approvingiy observes, originates in the violent leve1 that the socio-human habitat-the ethos (.e., the social-historical
contradictions of "civil society" and is a desirable way of instit~tionall~ space) in which his forefathers lived and acted out their historicity,
externalizing this violeme, which is interna1 and endemic ro European his peculiar experience of Being or existente-was suppressed, not for
modernity4' From the inception of the colonial situation-the time of lack of wisdom, but because of violence and military strength. In this
the colonial conquest-tbe settler and the colonial society in which awareness, the colonized sees the colonizer as a brute with nothing to
he exists are establiihed and maintained by force and violence. The his merit cave his strength. This-the colonizer's strength, his vio-
colonized is constantly reminded of his place; in thii divided world lence-he envies.
no one can breach the boundaries with impunity. Be it in the presence The settler and the learned experts from the "mother" country-or
of the wlonialist police, the wealth of the European farms, or the. the elite of the Westernized native ruling class in a neocolonial con-
innumerable statues to the heroes of the period of conquest, the colo- text-see things differently. As Fanon points out, they speak of brown,
nized is reminded that he is a "native," an outcast in his own land, a yellow, and black multitudes, or of a backward peasantry in a neocolo-
conquered person-a thkg of service in the historicity of the colonizer. nial setup. They speak of the colonized or of the subjects of neocolonial
70/Coloniolism and the Colonized Colonialism and the Colonized 171

exploitation in biological terms and declare them to be the antagonist The violence with which the supremacy of white values ir affirmed
of history. The native, or the neocolonized peasantry, is said to be and the aggressiveness which has permeated the vktor? of these
inferior and to have no appreciation of values. It is in short, "the values over the ways of life and of thought of the narive."
negation of values" and of al1 that humanity claims for itself as hu-
man?* Thus the settler, or the neocolonial elite, has no regrets or The colonized is not only a defeated person, he is also resentful, since
qualms of conscience, for he does violence not to human beings, but he is forced to accept the illegitimate power of rhe colonizer. The
to strange entities located between humanity and undifferentiated colonialist is everything, and the native is forced to accept this in silent
natureP6 terror. Thus:
For the settler, the "nativeW-just as for the neocolonial elite, the
peasant-is a thing, a beast of burden. Just as the flora and fauna of The immobility to which rhe native is condemned can only be called
the conquered territory or the neocolonial state, the "native," or the in question if the native decides to put an end to rhe history of
neocolonized peasant, as the case may be, is a more or less useful coloniwtion-the history of the pillagc-and to bring into existente
resource, an object of calculative exploitation. In a neocolonial setup the history of the nation-the history of decolonization."
this manifests itself as the defensive and reactive animosity of the elite
toward the indigenous peasantry. This rancor, furthermore, is much This is possible only through the explicit confrontation of the colonizer
more pronounced and accentuated to the extent that the neocolonial and the colonized. It is only when the colonized appropriates the
elite, unlike the forrner colonizers, has to actively and desperately violence of the colonizer and puts forth his own concrete counter-
maintain its difference from the indigenous and indigent foik. This is violence that he reenters the realm of history and human historical
a case of being more Catholic than the Pope! Thus, the neocolonial becoming. Out of bitter experience, the colonized learns the truth of the
elite "does not hesitate to assert that 'they [the peasants] need the words with which Jean-Jacques Rousseau opens Tbe SoctaI Contract:
thick end of the stick if this country is to getout of the Middle Ages.' Force has no moral sanction and thus what is taken by violence can,
As we saw in chapter 1, to progress or "get out of the Middle Agesn by the same means, legitimately be rcgained.12
here means to replicate and perpetuate the technological Ge-stell of It is at this point that the colonized actively realizes, beyond the
European dominance.4' inertness of resentment, the viability of his own suppressed indigenous
The settler recognizes in his own person the indispensable agent of historicity. The very possibility of appropriating a liberating violence
history. The "settler makes history and is conscious of making has thus a therapeutic effect on the consciousness of the colonized. It
His constant point of reference, furthermore, is European history and is at these moments, as Fanon tells us, that
iris in terrns of this past that he projects a future. Indecd, it is in light
of this duplicity that Csaire's critica1 remarks, with which we opened We must notice in this ripeningprocessthe roleplayed by the history
this chapter, make sense. Csaire, as we noted, charges colonialist of the mistana at the time of thc conquest. The great figures of
Europe with dissimulation precisely because in the name of the univer- the colonized people are always those who led &e national resistance
sality of values Europe universalizes its own singular particularity. In to invasion ... [they] al1 spting [at these moments] again to life
the colonies, the paradox of this situation manifests itself in the fact with peculiar intensity in the period which comes directly before
action. This is the proof that the people are getting ready to begin
that Europe subjugates the native in order to "civilizen and "liberate" m go fonvard again, to put an end to the static period begun by
or "save" his soul from barbarism. Thus, in the name of democracy, coloniration and to make history?'
in the nonBuropean world, Europe institutes colonial fascism.
The colonized, o n the other hand, knows that he is human and the The organic metaphor-"ripening"-that Fanon uses is insightful.Just
incarnation of a distinctive civilization. He knows that the values and as the seed or fruit in ripcning brings out of itself what it inherently
culture the settler speaks of were established by force and violence. is, in like manncr the colonized in resisting makes itself what it inher-
He is aware, and is made awarc by thc vcry structure of colonialist ently is-a cornmunity of human beings-by effectively negating its
society, of: thingification and bringing out of irself the historiciry that accentuates
72 / Colonialism and the Cdonized Colonialism and the Colonized / 73

its thus far thwarted humanity. It is only in the stmggle to contest its But colonialism is precisely the complete negation of the "community
subjugation that the colonized concretely reactivates its Being as hu- of projects" which constitute the historicity of the colonized. The
man. The wnflict is between stasis (death) and activity (life). colonized, the "native," is forcefullybarred from and does not histori-
T o exist as a human being is to temporalize, but the colonized as cize. Rather he endures as a subordinate thing in the historicity of the
colonized only passively does time and subsists in a history of which colonizer. The colonized's Being or humanity-the specific cultural,
he is not a participant. As Memmi observes, at times even the citizens political, and historical differencethat constitutes his existence-begins
of free countries feel helpless in the face of the modern machinery of to unfold only in the act of confrontation. This is so precisely because
states and governments. They are like pawns in the hands of the in this violent engagement he affirms his existence by opening up its
politicians, their elected "civil servants." Yet in principie the citizen concrete possibilities.
is a free member of the body politic. Thus in spite of their apathy and In struggle and conflict the colonized passes beyond himself-his
skepticism, the free citizens periodically rise up-for exarnple, May thingified status of '<nativen-a'nd claims the freedorn to be the being
1968, France-and "upset the politicians' little calculations." On the which opens existence out of itself, through and by its engagement
other hand, the colonized with the world." Conflict and violence are not a choice, they are an
existential need negatively arising out of the colonial situation which
Feels neither responsible nor guilty nor skeptical, for he is out of serves as a prelude to the rehumanization of the colonized. As Fanon
the game. He is in no way a subjecr of history any more. Of course, points out:
he carries its burden, often more cruelly than othecs, but always as
an object. He has forgotten how to participate actively in history The settler makes history; his life is an epoch, an Odyssey. He is
and no longer even asks to do so?' thc absolute beginning: "This land was created by us"; he is the
unceasing cause: "lf we leave, al1 is lost, and the country will go
back to the middle ages." Over against him torpid creatures, wasted
So far as he is colonized and remains so, he is nothing more than a by feven, obsessed by ancestral customs, form an almost inorganic
thingified biological organism with specific life functions. These life background for the innovating dynamism of colonial mercantilism.
functions-eating, breathing, defecating, procreating-are secured at
the heavy coast of freedom, namely, human existence. The "native"
The other side of this divide the
stricdy speaking exists only in the realm of nature. In the realm of
history he is a nonperson-his master's zombie.
coiled, plundered crcaturc which is the native provides fodder for
In order to remember and reenter the realm of human historicity,
the colonized has to put his situation as a whole in question. This
the process as best he can .. .and al1 the while the native, bent
double, more dead than alivc, exists intcrminably in an unchanging
question, furthermore, assumes the character of violent confrontation dream?'
precisely because the colonized not only wants to be in the "game"
but wants to be the author of the rules as well. In confrontation, the
colonized reclaims and asserts the humanity of his existence. This is the ln al1 this what has to be taken note of is the fact that the violence of
particularity of his specific historico-cultural experience of existencel the colonized is a reactive violence aimed at the primordial violence
Being. It is in this way that the colonized claims his autonomy and incarnated in the colonial situation. It is in a desperate attempt to
freedom, his Being as history. overcome the delirium of the "unchanging dream" that the colonized
As Oliva Blanchette puts it: is forced to live in the confines of a dehumanized existence.
In this regard, the paradigm par excellence of the colonized is the
domestic servant. The domestk exists as a "domestic" only to the
man enters into society [histosyl as he beains to form his own extent that he does not exist as a hurnan being and is implicated in
projects in consort withtherso ~ , ~anoth;
u t way, society [hismry] his own non-existente. As Memmi puts ir, the dornestic is "his master's
in the concrete is constituted by a community of projects." e the act of execuring another's will. He
respectful s h a d o w . " ' ~ ~ is
74 / Colonialism and fhe Colonized Colonialisrn and he Colonized 175

does not have a will of his own. The domestic "acts when he is ordered in the process of violent confrontation that life is reappcopriated and
to, he does not speak of himself, he is never anything but a reflection the colonized reinstitute their humanity.
of his master."s9 The domestic is the embodiment of debasement, "a ln this regard, as Patrick Taylor points out, it should be noted
debasement to which he consents" and in this is implicated in forsaking that, "[ulnderneath the roles into which they are forced, the colonized
his own h~manity.~' preserve ahuman identity and temporal b e i t ~ ~This . " ~ is~ so, however,
The situation of the domestic and the colonized is thus inherently- only to the extent that the silent resignation of the colonized is itself
in its very nature-not open to compromises and half-measures. For a form of passive resistance to colonial thingification. To be sure, the
what is at stake in this inter-implicative dialectic on the levelof ontolog- humanity of the colonized can be concretely reclaimed only in an
ical description is the humanity of the colonized and of the domesti- explicit historico-political confrontation, since, as we shall see, the
cated nonperson. The being of the master necessarily presupposes the half-mcasure of resistance as silent resignation is itself prone to the
nonbeing of the domestic. The only alternative to the above is the temptation of dissolving and diluting the struggle in the imaginary
violence of resistance. In this context a "nonviolent" resistance is a world of arcane phantasmic m ~ t h . ~Hidden
' under "the roles" forced
contradiction in terms precisely because any self-assertive act of the on the colonized, one finds the smoldering tension of a subjugated and
colonized is bound to violate-hence do violence to-the rule and humiliated existence that needs to explode into open resistance if it is
standard or norm of subjugation and domination on which the colonial not to implode into an interior world of torpid and mystical self-
relation is grounded. rnortification.
In Marx's famous words, "violence is the midwife" of social change In what has been said thus far we have been expounding Fanon's
and historical transformation. In the colonial context, violence is a views on violence in the colonial and the neocolonial situation. To be
great deal more: it is the avenue through which humanity is reclaimed. sure, al1 Fanon does is to articulate a prevalent theme of European
philosophy in the context of Africa's experience of the modern Europe-
anized world. In other words: In Thomas Hobbes's conception of
Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men [i.e., of a new society, it is through the possibility of the uncompromising violence
humanity]. But this creation owes nothing of its legitimacy to any
supernatural power; the "thing" which has been colonized becomes of the political state (.e., the Leviathan) that order and stability are
man during the same process by which it frees inelf:' maintained:6 In Hegel's famous dialectic of "lordship and bondage,"
it is through Labor and in fear of death, the ultiniate violence, and
"the sovereign master" that rhe dialectic of "the master" and "the
Through and out of this historical process, which is necessarily violent, slave" unfolds. In Marx's idea of the class struggle it is through violent
the "thing" (.e., the native) reclaims its own humanity. This is a class conflict that the new is born out of the dying old society. In
self-reflexive process from which, if exhaustively consummated, the Heidegger's conception of the primordial Polentos, which is a violent
colonized emerges as human. Borrowing a phrase from Hegel, one can "conflict that prevailed prior to everything divine and human," it is
say that dewlonization, properly speaking, is "the process of its own this primeval violente-as in Hesiod's Theogony-that "first projects
becoming ... and only by being worked out to its [very] end is it and develops what had hithcrto been unheard of, unsaid and un-
actual."" Fanon's French properly captures and conveys this self- th~u~ht."~'
reflexive Hegelian nuance; "la 'chose' colonise deuiunt homme dans In differing ways, what is being articulated is a conception of violence
le processus m2me par legue1 elle se libe~e."~'The process of libera- which is fundamental to the varied problematics of the above thinkers
tion-le processus meme-is the avenue through which the concept and thus to the socio-political thinking of European philosophy. In
of humanity is adequated to the lived actuality of the decolonited. this respect, ir could be said that the whole contractarian perspenive
Fanon emphasizes the term "thing" (chose) precisely because, iust of modern political philosophy is grounded on a prolonged discourse
as a domesticated animal, the "native" has lost the sense of life and on how to avert as well as to use violence for socially beneficia1 ends.
living. The colonized "native" is a thingified entity, just as the domesti- Rousseau opens The Social Contract with a discussion of how force
cated animal is an agricultura1 resource-a beast of burden. lt is only does not, of itself, have moral sanction. Hobbes, on the other hand,
76 / Coloniolism ond the Colonized Coloniolism and the Colonized / 77

in the Leuiathan, overcomes civil stnfe by instituting the state as the As they themselves understood ir, it seems to have consisted, as it
ultimate guarantor and embodiment of legitimate violence. were, of two interconnectedparts: they had discovered thar he who
In talking about violence as he does, Fanon's novelty lies in the fact "joined the resistance, found himself," that he ceased to be "in quest
that his problematic is the concrete question of colonialism. Fanon of [himselfj without mastery, in naked unsatisfaction," that he no
describes the violence of colonial confrontation and in so doing shows longu suspected himself of 'insincerity" of being "a carping, suspi-
us how "what had hitherto been unheard of, unsaid and unthought"- cious actor of life," that he could afbrd "to go naked." In this
namely, the freedom of the colonized people of Africa-could come nakedness, stripped oal1 masks-of those which sociery assigns ro
to pass. In this, Fanon does nothing more than specify within the its membcrs as well as those which thc individual fabricares for
himself in hispsychologicalreactions against society-they had been
colonial context what Heidegger articulates as thc 'apoli?"" of human visind for the first time in their lives by an appantron of freedom,
existence in the context of ancient Greek history and tragedy. This is not, to be sure, because they acted against tyranny and things worse
the first emergence, the inauguration of a new order or "beginning" rhan tyranny-this was true for every soldier in rhe allied armies-
which "is the strangest and mightie~t."~' It is the originative violence but because they had beeomc "challengers," had taken rhe initiarive
with which Hesoid begins the Theogony. it is the foundational opening upon themselves and therebre, without knowing or even noticing
or origin that first institutes human existence in society-the polis (or it, had begun to create that public space beween themselves where
community). fieedom could appear."
In Hegelian terms, Fanon's meditation on violence is an attempt to
situate the dialectic of "lordship and bondage" within the colonial It is important to note that the character of Arendt's observation
context, while being true to the historicity of Africa's encounter of is impeccable. Thosc who fought the occupation found freedom. ln
Europe. In the section of Black Skin, White Masks (1952), titled "The confronting domination, they created and held open the "public space"
Negro and Recognition" (section B of chapter 7), Fanon explicidy in which "freedom could appear," not because they fought an odious
makes this the obiect of his deliberations. In fact, as Taylor puts it, tyranny, or because "they acted," but because "they took the initiative
"Fanon draws from the Hegelian-Marxist tradition" but in so doing upon themselves" and in so doing became "challengers." In other
reinterprets this tradition "in terms of the concrete specificity of the words, it is the character of their actions that counts.
colonial sit~ation."'~ Indeed, as Jean-Paul Sartre has astutely observed, In joining the resistance one "found himself" precisely because one
in al1 of this, Fanon "acts as the interpreter of the [violent colonial] renounced passive submission to subjugation and engaged life. Those
situation, that's all."" in the resistance made history by concretely reclaiming themselves, in '
The above notwithstanding, Hannah Arendt-an erudite scholar of the act of resisting, as human beings and thus "freedom could appear."
the Occidental tradition--criticizes Fanon for glorifying violence in Arendt understands al1 too well the existential import of organized
and for itself. In fact, Fanon is for Arendt one of the few thinkers who counter-uiolence in the context of oppression and domination. Yet,
"glorified violence for violente's sake."" Nothing could be further what she recognizes in the European she fails to see in the non-Euro-
from the truth. What Fanon does is to accurately depict the situation pean. The fact that Arendt does not see chis can, at best, be attributed to
of conflict in the colonial context. In fact, as Arendt has observed, in her lack of sympathy for or understanding of colonized nonBuropean
the context of inter-European conflicts, the generation which lived peoples, or at worst, it could be taken as the symptom of a latent
under Nazi occupation found its freedom and salvation in "the resis- Eurocentric double standard at work in her thought."
tancen-the organized counter-uiolence with which Europe defended The colonized non-European, just like the generation of Europeans
itself against the brutality of Hitler's Germany. who lived under Nazi occupation, finds freedom and liberation in the
In the midst of unsparing conflict, open and hidden, one does not resolved confrontation with the colonial apparatus. The colonized, in
philosophize. Violence understands only the language of violence. In so doing, takes the initiative and carves out the "space" in which
Arendt's sagacious observation, the generation that lived the Nazi freedom can appear, thus overcoming colonial thingification. But why
occupation found its "treasure" in violent confrontation. But what is chis the case? It is precisely because colonialism-just as the Nazi
was this "treasure" ? occupation in respect to non-Aryans-is the complete negation of the
78 / Colonialism and the Colonized Colonialism and the Colonized / 79

historicity of the colonized. The very fact of wnquest is taken by ing project of human liberation. The settler, a European migrant,
the colonizer as a metaphysical proof of the unhistoricity (.e., the originates in the systematic violence of colonization and expansion.
nonhumanness) of the colonized. The colony and the settler are the exteriorization of the dialectic of
Colonialism is the blatant denial of the humanity of the colonized violence &e., poverty) interna1 to European modernity. As Memmi
which serves as its own proof. It is the affirmation that the colonized tells us, writing in 1957: "Today, the economic motives of colonial
have no history and are innoduced into the human community by undertakings are revealed by every historian of colonialism."" The
European conque~t.'~ It is the violent claim that the colonized stand settler, in order to avoid the violence of poveny in Europe, where he is
on the other side of the difference that constitutes humanity as human. the victim of the socio-economicdialectic of modern European society,
Only by unleashing a self-redeemingcounterclaim-and given the real- migrates to a foreign land and by force and violence makes others
ity of colonialism and neocolonialism this can only be a counter- victims. The sheer egoism and inhumanity of this position is
violente-can the colonized establish categorically to himself and to astounding. The more so because, as we noted earlier, the colonizer
the colonizer the fact of his h ~ m a n i t y As
. ~ ~Fanon astutely points out is duped by his own myths to such a point that he sees himself as the
in A Dying Colonialism: benefactor of those he victimizes.
In obsewing the settler's inhuman conduct and demeanor, the colo-
Before the rebellion there was the life, the rnovemmt, the existence nized learns that he can rewver his freedom only by unleashing a
of the settler, and on the other side the continued agony of the counter-violence of his own. As Cabra1 emphatically and categorically
colonized. Since 1954 [the inception of the Algerian Rcvolution], points out,
the European has discovered that another life parallel to his own
has begun to stir, and that is Algerian souety." ..
We are not defending the armed ight. . It is a violence against
even our own people. But it is not aur invention-it is not our cool
In this respect it has to be emphasized that the colonized does not decision; it is the requirement of histoy."
choose violence. Violence is not a choice. It is the condition of existence
imposed on the colonized by the colonizer, which enforces the colo- For the colonized, violence is rhe avenue through which freedom and
nized's status of being a "native," a thing, a historical being forcefully humanity are reclaimed. Violence is the "requirement of history" pre-
barred from history. In other words, the direct confrontation beween cisely because through it the colonized reclaims the possibility of hu- \
the colonizer and the colonized is not the beginning of violence in the man existence. This violence, furthermore, in being life-enhancing is
colonial situation. The "continued agony of the colonized" is in fact also a violence that affects and fundamentally uproots the colonized.
the historically grounding violence of colonialism. The continua1 risking of life, the perpetua1tension of confrontation
In view of the above, any attempt to avert the violent coniict bemeen against an odious enemy, the anxiety and intensity of a prolonged
the antagonists of colonial society-the moment the colonized begin war, in short, the disciplineand regimen of conflict purge the colonized
to "stirn-is suspect, on thepolitical level, for it is concretely implicated of servility, dependence, cowardice, and similar vices that constitute
in the defense of colonialism. The feared "blood bath" will not com- the stunted existence of the colonized under colonialist conditions. In
mence with the awakening of the colonized. This hemorrhage is of other words, the colonized
long standing. This profuse loss ovitality, on the part of the colonized,
is as old as the colonial settlement itself. n i i s is what Alben Camus,
an Algerian-born French citizen, fails to understand in al1 of his com-
formerly ... a prey to unspeakable terrors yet happy to lose them-
selves in a dreamlike torment, such a people becomes unhinged,
ments on the Algerian resistance in Resistance, Rebeliion and Death reorganizes inelf, and in blood and tears gives birth to very real
(1960)." In Iike manner, al1 those who talk about violence in South and irnrnediare action."
Africa should ask themselves which violence they mean: that of the
colonizer or of the colonized? 1t ir important to grasp the organic poise and poetry of Fanon's words.
The counter-violence of the colonized is a de-thingihing, life-enhanc- Just as a new being comes forth out of its mother's womb in "blood
80/Colonialism and the Colonized Colonialism ond the Colonized / 81

and tears" thus terminating the abnormal state of pregnancy, in like rwitalizing and dynamic effect that puts into question rhe inert and
manner, the colonized in "blood and tears gives birth ton itself out of superfluous dregs of the indigenous culture.
the lived historicity of the liberation stmggle. The "very real and In confronting colonialism, the colonized projects a future and
immediate action' of the struggle is thus the reverse of the static claims, for the vitality of the present, the effective heritnge of the past.
passivity of colonized existence, The colonizer makes history or histori- What he "jects" or throws ahead, in this emancip~roryproject, is
cizes by subjugating the "native" and replicating European society in his own effective and enduring heritage. This is what .+lime Csaire
a distorted manner?' The colonized, on the other hand, historicizes celebrates in his play The Tragedy of Ki~rgChristophe, when he has
or enters the realm of human historical becoming in the determined his tragic hero say,
confrontation with the colonial apparatus.
Colonialism literally freezes the interna1 dynamic of the subjugated Freedom yes, bur not an easy reedom. Which meanr rliir rhey necd
society. In this situation, and in a futile attempt to diminish their a state. Yes, my philosopher friend, somerhing rhar will enable this
wretchedness, the colonized produce out of their stagnant existence a transplanted people to strike routs, to burgeon 2nd tluivcr, ro fling
fantastic magical world of sorcery and witchcraft. This is a realm of the fruits 2nd perfumes o irs flowering inro the faci oi rhe world,
phantasms inhabited by "the dead who rise again, and the djinns who something which, to speak plaiiily, will oblige our pet>ple,by force
rush into your body while you yawn."s3 The ferocious unreality of if need be, to be born to irself, to surpass itsel."
this fantastic world is the ineffectual attempt by the colonized to
displace-in the realm of the imaginary-the effective violence and The freedom Csaire advocates is a freedom which is constituted by
terror of colonialism. This stunted "creativity," produced out of the the colonized's rebirth to "itself" in the fullness o its humanity. But
native's lifeless and antiquated past, inadvertently adds to the stagnant why must the colonized "surpass itself"? Preciseiy because it does not
and enigmatic reality of colonized "existence." suffice merely to expel the colonizer in order to effectively decolonize.
A noncolonized society grows, transforms, and, in al1 of this, con- It is further necessary to destroy the parasitic and ossified inert and
stantly evaluates and re-evaluates its past in light of the future exigen- residual Being-in-the-worldof the cdonized and to institute "the prac-
cies of its existence. As Nietzsche and Heidegger tell us, it is only in tices of freedom"'" within tbe cultural and historical context of the
view of a future that a past is fruitfully appropriated. Colonized society, decolonizing society, in the process o self-formation.
on the other hand, is not free to evaluate its past in terms of a possible In decolonizing, the decolonized has to open up and claim its histori-
future. It is a society without a future precisely because this is what cal existence, its Being as history, closed off by colonial conquest. In
colonialism negates and grounds itself on. so doing ir reestablishes its political actuality in appropriating and
The violent confrontation with the colonial apparatus is the process livingpracticing its existence in freedom. As Csaire's tragic hero,
Christophe, forcefully asserts:
through which this stagnant situation is eradicated. As Fanon puts it,
This people's enemy is its indolente, its efrontery, its harred o
the youth o a colonized country, growing up in an atmosphere of disapline, its self-indulgence, its lethargy.Gentlemen. ior rhe honor
shot and fire . does not hesitate to pour scorn upon the zombics and survival of this nation. I don't want it ever to be said, 1 won'r
of his ancestors.8' have the world so much as suspect, that ten years o hlack treedom,
ten years o black slovenlincss and indiference, have suficed to
squander the patrimony that our martyred people has amassed in
In A Dying Colonialism (1959),taking the Algerian Revolution as his a hundred years o labor under the whip. You mar as well get it
exarnple, Fanon discusses in great detail how the struggle is a concrete through your heads chis minute that with me you won't have the
process of historical self-creation. He does so in terms of the uaditional right to be tired."
attire (.e., the veil), the relation of m o d m technology and medicine
to the indigenous society, and thc structure of subordination in the For CCsaire what has to be reclaimed is not the "whip" or the multitude
Algerian family. In al1 of this, Fanon shows how the struggle has a of social vices bred by slavery and unfreedom, but the "patrimony . ..
82/ Colonialism and the Colonized Colonialism and he Colonized / 83

amassed in a hundred years of labor." The "patrimonyP of endurance, in reference to the colonized, whose existence is fixed and frozen as
fortitude, resistance, and creativity which, as Hegel tells us, constitutes the permanent underclass of this setup. The colony is the settler's
the existential character of the slave in the dialectic of surmounting own lived self-image. He foregrounds his individuality against the
the master. This is the slave whose life experience is tempered by the background of this collective. lt is his domain, that in which his will
immanent and ever-present possibility of death and the transfiguring and Beingare embodied: the land that gave him his social and economic
creativity of productive labor. For Csaire "black freedom" is the stability, the status he lacked in Europe."
effort of transcending enslavement aimed at instituting the historicity For the settler the colony is his salvarion. He is, nonetheless, always
of the decolonized as decolonized. a Frenchman or an Englishman in Algeria or Kenya, never an Algerian
Thus the violence of the colonized is also self-directed against the or a Kenyan. The settler cannot indigenize and remain a settler. His
petrified forms of existence, whose actuality was the stagnant situation existence is innately parasitic. He is dependent on the mother country
of external domination. In the struggle, the dying forms of existence for his spiritual and historic legitimacy as a colonizer, and on the colony
in which the native found recourse and was forced to live as a "native" for his socio-economic existence and preeminence. The duplicity of
are thus challenged and possibly overcome. What concerns us here is this situation, as noted earlier, is the grounding source of colonial
the actualization, or failure thereof, of a definite histotic possibility. fasci~m.~~
Of course, in a very real way, if this does not happen-as Fanon tells On the other hand, the colonized's existence is not cohesive but split
us and as is concretely evinced by the actuality of neocolonial Africa- in two. Within the colonized part of the colonial strucrure we have
then: the urban and the nrral native: in other words, those who have been
Westernized and who, as Fanon puts ir, "profit-at a discount, to be
There's nothing save a minimum of readaptation, a fcw rcforms at sure-from the colonial setup"" and the rural peasant/nomad masses
the top, a flag waving: and down therc at the bottom an undivided who experience colonialism only or mostly as an external control and
mass, still living in the rniddle ages, endlessly marking timeFB imposition.
At this point, it is important to note that this split is the originative
As we noted in the beginning of this section, this is the stagnant ground of neocolonialism. In creating and maintaining this fracture
actuality of neocolonialism. It is nothingmore than the de facto renego- among the colonized, colonial conquest establishes the material and
tiation of the colonial status. That is why, as we noted earlier, al1 that cultural conditions in which the self-aggrandizing metaphysical delu-
is said of colonialism also holds true, in every essential, of neocolonial sions of Europe can be institutionally established, by being embodied in
Africa. the consciousnessand the physical actuality of "independent" Africa."
Thus far, relying on Fanon, we have described the dialectic of vio- The actuality of conquest confirms, after the fact, the servility of
lente and counter-violence that constituted, until very recently, colonial the colonized. Subjugation is thus historicized into and as the historicity
Africa and, by extension, constitutes our neocolonial present. Let us of African existence?' This requires and presupposes the cultural nega-
now briefly look at each aspect of the colonial and neocolonial situ- tion of Westernized (.e., modernized) Africans, whose very existence,
ation. as a section of the colonized society, was predicated on the rupture of
African existence in the face of European conquest. Non-Europeanized
Africa, on the other hand, was forced to submit to a stagnant petrifica-
tion of its cultural, economic, historical, and political actuality. The
peoples of the continent-in al1 rhe wealth of their diverse tradirions-
The society of the settler is a cohesive and homogeneous community. were thus reduced to a frozen existence as a subaltern and passive
The class distinctions interna1 to it are maintained, but in a friendly element in the historical eventuation of European modernity. As we
manner. The worker, the priest, the merchant are first and foremost saw in chapter 2, under the guise of the African's oneness with nature,
settlers and only secondly members of this or that class or profession. it is this subordinate passivity of African existence under European
The cohesiveness of the settler community is maintained against and dominance that Senghor celebrates as Africanitb?'
84 / Coloniolism ond the Colonized Colonblirm and the Colonized / 85

Thus the inheritance and actuality of post-colonial Africa manifests The struggle is a historically pedagogical and a concretely self-forma-
itself and is basically grounded on theschizoid existenceof two comple- tive process. Its success is measured by the extent to which it overcomes
mentary and yet violently contradictory modes of African (non)-Being- the "Manichean ~ o r l d " of ~ "colonialism
~ and neocolonialism. In other
in-the-world: the Westernized dominating and the indigenous domi- words, "the senler is not simply the man who must be killed" and
nated native. Encased between these two forms of estranged existence "not every Negro or Moslem is issued automatically a hallmark of
one finds the presence of the present. These two paradoxical types genuineness." The struggle is successful to the extent that it breaks
replicate and constantly reproduce by proxy the colonizing historical- .
down the "barriers of blood and race-prejudice . . on both si de^."'^'
ness of Europe and the historical stasis of present-day Africa. It is from Unthinking prejudices are thus displaced by the prejudgments culti-
within this situation, as we saw in thepreceding chapter, that Nkrumah vated out of the lived experience of the struggle. It is thus that "the
and Hountondji advocate an abstract and "universalistic" Marxism- practices of freedom" are established in the context of the African
Leninism instead of concretely submitting this stagnant situation to liberation stmggle.
scrutiny?' In like manner, in a neocolonial context, it is when the Westernized
As graphically depicted by Sembene Ousmane in his 1968 film Man- native puts "at the people's disposal the intellectual and technical
dabi, it is che estranging dialectk of these two broad segments of capital that it has snatched when going through the colonial universi-
society that constitutes the contemporary crisis of the continent.P6 ties"'"' that the dialectic of violence and counter-violence is sublated
These two segments of African society parrot the estranged and es- in the reconstitution of a new ethical whole, of a new etbos. This is
tranging violent dialectic of the colonizer and the colonized, described the process, as we saw in chapter 1, that appropriates the possibilities
so well by Memmi. But, in this case, the roles of colonizer and colonized of a specific tradition from within the lived confines and concrete
are played by the native, cast on both sides of this antagonistic and possibilities of that tradition it~elf.'~'
complementary divide by reference to the culture and "know-how" Tempered by and produced out of the lived exigencies of the struggle,
(.e., political and economic managerial skills, technology, science, and grounded on the concrete experiencing-with al1 its limitations
etc.) of the former colonial power.97The Westernized African, in this and creative possibilities-of its own mortal existence, a very practica1
context, is "Caliban become Pro~pero."~' and pragmatic rationality dominates and directs the development of
Insofar as the anti-colonial struggle is aimed at overcoming colonial- this praxis of concrete communal self-creation.This is the lived quotid-
ism and neocolonialism, it is an attempt to end the fissure in AFican ian self-brmative etbos of the liberation struggle-"the practices of
existence between Westernized dominating and indigenous dominated freedom." It is what Marx refers m as the dialectical process through
Africa. It is in overcoming this split and in the positive union or which the educators are themselves educated.Im
fusion of these two broad segments of African society that the counter- In view of al1 of the above then, and beyond the initial moment of
violence of the colonized acquires a political form and becomes a counter-violente, the African liberation struggle is an originative pro-
project for a possible future of freedom. In fact, demographically and cess through which the historicity of the colonized is reclaimed and
sociologically speaking, African liberation movements are born out of appropriated anew. In chapter 4 we shall see how this process is
the "fusion of horizons" of these two broad segments of African grasped and formulated in the thinking of Fanon and Cabtal. As we
s0ciety.9~ shall see, in their situated thinking, African philosophical hermeneutics
Each manifests, in itself, what the other does not have and is es- finds its most eminent forerunners and paradigmatic exemplars.
tranged from. The Westernized native is acquainted with the world Thus, in contradistinction to Senghor and Ethnophilosophy, on the
beyond the colony or neocolony and the struggles of other peoples. one hand, and Nkmmah, Hountondji, and Professional Philosophy,
The rural non-Westernized native, on tbe other hand, is steeped in the on the other, this will be our hermeneutical response to the question:
broken heritage of his own particular African past. in the fusion of What are the people of Africa trying to free themselves from and what
these two fractured "worlds" the possibility of African freedom is are they trying to establish?
concretized or made tangible in the form of specific historical move-
The Liberation Struggle
Existence and Historicity

"Exactly," exclaimed Djia Umrel. "What model of society

are we offered through the media? We're mode to swal-
low outdated values, no longer accepted in their countries
of origin. Our television and radio programmes are stu-
pid. And our leaders, instead of foreseeing and planning
for the future, evade their duty. Russia, America, Europe,
and Asia are no longer examples or models for us."
"It would be a dangerous step backwards, to revert
to our traditions. . . ."
"ThaYs not what I'm saying, Joom Galle," she inter-
rupted. "We must achieve o synthesis.. . Yes, a synthesis.
... I don't mean a step backwards. . A new type of..
society," she ended, blinking. There followed a brief si-
-Sembene Ousmane
From The Lost of the Empire, 1981

In an intewiew given in 1984 the French thinker Michel Foucault,

in characterizingthe focus of his thought, refers to liberry and liberation
as being constituted by the self-formative "practice of the self"' on
the self. The intetviewer asks: "A work of self upon self which can
be understood as a kind of liberation, as a mode of liberation?" To
which Foucault responds, in part:

1 shall be a l i t t l e more cautioua about rhar. I've always becn a little

distrusrful of the general thcme of liberation, to rhe extenr, that ...
88 / The Libemtion St~ggle The Liberation Shuggle 189

[it refen] back to the idea that there does exist a nature or a human The term ethos, as Foucault reminds us alluding to the Greeks, refers
foundation which, as a result of a certain number of historical, to "the d e p ~ r t m e n t of
" ~a people in its public politico-ethical existence.
social or economic processes, found itself concealed, alienated or Thus, beyond the violence and counter-violence of colonialism and
imprisoned in and by some repressive mechanism. In that hypothesis neocolonialism (Le., the subject matter of chapter 3), Foucault is inter-
it would suffice to unloosen these repressive locks so that man can ested in the possibility and the practical actuality of freedom. In appro-
be reconled with himself. . 1 don't think that [this] is a theme
priating Foucault's astute remarks my concern is to see how this self-
which can be admitted without rigorous examination. 1do not mean
to say that liberation or such and such a form of liberation does formative ethos (.e., "the practice of freedom") has manifested itself,
not exist. When a colonial people tries to free itself of its colonizer, or failed to do so, thus far in the historic eventuations of the African
that is truly an act of liberation, in the stricr sense of the word. But liberation struggle.
as we also know, that in this extremely precise example, this act of Reflecting on this question in the last chapter of his book, Africa in
liberation is not suficient to establish the practices of libere that Modern History, the eminenc Africanist historian Basil Davidson notes
later on will be necessary for this people, this socicty and these that the African countries that achieved independence in the late 1950s
individuals to decide upon receivable and acceptable fonns of their and early 1960s were wedded to colonial attitudes and values. Thus:
existence or political society. That is why 1insist on the pmctice of "Old inequalities from the pre-colonial heritage, whether between man
f'reedom.' and man or more plainly between man and woman, were enlarged by
new inequalities from the colonial heritage," and to this extent the
1 have quoted extensively from Foucault precisely because he puts hts regimes of the late 1950s and early 1960s were "the oppressors and
finger on the central theme of this chapter: the question of the "forms exploiters of the many by the fewn in African guise.' This neocolonial
of existence or political society" that can vindicate and properly fulfill "independence" was a de facto extension of colonialism-the violent
the aspirations of the African struggle against colonialism and neocolo- negation, at the very momentof its possible attainment, of the "practice
nialism. of freedom."
To the interviewer's blunt question Foucault responds with a condi- In contradistinction to the above, starting from the early 1970s
tional: If liberation means a return to an original "naturen or "human an indigenous and much more radically democratic conception of
foundation," then such a theoretic project, on metaphysical and episte- liberation took root in various African liberation struggles. This per-
mic grounds, is untenable. On the other hand, anti-colonial struggles spective did not originate de novo, but commenced by critically differ-
are "truly an act of liberation" that need to establish "the practice entiating itself from the kind of "independence" established in the late
of freedom" m order to realize their own emancipatory goals. As 1950s and early 1960s. The critical standard or gauge of this rejection
Foucault pointedly observes, "the struggle for liberation is indispens- was grounded on the failure of "independent" Africa to concretely
able for the practice of liberty"' but it is not enough. On this point, live up to and appropriate/actualize its formal status of independence.
given the central problematic of this study as a whole, the question From the outset, it is important to note that this critical oriencation
is: How does one establish the practice or ethos of freedom in the was not an abstract quest for utopia, but a radical "revolutionary
process of liberating one's existence from external-direct or indirect- undertaking .. . directed not only against the present but against the
domination? rule of 'until now.' "'In concrete and practical terms, this critique
The "practice of freedom" or liberty is grounded on and arises out was grounded on the contrast becween the miserable situation of post-
of the self-formative ethos of a people-the temporality or the way o colonial Africa and the purely formal and empty status of political
Being of a people. In our context this occurs in the concrete process "independence." It was grounded on the lived and stark contrast be-
of struggle of differing African peoples to actualize their free existence. tween unfulfilled ideals and harsh unforgiving political realities. This
This presupposes the liberation struggie as it unfolds within the context immanent and critica1 orientation was thus directed internally toward
of specificand particular histories, and with it the concrete implementa- its own lived historical situatcdness. In countering itself to the despotic
tion-the practice-of liberty which is the formal and proclaimed politics of post-colonial "independent" Africa, this trend established
raison d'2tre of the struggle in its very inception. the practice of participatory popular democracy as the cornerstone
90/ The Libedon Struggle The Liberation Strug~lelPl

and gauge of its own political existence. In so doing, in differing ways

and out of the lived exigenciesof differing African histories and specific
contexts, it articulated a notion of liberation as a process of reclaiming Following on his detailed examination of the violence and counter-
history. violence endemic to colonialism in The Wretched of tbe Earth, Fanon
In Hegelian terms, one could say that in ,countering itself to the poses the cardinal question as to how this situation of violence is to
established neocolonialist order, this critique saw itself as the political be overcome beneficially for the colonized.
articulation and concrete historical incarnation of the negativity of the
negative in contemporary African political life. In Hegel's Phenomenol- Whatarethe forces which in the colonial period open up new outlets
ogy of Spirit the odyssey of consciousness (.e., the differing forms and cngender new aims for the uiolence of the colonized peoples?
through which Geist rnanifests itself in history) realizes itself by over- In the fint place rhere are the political parties.'
coming itself through and by the mediation of the negative. In like
manner, this critica1 orientation of the early 1970s saw itself as the To be sure, the question Fanon poses is the question of the urban (.e.,
initial moment in the process of reclaiming the historicity of existence Westernized) and rural native. In the concluding pages of the previous
and concretely actualizing the unfulfilled aspirations of African inde- chapter we preliminarily noted that it is in the fusion of these two
pendence. It saw itself as the negativity of the negative in the process differing horizons that the possibility of African freedom is established.
of self-overcoming. We need now to look at the political context and the elemental dynamic
In discussing this radical and fundamental orientation, Davidson within and out of which this historically originative fusion takes place.
specifically points to the theoretic perspective articulated by Amilcar Thus, with Fanon and in keeping with Cornelius Castoriadis's pioneer-
Cabral and his comrades in the PAlGC (Partido Africano da Indepen- ing work, The lmaginary Institution of Society, we will examine the
dencia da Guine e Cabo Verde).7 Thus, in view of what has been said grounding process of the concrete self-institution of society (the re-
up to this point, my basic concern in this chapter is to see how this claiming of history) in the context of the African situation."
popular and dernocratic trend establishes "the practice of freedom" As Fanon insightfully observes, in the urban nationalist "political
in the context of implementing its conception of African liberation as partiesn we find at work a paradoxical African political consciousness.
a process of reclaiming history. In other words, in the "nationalist parties" we find linked together
1 will begin with Fanon, to thematically locate the political context "the will to break colonialism" and "another quite different will: that
of this process. Consequent on the above, Cabral's formulation of of coming to a friendly agreement with it."" The political parties
liberation as a "return to the source" will be given as a specific example are in the first place of and for the urban center. They are political
of reclaiming the historicity of African existence. This process, un- organizations whose point of reference is European political practice
leashed by African societies and individuals in liberating themselves, and theory. Their basic orientation is the politics of calculated mass
is the act of historically instituting "rcceivable and acceptable forms unrest, manipulated toward the ordcrly displacement of power from
of existence or political societyn in the context of differing histories. one elite to another. Thcir basic objective is the transfer of power from
For ultimately-when al1 is said and done and beyond race and color- Europeans to Africans (.e., to themselves)in a methodic manner. Their
the actuality of these differing histories constitutes our lived humanity only concern is to demonstrate that they can calrn and stabilize the
as Africans. volatile situation of violence and chaos.
Let us now, with Fanon, begin by examining this process on the For these political parties the urgcncy of the popular unrest is located
continental level of Africa, which we will then conuetize by examining in its power to convince the colonizer of their necessity and importante.
the specific theoretic formulations of Cabral in the context of Guinea- These parties cohabit and share the political space and discourse of
Bissau. In this, my intention is not to give an exhaustive sociological colonialism. They are above al1 else "reasonable" since they are suscep-
and historical analysis of Cabral's thought? My only concern is to tible to the rationality of the colonizer. As Senghor, the paradigm of
give a concrete and practica1depiction of reclaiminghistory as a specific the Wescernized native par excellence, points out, when "examined
instance of "the practice of freedom." more profoundly, on the level of universal history"" colonialism has
92/ The Liberation Struggle The Liberation Stwggle / 93

both a debit and a credit side. In this respect "we, the colonized of of history. They " 'parachute' organizers into the villages" in order
yesterday . . . shall be more attentive to contributions than to de- to "erect a framework around the people which follows an a priori
fects."" It is of cardinal importance to note here that "we" refers to schedule."" Needless to say, this "a priori schedule" is traced out of
Westernized Africans-those who can appreciate the positive value of the political eventuations of European history which simultaneously
"universal history" as unfolded thus far in the colonialist historicity falsify and estrange indigenous political life.
of Europe, since, as Fanon sarcastically and pointedly observes, for The urban parties are not inserted in the lived needs and concerns
. .
"[tlhe 'jungle savage' . certain factors have not yet acquired impor- that move and define the life of the rural native. The interior of the
tance."14 colony or neocolony is seen as inhospitable territory in spite of the
Indeed, these parties, composed of more or less Westernized natives freedom slogans proclaimed by the urban parties. The politics of village
that appreciate "on the leve1 of universal history' the "contributions" affairs and local conflicts, "the only existing national events," are
of colonialism to the colonized, play a historically paradoxical role: trampled under foot by the "makers of the future nation's h i ~ t o r ~ . ' " ~
On the one hand, they are the mediating link between colonialism As Fanon pointedly observes, they do not "put their theoretical knowl-
and neocolonialism; and on the other, they abstractly formulate the edge to the service of the people" but rather, they intend to use the
concrete possibility of African freedom. They "abstranly" contemplate rural mass and its hopes for their own rather narrow, avaricious, and
the "concrete" process and possibility of African self-emancipation. self-indulgent political objective~.'~
The urban nationalist parties, modeled on European trade unions Simultaneously,and because they present themselves as the interpret-
and emulating their political practice, cater to the needs of the Western- ers of the aspirations of freedom and use appropriate if abstract slogans
ized native. They placate the political vanity of the assimilado castel for this purpose, these parties produce or attract to their ranks individu-
class, those who abhor local village and town politics (tribalism?), but als concretely tuned in to the needs and emancipatory possibilities of
avidly follow world events and conflicts-the unements in Paris the anti-colonial or anti-neocolonial struggle. In other words, these
and London. Shopkeepers, chauffeurs, clerks, self-proclaimed fashionl parties are hybrid formations called into existence by the process of
society ladies, minoc experts, graduates of correspondence schools, the struggle, which as a rule transcends their narrow historical grasp
Westernized intellectuals, in short, that segment of society called into of the historic moment in which they exist.
existence by colonialism and "sprinkled" with European culture is At this point, it is imperative to note that it is the volcanic and
politically serviced by these parties. eruptive "violencc of the colonized peoples" which produces these
This is the senion of indigenous society that on the whole, like same parties as outlcts and later on, in its maturation, surpasses and
Kafka's humanized ape, suspects its own indigenous culture and history sheds them, much as a snake sheds its first skin. ln fact and from the
of being worthles~.'~ Its very existence, from its dating habits to its very outset, the concrete possibility for self-emancipation harbored by
professional biases, is structured by a desperate and narcissistic attempt this process of struggle is both hidden and disclosed by these parties.
to mimic, duplicate, and be Europe in every respect.'"his caste of These parties abstractly formulate slogans and platforms which, if
people, within itself, is defined and differentiated in terms of the extent historically realized, would lead to their own political demise. Thus,
of extroversion and dependency of its constituent members. In al1 of from their midst arise the implementers of this demise.
this, Europe and European existence is the standard of excellence.
Those who are culturally closest to Europe are thus also the leaders
of the pack. Obviously there are m be found at the core of the political parties
and among their leaders certain revolutionaries who deliberately
On the other hand, the political parties function in total disregard turn their backs upon the farce of national indepcndence. But very
of the rural native and the "lumpenproletariat," the perpetually unem- quickly their questionings,their energy and their anger obstruct the
~ l o ~ displacedpeasantry,
ed the coolie labor which inhabits the shanties pany machine; and these elements are gradually isolated, and then
surrounding the European urban centers of the periphery. When these quite simply brushed aside. At this moment, as if there existed a
parties concern themselves with the rural native, they do so as "gener- dialecric concomitante, the colonialist [or neocolonialist]police will
ous benefactors" who have come to enlighten the backward residue hll upon them. With no securiry in the towns, avoided by the
94 / The Liberation Shvggle The Liberation Struggle 195

militants of their former party and rejected by its leaders, these and the needs of the interior regions of the country (for example: the
undesirable firebrands will be stranded in munty disrricts. Then it radical reorientation of the PAIGC after the Pidgiguiti massacre of
is that they will realize bewilderedly that thepeasant [nomad]masses 1959).= In al1 of this it has to be emphasized that the concrete and
catch on to what they have to say immediately, and without delay historic situation itself becomes the standard and testing ground of
ask them the question to which they have not yet prepared the
answer: "When do we ~ t a r t ? ' ' ~ ~ the radical possibilities of the liberation struggle.
ln this context, the questioning of these elements, usually the most
dynamic and radical within the established parties, irritates and desta-
lt is in and out of chis fusion of necessity that the urban and rural native bilizes the acccpted norms of political discourse. In and out of this
enconnter each other, for the first time, as possible co-protagonists in context these "dangerousn elements are forcefully ma~ginalized.~'
a process of po!itical struggle and originative history. As Fanon notes These groups, self-exiled to the interior to avoid persecution, find a
in the sentence following the above quotation, the "meeting [or fusion] populace immersed in a totally different world. They discover that the
of revolutionaries coming from the towns [Westernized natives] and peasants and nomads have their own politics (Le., concerns for the
country dweilers [peasantslnomads]"a' is the dynamic locus out of protection of traditional rights, the improvement of social and eco-
which unfolds the dialectic of African self-emancipation. nomic conditions, etc.) for which they are ready and willing to sacrifice.
In being "stranded in the county districtsn the Westernized urban In this encounter the former urban militants come to recognize that
"revolutionaries," for whom politics is both a calling anda passionate the politics of the "center" and the lived political actuality of the
vocation, find the human actuality whose needs and situation their "periphery" are mutually exclusive and antithetical. Thus, in contrast
radical discourse has thus far only abstractly articulated. The "people," to the "caf politicians" the militant finds-in the "dark" interior, in
the "masses," become very concrete in this encounter, in al1 of their the counttyside-a receptive, eager, and enlightened audience.
cultural complexity and material misery. For the peasantslnomads, the It cannot be emphasized enough that this encounter between "mili-
bulk of the rural mass and the majority of the country are the sector tants with the police on their track and these mettlesome masses of
of the indigenous populace which is totally disregarded by the calcula- people, who are rebels by in~tinct,"'~is not the implementation of
tions of the urban parties. They are the ones who will suffer concretely some theoretic formula or a voluntarylwilled encounter. It is rather a
(famine and perpetua1 administrative/politicalneglect) from the "farce specific junction-which does not and need not always and of necessity
of national independence." Thus, out of this encounter emerges a occur-in the unfolding of the liberation struggle. Furthermore, when
mutual recognition between the urban and rural native of what is at it does occur, it need not occur in exactly the way described by Fanon.
stake: colonialism minus the "whites," or the possibility of instituting Its occurrence, however, is the sine qua non of the possibility of "the
freedom in the process of struggle. practice of freedom" in the context of the African liberation stmggle.
It is only when certain elements from within the urban parties realize For it brings together rhe urban militants with those for whom
their folly in practice and are forced into a concrete collaboration with
the rural native that the impasse of neocolonialism, incarnated in the militating in a national party is not simply taking part in poliucs,
urban parties, is possibly overcome. When out of practical-pragmatic it is choosing the only means whereby they can pass from the status
political necessity certain groups and panies come to realize that the of an animal to that of a human being."
historicity of the struggle is directly tied to the concrete concerns of
the rural mass, only then is a political practiceof freedom truly possible.
But how might this possibility be actualized? Or, as Fanon even more graphically puts it in BIack Skin, White Masks:
It is imperative to note that this dialectic of freedom is ignited by
historically contingent situations. In reaction to some specific problem, For the Negm who works on a sugar plantation in Le Roben, there
certain elements within a political party or a liberation front put in is only one solution: n, fight. He wil embark on this struggle, and
question the effectiveness of the methods used thus far. Or in some he will pursue it, notas the result of a Marxist or idealistic analysis
cases, a political party reexamines its stance in terms of the actuality [.e., not as a result of theory] but quite simply because he cannot
96 / The Libemtion Siruggle The Liberotion Stmggle / 97

conceive of life otherwise than in the form of a battle against exploi- in stasis as the enclave of "ethnic cultures"-much valued and ad-
tation, misery, and hunger.16 vertized by the newly established National Tourist Bureau. The politi-
cal economy of Euro-American leisure (tourism?) is in fact one of the
In this encounter of the urban militant and the rural mass is made main preoccupations and source of revenue of neocolonial ~ t a t e s . ~ '
possible within the context of contemporary African history, the origi- Indeed, security (i.e., a police state existence for the vast majority of
native moment of the fundamental self-institution of human societies the local populace), wildlife preserves, and ethnic "cultural" exhibi-
and histories." This encounter or fusion is thc wming together of the tions equal foreign exchange.
seething subterranean elemental forces that thus far had been checked The policies that emanate from the "center" are geared toward the
and held in stasis by the established colonial or neocolonial order. It politics and economics of Europe, the original center of the colonial
is only out of this eruptive and magmatic flow of historic possibilities and now of the neocolonial setup. Cash crops and the export of raw
that "the practice of freedom* can possibly be established. materials are complemented by ethnic "parliamentary" procedures on
The imagetmetaphor of "magma," which 1borrow from Castoriadis, ethnic "socialistn edicts directed by the single-party state," the enclave
has to be envisaged as a volcanic eruption and the subsequent gush of the urban native, which simultaneously uses the antiquated ethnic
and solidification of molten rodc. The fluidity of the magma hardens animosities of the rural native to good advantage. Even the old colonial
into differing forms that invent themselves as the lava tlow slowly policy of "divide and rule" remains intact, precisely because the trans-
solidifies. Unlike Hegelian or Marxist conceptions of history, this meta- fer of power does
phor gives us to understand the historicity of existence as completely
fluid and grounded on the lived and "inherent plastic power" of those
engaged in it." The happening of history, undcrstood in this manner,
not take place at the level of structures since that caste [thc
Westernized African bourgcois] has done nothing more than takc
is the unreplicable process through which radically novel historical over unchanged the legacy of the economy, the thought, and the
formations are self-invented and concretely self-in~tituted?~ This erup- institutions left by thc col~nialists.'~
tive historical self-creation always occurs in terms of concrete needs
and in response to specific historic pressures and limit situations. Thus it happens that the former leaders of the movement (Senghor,
The occurrence, in whatever form, of this eruptive process of fusion Kenyatta, etc.) bccome the "transmission line" between the nation
is essential. As Fanon points out in the section of The Wretched of and its former colonizers. Development, nationalization of land and
the Earth tided "The Pitfalls of National Consciousness," and as is industry, and al1 the radical slogans of the movement (African Social-
evident in the contemporary politics of Africa (.e., the defunct actuality ism?)become mcrc words in the politics of deception and intimidation.
of the Organization of African Unity) the non-ofcurrence of this emp- A single-party state is proclaimed and its leaders engage in systemati-
tive fusion leads to the failure of the promise of African liberation-the cally "expelling" those who fought for independence "from history
contemporary actuality of neocolonialism. In other words: "There's or preventing them from taking root in
nothing save a minimum of readaptation, a few reforms at the top, a Against this negative possibility, Fanon asserts that the rooting of
flag waving: and down there at the bottom an undivided mass . .. the populace in history is the concrete regearing of the politics and
endlessly marking time.""' economics of the newly independent state toward and in the interest
In the name of freedom and independence the urban native in of the rural populace. For the rooting of the masses in history is the
power-the African dependent bourgeoisie-becomes the agent of magmatic flow through which the formerly colonized become active
Euro-American (i.e., NATO) economic, political, and cultural domi- participants in their own historical existence or Being. This rooting in
nance. lndependence does not usher in the concrete vitalization of the history is expressed in the decentralization of political power and
indigenous populace or the institution of sttuctures (political, eco- the diversification of economic production, on al1 levels, aimed at
nomic, cultural, etc.) on a national level that enhance and confirm the empowcring the common folk. Only when this becomes a lived actual-
freedom of the formerly colonized. Rather, the cities remain the centers ity at the grass-roots level, through rhe establishment of local mass
of European mimicry and the interior is frozen, mummified, and held political institutions of peoples' power (peoples' assemblies, village
98 / The Liberation R ~ g g i e The Liberafion Struggle 199

associations, etc.) in which popular democracy is implemented, only "make do" with the mass among whom tbey find themselves. Political
in such a context is "the practice of freedom" possible. For this phrase, engagement loses its abstract replicability (Marxist-Leninist formulas?)
which 1 have bortowed from Foucault, means nothing more than and becomes the constant attempt t o be relevant t o lived experience.
the concrete and lived self-governance of the previously colonized o r The abstract slogans of "caf politics" have to be concretized or dis-
neocolonized populace.)' As Fanon puts ir: "The people must under- carded. The needs of the struggle act as a sieve and the iiiulti-leveled
stand what is at stake. Public business ought t o be the business of the combat becomes the filtering process, the avenue through which the
public."36 Only when and if this is achieved in an actual and meaningful urban militant finds his way back to the historicity of the indigenous
way can one say that freedom and sovereignty, in a real sense, have mass.
been instituted in the life and as the life of common ordinary folk. lf he is a teacher (Lumumba), a mechanic, an engineer, a doctor
As already noted, in the context of armed conflicr, it is in the process (Fanon), or an agronomist (Cabral) by profession, he puts his skills
of securing the survival of the movement that the conditions for the to work and adjusts them to the situation. In so doing Iie learns and
possibility of "the practice of freedom" are originally created.j7 The becomes tuned to the concerns and needs of tbe rural tnass, recognizing
openness of the rural and urban native each to the other, the eagerness thus that t o be politically engaged means confronting tliese concrete
of the common folk to fulfill the needs of the moment, is an imperative needs (not quoting Mao!) within the context of the presenr. In this lived
of existence both for the movement as a whole and for the individuals involvement, the former urban militanr becomes a "Maquisard"-a
that compose it. freedom fighter. This is how Fanon puts ir:
The real people, the men and the women, the children and the old Sincb they are obliged to move about the whole time in order to
people in the colonized country [or the section of the populace in
the liberated areas of a neocolony], take it for granted [if they are
escape from the police . they will have good reasoii ro wander
thmugh rheir country and to get to know ir. i h e cafes are iorgotten;
to survive!] that existing, in the biological sense of the word, and
existing as a sovereign pcople are synonymous. The only possible
so are the arguments. . ..iheir ears hear the true voice of the
country, and their eyes take in the great and infinite poverty of rheir
issue, the sole way of salvation for this people is to react as energeti- people. They realize the precioustime that has been wasrrd in useless
cally as it can to the genocide campaign being conducted against
commentaries. ... The men coming from the towns learn rheir
lessons in the hard school of the people, and at the saine tiine these
men open classes for the people in military and political education.
In this context, politics, or "the struggle," and everyday life are not The people furnish up their weapons; but in fact the ~lassesdo not
two things apart. It is the effective development of the struggle which last long, for thc masses come to know once again rhe strength of
establishes the possibility of quotidian existence. But chis effective their own muscles, and push the leaders to prompt action.""
development is itself possible only if it evokes the concerned and volun-
tary involvement and participation of the indigenous populace. This It cannot be emphasized enough that this process of fusion does not
commitment in turn is assured only if the organized movement seri- happen as a result of official and formal proclamations or affirmations.
ously engages the needs of the rural mass and is actively recognized It occurs out of cohabiting the same historical, political, and existential
as doing so. The struggle, in short, secures the support of the mass to space in the midst of the most concrete and ultimate of human possibili-
the extent that it concretely involves the common folk on al1 levels, and ties-death. It occun by osmosis and diffusion-the way an exile
in doing so helps them metamorphose themselves from inen ahistorical assimilates the mannerisms and language of his hosts.
beings absent from history into active and jealous protagonists of their Just as the urban militant is cultured into the values aiid concerns
own historical becoming existence. of the rural native, conversely, in this context, the peasantslnomads
In this inter-implicative dialectic between armed groups and their reclaim their human existence and cultural heritage not as a frozen
popular mass base, daily life is not defined by its indifference to politicsl relic of a dead past, but as the living culrure of an actuality-historical
history but becomes that which makes for its pos~ibility.'~ In this and political-in thc process of self-institution. As we nored in chapter
context, the urban militants stranded in the interior have t o learn to 3, in L'An C h q de la Rvolution Algrienne, Fanon gives us a detailed
100/ The Libemtion Struggle The Liberciiion Strugglel101

account of this process of historical revival. He concretely documents ficd, it testifies against in mcmbers. Ir defines them without appeal.
for us Castoriadis's metaphor of magmatic gush, flow, and solidifica- i h e culrural mummification ieads to a mummification of individual
tion as he lived and experienced it in the first five years of the Algerian thinking. The apathy so universally noted among colonial peoples
anti-colonial struggle." It is in this concrete sense then that, for Fanon, is but the logical consequence of this operation."
the struggle at a fundamental leve1 necessitates the radical metamor-
phosis of traditional society." It is in this context that contemporary Colonialism petrifies the subjugated culture. It hecomes estrangement
concerns are appropriated into the lived actuality of the liberation and abnegation (tribalism?) for the Wesrernized native. On the other
movement. hand, it prescribes for the rural native an inert existence whose present
From this point on, aucient/ossified customs and traditions are not is an irrelevant past. This is the state of affairs that needs to be
merely discarded out of hand by the urban native, nor are they desper- overcome.
ately held on to by the rural native. Rather, their preservation loses lf decolonization is truly to be what it claims ro actualize-the
its inertia and becomes a process by which society is historically reinsti- "advent of peoples .. .onto the stage of history""'-then it has to
tuted out of the needs of the present mediated by the struggle. The become a truly lived historical and political actuality. To be sure, this
future is here not the inert and continued perpetuation of colonial is notan argument for cultural autarchy. It does not mean reinstituting
dominance; rather it is the projection of the possibilities embedded in a dead but an "authentic" African past, "living it as a defence mecha-
the fusion of the rural and urban native. In this process the arrested nism, as a symbol of purity, o salvation." It does not refer to a "culture
heritage of native society is vitalized in discarding and appropriating put into capsules, which has vegetated since the foreign domination.""
that which is necessary for its sumival. In al1 that has been said thus far, for Fanon, the liberation struggle
Borrowing a phrase from Hans-Georg Gadamer, the struggle as overcomes the "Pitfalls of National Consciousness" only when that
embodied in the encounter of the urban and rural native can be de- which was affirmed de facto in the process of the struggle-the eruptive
scribed as a "fusion of h o r i z o n ~ arising
" ~ ~ from the concrete historicity fusion of the urban and rural native-is concretely instituted de jure
of the colonized in the process of self-emancipation. For Gadamer, as the lived actuality of the independent state.
the lived consciousness which is saturated with history-in our context,
the consciousness incarnated in the historicalness of the liberation ihestrugglefor freedom does not give back to the national culture its
movement-is open and predisposed to the possibilities of its own
historicity. Thus, in this encounter of the urban and rural native, the
btmer value and shaoe:.this strueele which aims at a fi4ndamentallv

different set of relations between men [.e., "the piacrice ot free-

standpoint of the present is put in question and what is appropriated domn] cannot leave intact either the form or thc content of the
is not the inert past but the effective historicity of the fusion of these people's culture. After the conflict there is not only rhe disappearance
two elemental and dynamic forces. This is what Gadamer refers to as of colonialism but also the disappearance of the colonized man."
the "effective-historical consciousness," concretely grasped within the
context of the African ~ituation.'~ These are inspired and hopeful words! Indeed, those ok us of the present
lt is in this sense that Fanou's referentes to history and to reinstituting are painfully aware of the fact that the demise of colonialism has not,
the history of the forrner colonized has to be understood. In this regard as of yet, resulted in the "disappearance of the colonized rnan." Most
Fanon writes: of Africa today suffers neocolonialism under the rule of such "men."
This historical observation, however, does not in any way detract an
The setting up of the colonial system does not of itself bring about iota from the verauty of the position articulated by Fanon. It says
the death of the native culture. Historic observation reveals, on the nothing, in principie, against the future prospects of this position. It
contrary, rhat the aim sought is rather a continued agony than a only indicates that, to date, the African liberation struggle has failed
total disappearance of the pre-exising culture. This culture, once in its promise-articulated in a multitude of documents and pro-
living and open to the future, becomes closed, k e d in thc colonial grams-to reclaim the historicity of African existence.
status, caught in the yoke of oppression. Both present and mummi- Guarantees are, of course, out of the question in things human
102 / The Libemtion Stwggle The Liberation Stwggle 1103

and historical. The above notwithstanding, however, in the theoretic historieslcultures that disclose and are disclosed by the lived actuality
perspective of Cabral we see the viability of Fanon's hopes articulated of a people.
from within the concrete context of Guinea-Bissau. Let us now turn For Cabral historylculture is always and unconditionally to be under-
to Cabral for, as Fanon tells us, beyond absuact affirmations the stood in the plural, as the various modes of being and doing of human
African liberation struggle is the lived experience of specific national existence. In this framework the idea of "advanced" or "retarded"
movement~."~ cultures or histories is completely out of place. This is precisely because
such a judgment necessarily and always surreptinously privileges the
cultural and historical context of Europe out of which it is being made.
Thus, Cabral's basic starting point necessarily presupposes the cri-
tique of any metaphysics of history (Kant, Hegel, Marx, etc.) which
It is necessary to note at this point that the process of reclaiming views human histodcity as a singular and totalizing world-historical
history which 1 have been describing thus far in the thinking of Fanon process. Cabral, for example, would be in categorical agreement with
was the actual lived experience of the generation of Westernized Afri- Castoriadis when the latter affirms that the European self-centered
cans who fought and participated in the dekat of Portuguese colonial- conception that "in truth, there is but one history and for al1 that
ism-the first and last European empire in Africa. As Cabral puts it: matters, this one history coincides with our own," this view which
sees European history as the truth of human history as such and
1 remember very well how some of us still snidents, got together in as the " 'transcendentally obligatory' meeting point of al1 particular
Lisbon, influenced by the currents which were shaking the world, histories,"" this narrowly confined Eurocentric universe in which the
and began to discuss one day what could today be called the re- West is still immersed, has to be concretely overcome.
Africanization of our minds.1 Thus, for Cabral, given this theoretic framework, colonialism or
any form of externa1 subiugation is understood as the interruption of
Tbese discussions led Cabral and other assimilados of his generation the historicity of the colonized.
back to Africa to reorient themselvesand reclaim their African heritage.
Prior to becoming one of the key figures in the founding of the If we do not forget the historical perspective of the major events
Partido Africano da Independencia da Guine e Cabo Verde (PAIGC), in the life of humanity, if, while maintaining due respect for al1
the movement that defeated Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau, philosophies, we do not forget that the world ir the creation of
Cabral worked for a number of years as an agronomist for the Portu- man himself, then colonialism can be considered as the paralysis or
guese and in this capacity smdied the soil while absorbing the differing deviation or even thc halting of thc history of one people in favour
cultures of his native land.'' It is this lived experience of "re-Africanisa- of the acceleration of the historical developrnent of orher peoples."
tion" which Cabral systematically develops into the conception of
revolution-in the African context-as a "return to the s o ~ r c e . "Let ~~ To the extent then that national liberation is the overcoming of the
us now closely follow and probe Cabral's thinking on this point. colonialist interruption of the historicity of the colonized, it is a process
The basic premise of Cabral's thinking on colonialism and the anti- of returning "to the source" out of which the colonized spun their
colonial struggle, which he formulates as the "return to the source," history prior to being colonized-.e., thingified. In other words, the
is a heteronomous and multivalent conception of history. For Cabral struggle against colonialism is a reaction to a presently frozen reality
as for Heidegger, "existence is revealed in many ways."" History or in terms of the suppressed possibilities of this reality itself. But what
culture is the actuality of engagements, intellectual (artisticlspiritual) does this mean? 1s it a going back to an archaic past? What is the
and material, in which a people unveils its existence. In commerce "source" toward which the "return" is directed?
with their natural environment and in the context of d e b i t e social "Paralysis," "deviation," "halting" these are the terms used by Ca-
relations and an inherited past, differing histories and cultures are bral to describe the actuality of colonialism. These terms suggest the
formed. Differing peoples always exist within the confines of specific interruption or blockage of a process whose patterns of unfolding do
104/ The Libemtion Strvggle The Liberntion Struggle 1 105

not precede the actual process of unfolding itself. For what has been of historicity on the occupied territory. lt thus brings about new histoti-
halted is the lived life, the historieslcultures of the various African cal circumstances "in favour of the acceleration of the historical devel-
communities which in their totality constitute the peoples of Africa. opmentn of the colonizing society. The residue of these colonialist
In other words, this interruption itself has already been incorporated eventuations, which among other things have brought about the "birth
as a specific historic event-the memory of a defeat, among other of new nations," has resulted in a paradoxical reality divided unto
things-in the lived actuality of those it subjugated. itself as the actuality of contemporary Africa.
What the colonized "might have been" had colonialism not occurred lnstead of being organic wholes, these "new nations" are Euro-
is not a historically pertinent question, preusely because it posits and African hybrid constructions which do not arise out of the internal
presupposes, on the ontological leve], a false dichotomy between his- constancy of an indigenous historical formation. They are, further-
tory and the historicity of existence. Rather the central concern of the more, and in addition to the above, the amalgams of differing ethnic
"return to the source" is the drastic cffect of this interruption and "human groups" without any internal or organic cohesion, either with
the possibility of overcoming this negative inheritance of the African each other or with the vertically superimposed hybrid construction.
present. This then is the historical and political actuality created by colonialism
For Fanon as for Cabral the abstract affirmations and declarations and perpetuated by neocolonialism.
regarding the existence of a pre-colonial culture/history is not to the Within the confines of this situation the African past, "untouched" or
point. What matters is to disclose a futurc out of what has endured minimally affected by colonialism, exists as a subordinated historical-
against colonialism and out of what European domination itself has cultural totality.
established in its histonc African odyssey. Cabral fully recognizes the
impact of colonialism on African societies-the introduction of money,
the building of cities, the creation of new urban classes-but insists Repressed, persecuted, humiliated, betrayed by certain social groups
who have compromised with the foreign powcr, culture [history]
that this is nothing more than the aberration of a people's history. To took refuge in the villages, in the forests, and in the spirit of the
be sure, the negative effens of this aberration can and do become part victims of domination.17
of the posinve historical reality of the coionized once decolonization
is actualized.
When the colonial situation as a whole is put inquestion, the negative In other words, colonialism brings about a double society insubordina-
and negating experience of colonialism is then positively reappro- tion: on the one hand, the rural mass who experience colonialism as
priated and reclaimed. As Cabral puts ir: an external limit and imposition, and on the other, those whose exis-
tence is directly tied to the new developmentsbrought about by colonial
conquest-.e., the Westernized urban populace.
In the colonized countries where wlonization on the whole blocked
the historical process of the development of the subjected peoples Such societies divided within themselves are impaired actualities for
or else eliminated them radically or progressively, imperialist capital they do not have internal to themselves a common stlios that constitutes
imposed new types of relationships on indigenous society, the stmc- them as organic historic wholes. It is toward overcoming this trunca-
ture of which became more complex and it stirred up, fomented, tion that the "return to the source" directs itself. This process of
poisoned or resolved contradictions and social conflicts; it intro- "return" is a cultural and political recovery of the suppressed historic
duced together with money and the development of interna1 and possibilities in the existence of the colonized. Thus, the confrontation
external markets, new elements in the economy, it brought about with colonialism assumes, as we have already seen with Fanon, the
the birth of new nations from human groups or from peoples who character and disposition of two distinct groups: the urban and rural
were at different stages of historical development.J6 native.

In "blocking the historical process," which constitutes the historicity A distinction must be made between the situation of the masser,
of the indigenous populace, colonialism superimposes a different order who preserve their culture, and that of the social groups who are
106/The Liberation Struggle The Libemtion Struggle1107

assimilated or partially so, who are cut off [ k m the indigenous The Westernized urban natives who join the anti-colonial eruption d o
history] and culturally alienated.'' so by rejecting their assimilation, their cultural indigence, and success-
fully indigenize themselves into the historicity of their people. In fact,
For Cabral, as for Fanon, this distinction is fundamental precisely as we have already seen, the reclaiming of one's indigenousness is, for
because it dictates the specific direction, in terms of the anti-colonial the Westernized native, the originative moment of his anti-colonial
struggle, that orients those assimilated and those negatively affected commitment. It is the moment of a historical and existential decision,
by the culture of the colonizing power. a t which point the assimilado begins the cultural and historical meta-
The Westernized native turns toward the struggle for liberation only morphosis that will positively reimmerse him into the historicity of
when confronted by the futility of his attempts at integration. In the the indigenous f ~ l k . ~ '
compartmentalized actuality of the colonial setup this failure translates This whole dynamic is thur a response to an existence of estranged
either into existence in a cultural limbo, or into a direct identification marginality. It is a dialectic stimulated and provoked by colonialism
(engaged or absuact) with the subordinate rural mass." For the rural which boomerangs by internally undermining the coherence of colo-
mass, on the other hand, the conflict with colonialism is a lived actuality nialist snbjugation. It is not a futile attempt to dig out a purely African
felt as an externa1 confinement and imposition. In fact the beginning past and return to a dead tradition. Rather, it is the "denial" by the
of the organized armed struggle is nothing more than the resumption urban native of the culruraVhistorica1 supremacy of the "dominant
of the conflict with the original intruders. power over that of the dominated people with which it must identify."63
It is necessary t o emphasize, at this point, that the conflict with ln turning mward the rural native the Westernized urban native
colonialism does not initially arise as an effort to "return t o the source." critically recognizes his own self-negated historical and cultural iden-
As we saw with Fanon, in like manner for Cabral, the "return to the tity. Now, this self recognition-and the ambience of cultural anxiety
source" arises out of the failure of the politics of the urban parties in which it is generated-becomes a political and historical force only
and is grounded on lived historical experience. In 1958-1959 in the when it concretely annihilates itself as its own lived self-negation.
cities and urban centers of Guinea-Bissau, Cabral and the PAlGC When this happens (.e., the "negation of the negation," in Marxist-
experienced this failure and ir was by way of reorienting the struggle Hegelian language) the "return to the source," beyond absrract cul-
that the "return to the source" was established as the basic direction tural/political affirmations (Africanit, Pan-Africanism, etc.), becomes
of the m~vernent.~' a lived historical and political actuality manifested in rhe nacional
This changing of direction was thus not a quest for an uncontami- liberation struggle of a specific history and people.
nated romantic past but a concrete practicai effort grounded on the
lived historic actualities of the struggle. This is how Cabral describes
the sociological dynamic out of which it develops: When the "return to the source" goes beyond the individual and is
expressed through "gmups" or "movements," rhe conrradicrion ir
It is within the framework o this daily drama [o marginal exis- transformed into stmggle (secrcr or overt), and is a prelude to the
tence], against the backcloth of the usually violat confrontation pre-independence movement or of the struggle for liberation from
benveen the mass of the people and the ruling colonial class that a the foreign yoke. So, rhe "nturn to rhe source" ir of no historical
feeling of bitterness or a frustration complex is bred and devclops importance unless it brings not only real involvement in the struggle
among the indigenous petite bourgeoisie [the urban native]. At the for independence,but also completeand absolute identificationwith
same time, they are becoming more and more consciousof a compel- the hopes of the mass of the people, who contest not only the foreign
ling need to question their marginal status, and to re-discover an cuiture but also the foreign dornination as a ~ h o l e . ~ '
identity. Thus they turn to the people around them, the people at
the other extreme of the socio-cultural conflict-the native mas^.^' In order to truly grasp what Cabral means by the "return to the
source,' it is necessary at this point to examine the above formulations
This turning toward "the native mass," which ir a decision of con- in somc detail.
science is the first moment in the fusion of the urban and rural native. This "return" is not a return to tradition in its stasis. We are not,
108/The Libemtion Struggle The Libemtion Struggle1 109

therefore, engaged in an antiquarian quest for an already existing Eurocentric frame that stnictures his consciousness. The "return" is
authentic past. Rather, we are engaged in the affirmation by the West- thus a two-way process of cultural filtration and fertilization. In this
ernized native of the historicity of the rural indigenous mass. Simultane- dialectic European culrure/history is recognized as a particular and
ously, this 1s the self-negation by the Westernized native of his own specific disclosure of existence, aspects of which are retained or rejected
cultural legitimacy. The obverse of this denial is the positive affirmation in terms of the lived historicity and the practica1 requirements of the
of the stunted indigenous culture. This affirmation, hrthermore, is not history that is being reclaimed.
a theoreticailabstract assertion in need of proof. It is the "complete Simultaneously, this process discards elements of the indigenous
and absolute identification with the hopes" and aspirations of the cultureniistory which are found to be antagonistic to the struggle.
dominated rural mass which is aimed a t a joint process of struggle. It
is, in other words, a practical and engaged affirmation which asserts As we know, the armcd liberation struggle requires the mobiliza-
what it struggles t o institute: the historicity of the colonized. It is in tion and organizarion of a significant majority of the population,
this context that the reinregration of the Westernized native into the the political and moral unity of the various social classes, the efficient
indigenous heritage comes about. use of modern arms and of other means of war, the progressive
In "returning," the urban native brings with him the European liquidation of the remnana of tribal mentality, and the rejection of
cultural baggage that constitutes his person. He is a doctor, a student, social and rcligious rulcs and raboos which inhibir development of
an agronomist, a taxi driver, a skilled worker, etc., and thus brings, the struggle (gerontocracies, nepotism, social inferiority of women,
in the facticity of his Being, European values, skills, mannerisms, atti- rites and practices which are incompatible wirh the racional and
national character of the saugglc, etc.). The struggle brings about
tudes-lived aspects of European culture. The "complete and absolute othcr profound rnodifications in the life of [the indigenous] popula-
identification" of the urban native is reciprocared by his acceptance tions. The armcd liberation struggle implies, therefore, a veritable
and reintegration into the indigenous milieu. The Westernized native forced march along the road to cultural progress.66
is appreciated for the skills and wider horizons that are incarnated in
him. Simultaneously. in daily interaction in the midst of dire hardships The ossified African past-embodied in the rural native-is thus not
and struggle, he comes t o fully appreciate and value the resilience and preserved intact, but is cut and cast t o fit the historic requirements
elasticity (Nietzsche's "plastic power") of the indigenous history and of the struggle. Any aspect of tradition that hampers the concrete
culture-which, until recently, he saw as petrified and inert. As Cabral development of the movement is thus part of the dead past that must
puts ir: be sloughed off,

"petite bourgeoisie" (intellectuals, clerks) or the urban working class Considcr thcsc features inherent in an armed liberarion struggle:
(workers, chauffeurs, salary-earnersin general), having to live day the practice of democracy, of criticismand self-cridcism,the increas-
by day with the various peasant groups in the heart of the rural ing responsibility of populations for the direction of their lives,
population . . . discover at the grass roots the richness of their literacy work, cnarion of schools and health services, training of
cultural values (philosophic,political, artistic, social and moral) . . . cadres from peasant and worker backgrounds-and many other
[and] realize, not without a cerrain astonishment, the richness of achievement~.~'
spirit, the capacity for reasoned discussion and clear exposition of
ideas, the facility for understanding and assimilating concepts on All of the above "achievements" which are indispensable for and
the part of population groups who yesterday were forgotten, if not
despised . ..by the colonizer and even by some nationals." constitute the success of rhe struggle as such require, as a prerequisite,
a free and critica1 relation with the indigenous culture. A society in
stasis cannot libcrare itself. Liberation-"the practice of freedomn-
European values and skills are thus absorbed into a new synthesis. requires a radical dialectic of mass participation and popular de-
This is possible because in embracing the indigcnous historicity-in mocracy.
the very act of doing so-the Westernized native purges himself of the From al1 that has just been said, it can be
11O/ The Liberation Stniggle The Liberation Shuggle 1111

concluded that in the framework of the conquest of national inde- It is in this context that Cabral confronts the Eurocentrism of Mant-
pendence . . .the objectivesmust be at least thc following: deuelop- ist conceptions of history, class, and class struggle. In other words,
ment of a popular culture and of al1 positive indigenous cultural "this leads us to pose the question: does history begin only with the
values; deyelopnrent of a national culture based upon the history development of the phenomenon of 'class,' and consequently of class
and the achievements of the smgglc itself; constant promotion of
the political and moral awareness of thc people ... to the cause of
struggle?" To give an affirmative reply to this foundational question
is to place "various human groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America
independence, of justice, and of progrcss; development of a techni-
cal technological, and scienrificculture .on the basis of a critical ... outside of history, at the time when they were suhjected to the yoke
assimilation of man's adiievements in the domains of att, science, of imperialism."" It is, in other words, to justify European conquest.
literature. . .6' Anterior to the history of class and class struggles and serving as
its ontological underpinning we have, for Cabral, the "productive
In the process of undoing colonialism the colonized culture as colonized forces" of a human group-the material/historical disclosive and cre-
also undoes itself. It destroys the frozen and mummified forms of ative situation of human existence. It is chis reality that manifests itself
existence imposed on it. Thus, it should be clear by now that "the in the formation of classes and the dynamics of the class struggle in the
practice of fteedom" is possible only within the context of "the return history of specific peoples. The "history of class struggles" conceived as
to the source" which is the internal sttucture of African self-emanci- a world-historical totalizing process, as Marx understands it in the
pation. Communist Munifesto, is a specific ontic manifestation-peculiar to
Propedy speakig, the "return" is the dialectic, internal to the Afri- the historicity of European modernity-of this ontological fact, which
can liberation struggle, which allows for the possibility o African Marx universalizes and ontologizes as the historicity of human exis-
freedom. As Cabral tells us-in keeping with Fanon-if in some form tence in toto. Addressinghimself specitically to this point Cabral states:
or other the "return" is not instituted as the actuality of the movement
then the "struggle will have failed to achieve in obje~tive."~'This is .
Thcre is a preconception . . thar imperialism made us enrer history
so because the "return" is the liberation of the stunted possibilities of at thc moment whm it bcgan its aduentures in our countries. This
the colonized. It is within this context that, in a polemical encounter prcconception must be dcnounccd: for somebody on the left, and
with dogmatic Marxism-Leninism, Cabral pointedly asseas that be- for Matxisa in particular, history ir the history orhe class struggle.
yond historical "stages" and other such fashionable formulations what Our opinionisexacrlythe contrary. We consider that when imperial-
is at stake is the freeing of the "productive forces" of the colonized. ism arrived in Guinea it made us leavc history-our hisrory. We
The struggle is not aimed at a certain "stage" nor is it directed by agree that history in our auntry is the result of class srrugglc, but
or toward a given pre-established "ideology." Its only theoretic con- wc have our own class srruggle in our country; the moment . ..
colonialism artived ir made us leave out history and enrer another
cerns are the possibilities opened up by the struggle itself which are history."
properly explored and aiticulated as its own grounded self-aware-
n e s ~ . ~Thus,
' national liberation, affirms Cabral, "exists only when
the national productive forces have been completely freed from every The reality of colonialism is thus the violent superimposition of Euro-
kind of foreign domination."" We need now to examine what the pean historicity on African historicity. It is, in other words, the trunca-
term "productive forces" means in Cahral's usage. tion or paralysis of the dominated "productive forces." In this context
The "productive forces," a technical term borrowed ftom orthodox national liberation is the freeing of these "productive forces3'-the
Marxism, does not refer to the relations and forces of production in . reintroduction of the colonized into history."
the strict economic sense. Rather, it refers to the sum total of cultural Against the history of an "adventure" Cabral counterposes "our"
resources that constitutes a people in the open-ended process of its history and "out own" struggles, which are interior to the specific
historical becoming. The term "productive forces" is thus a formula- historicity othe indigenous folk. Once this fundamental and axiomatic
tion which is inclusive of, but not exclusive to, the economic realities premise is accepted, then the struggle can properly be understood as
of the coloni~ed.~' a concrete attempt to solve problems peculiar to specific histories. In
112/The Liberation Sl~ggle The Libemtion Shugglel113

a "Brief Analysis of the Social Structure of Guinea," Cabral gives us its self-unfolding. As already noted, the "return" is directed toward
a concrete example of what this mean~.'~ creating the socio-historicalcontext in which "the practice of freedom"
In this text we are presented with a systematic analysis of the various becomes the lived actuality of a formerly colonized people. Indeed,
cultures and ethnic groups that collectively constitute Guinea-Bissau. this is what it means to triumph over colonialism or neocolonialism: to
The aim of the text is not to force Marxist (or any other) categories reinstitute the world of the colonized beyond the residues of ~ o n ~ u e s r . ' ~
or justify an apriori schema of how a liberation struggle should unfold. As Cabral categorically affirms:
Rather, the text is descriptive and concerned with the various egalitari-
an-horizontal and hierarchical ethnic communities, their interna1 so- Ten years ago [bcforc thc struggle], we wcre Fula, Mandjak, Man-
cial-economic-political structures, the position of women, their relation dinka, Balante, Pepel, and others. Now we are a nation o
to the land, the history of relations (hostile or friendly) that each G~ineans.'~
particular ethnic group has with other ethnic groups and with the
Portuguese, and how this relates (if it does) to the group's particular To the extent that it is successful, the struggle effectively rransforms
mode of life and political organization. those who through it secure their freedom. As Fanon tells us, the
Regarding the urban centers, the analysis is concerned with locating struggle sublatcs "old beliefs and friendships from the time before life
those groups that are susceptible to the cal1of the movement and those began."" This is so precisely because it inaugurates a new life. "Ten
who give it a deaf ear, and in each case locating the reasons (historical years ago," "before life began," the people of Guinea-Bissau were
or sociological) why this is the case. In both the rural and urban differing ethnic groups forcefully imprisoned within the confines of
contexts, Cabral's analysis is descriptive and explorative of the concrete Portuguese colonial subjugation. "Now we are a nation of Guineans,"
possibilities imbedded in this context. It takes its theoretic cues and a nation created in the active pursuit of autonomy and freedom.
suggestions from the lived situation with which and in which it is
Thus, against fashionable dogmas and "theories of revolution," the
"return to the source" is a concrete assessment of one's own lived
historicity. To "have ideology [theory]," says Cabral, "doesn't neces- In both Fanon and Cabral we see the thinking of a synthesis of
sarily mean that you have to define whether you are a communist, traditional and modern aspecn of African society in the context of
socialist, or something like that. To have ideology is to know what actualizing the possibilities of the African liberation struggle. This
you want in your own condition."" It should be noted that Cabral's thinking, furthermore, is inscribed at a fundamental level with demo-
descriptive presentation in "Brief Analysis of the Social Structure of cratic values and aspirations. Indeed, for both of these thinkers the
Guinea" parallels, in its basic direction, Fanon's discussion of the effort of thought is directed at articulating the process of liberation
Algerian situation in L'An Cinq de la Ruolutione Algkrienne. lnstead as the self-formation of African nation states from out of the confines
of mimicking Fanon's analysis, Cabral does for Guinea what Fanon of the former colonial territories.
did for Algeria: he engages in a distinct and hence novel theoretic The patriotism or nationalism on which such a metamorphosis is
assessment of a specific historical situation. Thus "to know what you grounded is, furthermore, a multiethnic national awareness arising
want in your condition" is to have a concrete theoretic understanding from the rccognition of difference and the establishment of a common
of one's lived historical situation. For both Fanon and Cabral, then, histoty of emancipatory struggle. In fact each former colony as an
theory, properly speaking, is always the concrete hermeneutics or inter- independent state is an aggregate of ethnic groups. Thus, we have
pretation of the needs and requirements of a specific historicity." Their an inclusive and emanciparoty nationalism in contradistincrion to an
theoretic labors are focused on an engagcd hermeneutics of their lived exclusive and retrograde nationali~m.~'
situation. Indud, as Cisaire put it, "our liberation placed us on the left.""
This knowledge, furthermore, arises from and is grounded in the Or, as Sartre rminds us, "colonialism creates the patriotism of the
exigencies specific to a particular history at a particular moinent of ~olonized."~'This is a patriotism that derives from the " hermeneutical
114/The Libemtion Smiggle The Liberation Shuggle/ 11S

situation ... of the formerly colonized, the oppressed ...

struggling Taking the negativity of this situation as its immedi~tebackground
for more justice and eq~ality."'~It is the patriotism of those who and source o r point of departure, African philosophy airns at reviving
reclaim their historical existence in terms of and by referente t o the the cultural and historical actuality of the formerly colonized/enslaved
historicity of the values inscribed in the charter of the United Nations,'6 peoples of Africa.
a nationalism grounded in the recognition that drfference is what As we have seen in this chapter, Fanon and Cabral, in their theoretic
constitutes the concrete existence of each nation state and people in articulations cultivate a radical hermeneutics of the colonized in the
their particular and specific historicity. This is what 1 referred to, in process o self-emancipation. This then is the concrete and practical
the first chapter of this study, as the basis for global eanhly solidarity.8' example that African philosophy must follow in its own engaged mus-
T o think through the historicity of lived existence, this is what Fanon ings and reflexive reflections. ln so doing it will explicitly constitute
and Cabral d o from within their lived situatedness in the African itself as a radical and emancipatory African philosophical herme-
liberation struggle. In their work, African philosophical hermeneutics neutics.
finds a living example of its vocation. Thus, in terms of contemporary Consciously and in a critica1 and rigorous manner, it will appropriate
concerns-political, economic, scientific, cultural, etc.-the hermeneu- and add to the practical and engaged theoretic herirage of the African
tics of African philosophy must engage in situared reflections aimed liberation struggle. In so doing ir will become a radical and emancipa-
at the pragmatic and practical aim of enhancing thc lived actuality of tory hermeneutic inventory of our post-colonial African inheritance."
post-colonial Africa. It is only in this way that African philosophy, as For as Foucault tells us: "philosophy is precisely the challenging of al1
the reflexive hermeneutics of its own historicainess, can grow and phenomena of domination at whatever leve1 o r under whatever form
cultivate itself as a concrete contemporary philosophic discourse.8' they present themselves-political, economic, sexual, institutional, and
As Marcien Towa puts it, African philosophic thought is deeply SO ~ n . " ~ '
committed t o an

auto.centtic Africa which is the center o its own conceptions, of

its decisions and the actualization of the totality of its spheres of
essential activicy: political, economic and spiritual; a fraternal Af-
rica, which will respect this same auto-centricprinciple as it applies
to itself and as it applies to other pe0ples.8~

Indeed, an "auto-centric Africaml The effort t o theoretically assist in

the actualizing of such a possibility is, for African philosophy, a noble
and worthwhile cause. Furthermore, as we have seen in our explora-
tions of Fanon and Cabral, this is the continuation of the age-old
African struggle t o reclaim, beyond colonialism and neocolonialism,
the existence and historicity of contemporary Africa.

To enslave [.e., colonize] a people means to contain [or restfla]

them to activities which do not serve their needs, but someone else's,
for an end [or purpose] which is not theirs, but someone else's. The
enslaved pcople is thus inscmd, as a merc instmment, into a practical
proccss Whoie movemcnts and goals rcmain alien and unkown to
it. Hencc. the culture ~roducedis not their own, but somcone elsc's.
The enslvement of apeople dries up i a culture at its source?'
Africa in the Present Context
of Philosophy

Man aspires to know truth and the hidden things of nature,

but this endeavour is difficult and can only be attained
with great labour and patience. . . . Hence people hostily
accept what they have heard from their fathers ond shy
from any [critical] examination.
-Zor1a Ya'oqob
Sixteenth-century Abyssinian philosopher

In philosophy, the end is the synoptic recapitulation of the whole.'

Thus, by way of a conclusion, 1 will present a brief overview of what
this study has hoped to achieve. In so doing 1 will locate and stake
out, within the framework of contemporary thought, a critical position
in terms of the question of what African philosophy-in the last decade
of the twentieth century-can and should be. This will reflexively
specify my own position in the ongoing discourse oi contemporary
African philosophy.
That such a thing exists is beyond dispute. What needs to be done
is to preliminarily trace out its theoretic role in the present situation
of the continent. For the effort to appropriate the historic and emanci-
patory possibilities of our post-colonial present is-as argued in this
study-the compelling theoretic and moral responsibility of African
philosophic work.

The introduction abstractly aniculated the basic premise and

grounding thesis of the study as a whole: that philosophy is inherently
118/ Africa in the Prerent Context of Philosophy Africa in the Present Context of Philosophy 1119

and in its very nature a hermeneutics of the existentiality of human in terms of the exigencies of the African world, of the prevalent as-
existence. This was done by exploring, in a preliminary manner, the cendance of context-oriented modes of philosophizing in the discipline
contemporary actuality of the debate in African philosophy. as a whole. In this context, as Fanon puts it:
By way of substantiating the above, chapter 1 queried the relation
of philosophic reflection to the actuality out of which it constitutes Universality resides in this decision to recognize and accept the
itself. In like manner, chapter 2 explicated this historicity further by reciprocal relativism of differcnt cultures [and histories], once the
critically engaging the failings of contemporary African philosophic colonial status is irreversibly excluded.'
thought in terms of its thematic relations to the discourse of the African
liberation struggle.
Contemporary African philosophy, in this regard, originating as it
Thus, the first half of the study provided a metaphilosophic attesta-
does out of the "heart of darkness," is an added critical questioning
tion to the hermeneuticity of contemporary African philosophic voice in the varied current discourses of philosophy. It is the ques-
thought. The second half of the study, on the other hand, presented
tioning voice of those whom the modern European world compelled
a hermeneutics of the possibility of African freedom focused on the into voicelessness in the process of its own violent and self-righteous
violence and the emancipatory hopes and possibilities of the African establishment. As Outlaw puts ir:
liberation struggle.
Beyond the disputes and squabbles of Ethnophilosophy and its "Pro-
fessional" critics, chapters 3 and 4 presented substantial philosophic In light of the European incursion into Africa, the emergente of
explorations of questions that pertain to the actualities and possibilities "African philosophy" poses deconstructive (and reconstructive)
of the present. Through al1 of the above, this study has presented challenges.'
African philosophy as a critical hermeneutics of the African situation.
In its specific arguments and formulations this study has been grounded The "deconstructive challenge" of African philosophy is directed at
in the concrete awareness that philosophy in general and African phi- the Eurocentric residue inherited from colonialism. The institutional
losophy in particular is, above al1 else and necessarily, a hermeneutical structures that the "independent" states of Africa have taken over
thinking through of its own lived historicalness. from their former colonizers-the grounding parameters and cultural
By taking Fanon's and Cabral's work as paradigmatic for African codes inscribed in these political, economic, educational, and social
philosophy, 1have argued that the hermeneutics of African philosophy organizations-remain, in their essential constitution, oriented by colo-
is, in effea, a situated emancipatory thinking akin to the theoretic nial and European condescending attitudes. In every respect these vital
labors of these two leaders of and participants in the African liberation societal structures remain unthought and unchanged. Thus, the un-
struggle. In their work African philosophical hermeneutics finds its masking and undoing of this Eurocentric residue on the leve1 of theory
paradigmatic forerunners. Where then is this situated thinking located is a basic task and challenge for African philosophic thought.
within the larger framework of contemporary thought? Conversely, and in conjunction with the above, the "reconstructive
challenge" of African philosophy is aimed at supplying a positive
hermeneutic supplement to the concrete efforts under way on the
continent. lt is an indigenizingtheoretic effort in the service of revitaliz-
ing the historicity of African existence within the context and the
As Theophilus Okere has convincingly argued, the "historicity and bounds of out contemporary world. Paraphrasing Ngugi wa Thiong'o,
relativity of truth-and 61s always means truth as we can and do one can say that this is the process of "decolonizing the rnind"' or,
attain it-is one of the main insights of the hermeneutical re~olution"~ with Cabral, as we saw in chapter 4, one can describe it as the struggle
in contemporary thought, which substantiates and in turn is substanti- to "return to the source."
ated by the efforts embodied in African philosophic discourse. Indccd, ln chis theoretic double venture, the hermeneutics of African philoso-
contemporary African philosophy is an articulation from within, and phy finds itself allied with the various and varied critical voices that
12O/Africo in the Present Context of Philosophy Africa in the Present Context of Philosophy/ 121

constitute the contemporary intellecnial panorama. As Edward Said ultimately-when al1 is said and done-this is the ethical, political,
has observed, in this panorama, and existential impulse of African philosophic thought.

the real issue is whether indeed there can be a tru; representation For a long time, in the night, his voice was that o the voiceless
of anything, or whether any aud al1 representations, because they phantoms of his ancestors, whom he had raised up. With them, he
are representations, are embedded fitst in the language and then in wept their death; but also, in long cadence, they sang his birth.'
the cilture, institutions, and political ambience othe representer.
If the larter alternative is the correct one (as 1 believc it is). then we
must be prepared to accept the fact that a representation is eo pro
implicated, intertwined, embedded, interwoven with a great many
other things besides the "truth," which is itself a representation.
What chis mustlead us to methodologicallyis to view representations
(or misrepresentations-the distinction is at best a matter of degree)
as inhabiting a common field o play defined for them, not by
some inherent common subject matter alone, hui by some common
history, tradition, [and] universe odiscourse.'

This then is what 1have argued, in this study as a whole, from within
the problematic of philosophical hermeneutics and Li terms of the
basic character of African philosophy. nius, in full awareness of its
own lived situatedness and starting from it, African philosophical
hermeneutics is engaged in articulating the truth of i u lived present.
This "truth" is, furthermore, nothing more than its own reflexive self-
representation on the plane of philosophy, in the service of fulfilling
the emancipatory hopes and aspirations inscribed in our "common
history, tradition, [and] universe of discourse" as post-colonial Afri-
cans. This then is, in my view, the sense and meaning of the "post-"
in "post~olonial"~ as it relates t o contemporary African philosophic
thought and practice.
Now more than ever, at the end of the twentieth ceniury, we contem-
porary Africans engaged in philosophy have t o undertake the practice
of our discipline in full awareness of i u limits, implications, and possi-
bilities. Hermes rendered the messages of the gods; in our context,
this is the service of deciphering and interpreting the senseof our mortal
existence within the bounds of the present post-colonial situation. The
hope of this study has thus heen to contribute its efforts toward the
augmentation of this cumulative and worthwhile project. For this is
the calling and duty of African philosophical hermeneutics.
In this interpretative service we will contribute our share in consum-
mating the self-emancipation of Africa. In so doing we will acknowl-
edge and partake of the process of repaying our collective debt to
those whose sacrifice and hard struggle anualized our freedom. For


All emphasis in rhe original unless orhenvisc indicated.

1 The Epic of Gilgamerh, ed., inr. by N. K. Sanderr (NewYork: Penguin B o ~ k r ,
2 If one looks at Homer, Hesiod. the Sumcrian epic 01 Gilgamcsh, and rhe West
Aftican epic of Sundiata-and I am sure rhis observarion can be verificd in ormr
of addirional myrhs from other parrs and pmpleo of the world-it ir clear rhat,
despin rheir many differcnces, al1 these texts articulan rheir discourse from widiin
rhe limia of human finimdc. In al1 four, the myrhological narrative never thrcatcns
rhc compars of human mortaliy wirhin which ir unfolds, and al1 rhe tanrastic deeds
rhat involve rnd even implicared the gods occur. As is well known, strmng from
Plato. in the tradition of G m k and later Euroucan merauhvricr.. rhe effon of
phibsophy-except for rhc udark honc" of rhe rradinon-is dircctly aimcd at
doing prcciscly rhis: overcoming rhc limits of human finimdc. Among thc Platonic
diaogua the Phaedo is the best illvsnation of chis basic and grounding oricntation
in Europcnn metaphysie. In rhw segad-mmenting on Edmund Hwserl, an
intluenrinl exvoncnt of this orimmtion roward hunun himde-lacaues Derrida
writcs that, ior H u f ~ r l"death is recoyizcd as but an emp.rtc~l and cxninnc
significanon, a wocldly accident." SpeerhandPhrnomena (Evanrran: Northwerrern
. .
~niveisitvPresa. 1973). ...D. 10. To mv knowledee. - . howcver. the suoneest statsmmr
of this perspectivc is Hegel's asserrion that 'logic [.e., his Logic] is to be understwd
as the svsnm of uuse season. as rhe realm of vurc thouaht. . .. It can rherefore be
said thir this co&enc is rhe &porition of God u he ir i hir cierna1 essmce before
rhe crearion of namre and 01 finite mind." Hegel's Scimce of Loftc, rnns. A. V.
MiUer (New York: Humanirics Prcss, 1976),p. SO. In contras;ro rhis kind of
"infinire rhinking" hermeneutics enunciares a 'finitc" descriptivc kind of thinking,
which is gmunded in rhe inhercnrly intcrprctarive and morral chancar of human
exisrence as such. This is the kind of rhinking or human wirdom-the knowledgc
of our own limitedness-that the Socrates of the Apology daimed for himself in
conrradisrinmion to the Sophists.
3 Drcw A. Hyland, The Originr of Philoraphy (New York: Capricarn Books, 1973),
p. 24.
124 / Notes

4 Henry Odera Oruka. "African Philosophy: A Brief Penonal Histoiy and Currcnr As Hountondii plays out his argument it quickly unravcls. It takcs only a few
Debarc," in Contentporary Philosophy: A New Suwey, vol. 5, Africmt Philosophy, prohing quesrions m uncover the fact that Hountondji uses "African' as a
cd. Cuttorm floisrad Dordtecht: Mattinus Niihoff. , . 19871. .
..sce cs~cciallv
55. For a recent discussion of the concemporary sinialion in African philosophy,
, m.46-
r = signifier nat just for geographicd originr, but alro for raceiethnicicy. This
anempt to urcumscribc -African" ir frustrated by the pby of forces that
see Fidelis U. Okafor. "Issues in A f n a n Philoswhv Reexamined.' Iniernational brings on a dcconstructive encounrer wirh the "whice mythology" infecting
Philosoph~cal Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 1, issuc io..129 (March 1993). Sce also Philosophy. At the core of this mythology ir a rubsrance-accident meraphysin
Lunur Outlaw. ^Africnn. A h i a n Amcrican. Africana Philosoohv."
cal Fomm, vol. 29, nos.-1-3 (Fall-Spring 1992-93).
. .. Thc Philoso~ht- groundinp,a
. supplemencal
.. philosophical
. . anthropolom:
. -. rhe saul, consciourness.
orrhepcrson ir rcgarded as rhe rssenccof rhc human bcicp: rhcir racc.cthnic,ty,
5 Lucivs Outiaw. "African 'Philosoohv*: Demnstniccive and Rcmnstmaive Chal- or pender is sccondary or accidental. T h ~ sir at best naivc. i\'o .Irtng (or deadl
lenger," ~ o n t & ~ o r . ~t ~ h i i o s o ~ & :New
' ~ Survy, vol. S, Afncan Philosophy. oerson is accidenrallv or secondaril~African or E U L O D chat ~ P ~is. to sav. is of a
ed. Gunorm floirtad 'Dordrechr: Maninus Ntjhoff, 1987). In this rame anrhology, particular racc or cchniciry "accgdcntally" vntlc being a "pcr<unSor ^human"
ree also Hcnm Oderi Oruka. "African Philosoohv: A Brief Personal Hirtorv and substantially. ("Alrican'Philasophy': Dcronrrr~ctivcand Rcco8irrr~cr.vcChal-
Current Debate."
6 Marrin Heidegger, "The Age of the World View," in The Question concerning
Technolom New York: Haroer & Row. 19773. D. 116. At this point it should benoted that Hountandji ha-sincc hir original formulntion
7 Kwasi Wiredu, "On Defining African Philosophy," African Philosophy: The Lcsen- in 1973-presend a dcfcnse of his original position which begrudgingly and very
r ~ o lReodingr, ed., int by Trcnay Serequeberhan ( N m York: Paraaon Housc, slightly qualifies ics srylc if not irs content. In fact hir defense is a forceful 2nd
i s s i ) , p. 80. more vigorous resntement of hir original position. My vie\v of Hountondji's quali.
ficd position res= an a reading o his paper "O~cidentalism, Elitirm: Answcr to
8 The label "Professional Philosophy" is the sclf-dcsignation of the above-named Two Critiques," which appeated in Quert, an internatiunal .ifrican journal of
four African ohilosoohcrs and rckrs to thc ha that, at some levcl, thev al1 sharc philosophy, vol. 3, no. 2 (December 1989); foi the original French version. ree
a modcrnist bias in terms of which cheir respective vims in and on ~ f r i c a n philoso- Recherche, Pedagogie et Culture, Parir, no. 56 Uanuary-March 1982). Since an
phy arc arnculatcd. In chis rcgard, scc Hency Odera Orukn, "Four Ttmds in Currcnt author is usualiy consulted, by way o tequesring permission when his work is
African Philorophy;' ~ h t l o r o ~mh the ~ Prerenr Sttr<iiion of Afnca, ed. Alwin prcsented in rranslation, 1 must assume that this piece represents hir latest view,
Diemer (Wirrbaden. Franz Stciner Vcrlag Cmbh. 1981), rpccifieally norc 15, p. 7. which is not oubsrantially diffeccnt fram hsr original pasirion. In any case, 1 arn
The fulla\r,inp are the main texts o P~afessionalPhiloror>hv:Wiredu. Phtloso~hv
and An ~ f r i c nCulare (Cambridge: ~ a m b r i d ~~ ne i v e n i ~rero,
k 1980); ~oun&'- - . . .
resradne Hounmndii'r orieinal oosition oreciselv becausc 1 am intercrted in lavina . "
out thc&crall original situation, in contradistinction to whzch the hermeneutical
dji, Africon Philosophy, Myth and Realify (Bloomingwn: Indiana Universiv Press, orienmtion in contemporary African philosophy was inirially coniriruted. On this
1983); Bodunrin, "Which Kind of Philosophy for Africa," Philosophy in thePresent last point please see the remarkr ro note 10. For a diffcrrnr and more sympathetic
Siruation of Africa, ed. Alwin Diemu (Wiesbadcn: Franz Sniner Vedag Gmbh, reading of Hounrondji's qualified position, please see Kwame Anthony Appiah, In
1981); and Oruka, Saae Philosophy (New York: E. J. Brill, 1990). The above texts
are rnostly cornpilati&s and &ll&ions of papes-published by their respective
Mv Father's House New York: Oxford Universiw . Press.. 1992). As Aodah
.. .uuts
it: *Hounrondji ha-for cxamplc, in a mlk at rhe African Lireraturc Association
aurhorr in rhe 1960r, 1970s and 1980s. As indkand above, 'Ethnophilosaphy' meeting in Dakar, Senegal, in April 1989-accepted thir poinr, iniiaing now rhat
is a derogatory term coined by Hounmndji in 1969 (ibid., p. 34). b has also bsen his originalprise depmition was polemical. In a situarion where African philosophy
used in the contemporaiy debate to nfer without disparagement m ethnographic w a s s u p p o ~ d wbeexhausrcd by adescripnveethnophilox>phy, ir ir undcrstandable
work in African philosophy. Onc last point: In my last very pleasanc and fruithil that his point-thar thir war by no means al1 thcrc was to philosophy-war ovcr-
meeting with Kwasi Wircdu, a t thc Caimal Division APA m ~ t i n ain Louiwille. snted, as the claim that ethnophilosophy had nothing to do with philosophy" (p.
~ e n n i c i y(April 2 4 2 6 , 1992), he vcry strenuously. but cordially.objecrcd ro my 203, note 47).
ponrayal snd characrcnzation of his posinon in African philosophy. For thc record
1 repeat now what I dien urprcssed to him verbally, thai my rcbr.&entation of his 10 On this point, SK Hounmndii, African Philosophy, Myth und Reality, pan one,
viewr ir bared on his published work and specifically on his book, Philosophy and xction nne, 'An Alienatcd Literature."
an African Culture. In al1 fairness to Wiredu, I would also like to note that his 11 Theophilus Oken, African Philosophy: A Historico.Hern!eneutical Investigation
most recent views, both oral and writtcn, are nor, properly spcaking, in kecping af the Condiiions of Its Possibfiilv [Lanham. Md.: Univcrsirv Press of America,
with thc hiitoricallv ariainative oosition of Profesnional Philoso~hvas Dottraved i983). p. viii. ~ e ~ a ; d i nthis
g tefcrence I wouid likc to point &t that, while being
above. In rhis regard my &narkr apply only to his book, ~ h i l o o bnd& ~b~ ~frhan in complcte agtcementwith O k m o n mort everyrhing, 1 find thir tefercnee parrially
Culture, and to his articlu on this subiect that precede the publicarion of thc abovc- problematic. The nferencc in qucstion reads: 'Samewhere in bctwcen, on the onc
indicated book. hand, the chauvinism of rhosr who claim that philosophy is of i a n a m z a rreasure
9 In this rcgard scc the "dassic" statcmmt of this Eumcenuidmodemist view in hidden in thc sccret recesses of highest Olympus inaueorible ro non-westernerr
Hountondji, African Philosophy, Myth and Raaliiy, p. 66. On chis point Lucius . . ..
1i.c.. , Pmfessional Philosoohvl. , and on the other rhe a Briori ciairns of hose who
think thar philosophy is so natunl a thing that if the Greeks had it at all, al1 people
Outlaw correctly poina out that:

and, therefore, Africans must already havc it [.e., Ethnophilosophy], this cssay not the relia of a dead past-rhar is the "source" m which the "return" is dkcted
finds i a place." What 1 find problematic in rhis statment is that it uncritically by the lived exigcncies of the present moment of hismry. In this regard Cabral's
acnpts thc vicw advocated by Professional Philosophy that, prior to the modern formulation is akin to Martin Heideggcr'r nouon of wieder-holen (rcpctition). as
age Africa was innocent of philosophy as such. Okere fails to note rhat, on good ir oertains to Dasek's (.e., rhe arnialiry of human cxirrence) hisroricality.
. Beina
hermeneudc grounds (and leaving the methodological naiverk of Ethnophilo~oph~ a"> Time (New York: Harper & ~ o w , 1 9 6 2 ) .p. 437.
and of Oruka's Sage Philosophy aside) the foundational wondering and musing 17 Marcim Towa, "Conditions for the Affirmation of a Modern African Philaraphical
of tradicional African sages have-in their conrinuous crirical and safeguarding
Thought," African Philosophy: The Essential Readings, p. 192.
relarion to the rraditions (.e., che erhuic world-views) thev inhabit-a hcrmeneutic
and philosophic function. To this extent, it has to be conceded in pinciple that 18 For Senghor's own defenrivc rcmarks regarding thir rather controvcrsial, if not
thcir reflections and intellectual productions are pmducn of philosophic effort. obsccne. statemenr. see "The Suirit of Civilizarion or the Laws of African Negro
The alternative would be to say that the wuntless and intrican African world- C u l ~ r c , "Presence Africaine, nos. 8-10 June-Novembcr 1956), p. 52. For a
views that we have inherited beyond the castrating experien~cof colonialism, have more recent and vcry sympathetic reading of Senghor's perspecrive. sce Olusegun
been preserved and perpetuated without rhc mediative and critkal cffort of human Gbadegesin. "Negritude and l a Contribution to thc Civilization of h e Universal:
thoughr Bur can rradirion be transmitted without B e critical mediating cfforr of Leopold Senghor and the Question of Ulrimaa Reality and Meaning," Ultimate
rhoughr? And isn't this kind of thoughr inhucntly philosophic, inasmuch as iris Reality and MeanDlg, Interdisciplinary studies in the philosaphy af undentanding
concerned with h e perpetuation and the transmission of thc existential actuality lcanadian ,iournall... vol. 14.. no. 1 lMarch
. 1991). On thir oaint ree alra: Lucius
of a livcd and living heritage? To be sure, along wirh philmophy, one will also Outlaw, "African 'Philosophy': Deconsttuctivc and Rcconstrucrive Challengcr,"
find other kinds of intellectual products: myth, art, music-thcse. however, do not pp. 26-32, and Abiola Irele, The African Experience in Litemture nnd ldeology
in any way nulliiy, by their presence, the actuality of philosophic thought in their (Bloomingmn: Indiana Univeairy Press, 1990), pp. 67-124. Fot a sysrcmatic de-
midst as the grounding uision of their distinu specificity. How these differing strumring of Senghor's nonon of Ngritudc rec chaptcr 2 of rhir study.
intdlecmal activiries and products are differentiated is an issuc wc nced nat ~ u r s u e 19 Towa. "Conditions for the Affirmation of a Modern hirican Philosophical
ar the present moment. One last poinr: Okere's book was first produced in 1971 Thought," p. 193.
as a doctoral dissertation at the Instirute Superiw de Philo~ophieof the Catholic
Universiw of Louvain and as V. Y. Mudimbc ooints out. i a main and loftv, meiit 20 Ibid., p. 191.
is that of having inaugurared the hermcncu&al orienttion in thc discourse of 21 [bid., p. 194.
contemporary African philosophy ("African Gnosis: Philosophy and the Order of
22 Ibid., pp. 194-95.
Knowledge," African Studies Review, vol. 28, nos. U3 lJunclS/~cptember19851, pp.
210-11). As a pioneer Okere is thus, unbeknownsr to himsclf, implicared, on this 23 Antonio Gramsci, Prfson Notebooks, ed., trans. Q. Hoare asid G.N. Smirh (Ncw
particular, in rhe views and posirians he crirically overcomcs. Rarely docs a pioneer York: International Publishers, 1975). p. 345.
escape sudi backlashl 24. AimC CCsairc. Return to My Native Land (NEWYork: Pcnguin Books, 1969). p.
12 Kwame Gyekye, An Essay on African Philosophical Thought (Cambridge: Cam. 88.
bridge University Press, 1987), p. 11. 25 Kwame Anrhony Appiah, "Ir the Post- in Postmodernirm the Posr-in Postcolonial?"
13 Ibid., p. 43. Critica1 Inquiry, vol. 17, no. 2 (Winter 1991), p. 353. This paper ir now chapter
seven of Appiah's imporranr book, In My Father's House.
14 Okere, African Philosophy, A Historico-Hemtene~ticalInvcstigation, chapter five,
"Philosophy and Non-Philosophy: Lessons from thc History of Philosophy," pp. 26 Amilcar Cabral. "Thc nrtional movrmentr of the Portugucsc co.onics," rheopening
81-113. For Okere's discussion of the hismricity of African philosophy, see pp. addrrss at the CONCP confcrcncr hcld in Dar.Er-Salaam 196,'. collecred in Rewlu-
114-31 and specifically p. 121. non in Gutnec Selected Textr (Ncw York. Monrnly Revlew Prers, 1969), p. 80.
15 Franrz Fanon, Towards the African Revolution (New York: Grovc Press, 1967), 27 Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Ncw York: Grove Press, 1968), p. 316.
p. 23. Cabral expresaes subsonrially thc samc view in "Connecring rhc Strugglc: An
lnkrmal Talk with Black Americans," Return to the Source: Selected Speeches
16 Amilcar Cabral, Rerurn to the Source: Selected Speeches (New York: Monthly
(New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973), pp. 75-92, pnssinr.
Review Presr, 1973), parsim, and spccifically,p. 63. It ir of rhe utmost importante
to keep in mind thar the ~ h r a s e"return to thc source" ir not meant to iueeest
"tenun" to a primordial "truth" or somc uncontaminated "African o,&"-as
28 Corncl Werr, Prophes) Deliurrenre! (Philadelphna: Wertrnin,rer Prcss. 1Y82 p.
24. Werr m ~ k e rhir
r point in nferencc to African.Arnerican inrclicctuals and their
rhis were possible or even dcsirable! As Cabral cmphatically points out in thc tcxts work. Therelevant scntcnce rendr: "In fact, imnically. h r ancrnpr by blackinrellcc-
cited above, what ir ta be rcturned to and Fntically appropriated is the vigor, tuals to escape from their Americanners and evcn ;o bcyond ~ e r r e r nthought is
vitality (life), and cbullience of African exiscence which is rcawakened by the anti- itself vcry Amerim." In the contexr of contemporary African philosophy, onc
colonial srruggle. In other words, iris rhe reignited historicity of lived existence- needs only ta substiture "European" for "Amcrkan" and "African inteiicc~als"
128/ Notes Notes1129

for "black inrellectuals' ro scc rhc rclevance of this senrence for the discussion 5 Noria rhat this las1 s e n n n a projtcts an African fumre thar will "recognizc" in
developed rhus far in rhis introduction. ..
our immediatc wsr-colonial oasr thc disaoooinrments of [he hooes and asoirations
29 Frana Fanon, Black Skins, White Mnsks (New York: Grove Press, 1967). p. 12. of thc African libcrarion movemcnr. In no doing it p r o l e a into the hnirc the
On this point for Cabral, see "Brief Analysis of the Social S t m m r e in Guinea,"
Revolution in Guinea: Selected Texts (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
. -
validiw of i n own assumorions niven the simaredness of irs own hermeneutical
actualiry. Now thir 'recognition" ir not thc "rccognition" of somc " o b ~ ~ i rnte ve
of affain tn the hnire," much lerr a pndiction of whnr ir to come Rilher i r ir a
30 For examples of what this means pleasc see my papero, "Karl Marx and African 'recognirion" that will be possible o; will be possiblized only if the disappointcd
Emancipamry Thoughc A Critique of Marx's Euro-Centric Mctaphysifn," Praxis
objcctiva of thc African libcrarion srruggle-yet to be explored in this rext-are
International, vol. 10, nos. 1/2 (April andJuly 1990),and "Theldcaof Colonialism
fulfilled (ar leasr in part and in tome way) in rhe f u ~ r thc e senrence pmiecu and
ui Hegel's Philosophy of Right," I n t e n u i t i o ~ lPhilosophical Quanerly, vol. 29,
on which ir s m k a its a n a n a p a m q hopes. ln other words, if thc neocolonial praent
no. 3, ksue no. 115 (Seprember 1989). Scc also, Emmanucl Eze, -On Modem and
c n d u ~ into
i the immediare and remore fumre of Africa. al1 of rhe above will be
Mythic Worldviews: Thinking with and agains Habermas," Conference, Alournol
no more rhan unfulfilled and los1 posribilities of African hirtorical exirtence.
of Phiiosophy, vol. 1, no. 2 (Fall 1990). In my vicw this process of challcnging the
universalistic claims of Wesrern philosophy is and should bc an onaoinn dcsrructivc 6 Enrique Duasel, Philosophy of Liberation (New York: Orbir Bmks, 1985), p. 13.
mncctn of conrcmporary frica" philosp-hicthnughr which itwillhnv~toncccssar- 7 Thia is the basic heme of Georae Bush's fint ~residencv, rhe beginning . .of h e
tly develop in the process of atablishing and mnsolidating m own rhcorcric poii- "second American cennrq' u he puf it in his inaugural addrerr. With rhc collapsc
tions. It could not be otherwise, furrhermom, ~reciselvbccause Euroocan cul&- of thc Soviet Union (the othcr supupowcr) and its Eastern Europcan allies, Bush,
philosophy included-historically and thcmtically &rablisha i a d f by radidly in kccoina with the rhnoricof his~redeceasor,has claimcd al1 of thesc developmenrn
diffcrenriating itself from barbarism-the Othernus of the Other-rhe oaradima-
tic case of which is the Black African.
. - as vickr&i for what has m m c m be k n o k as rhe Reapn-Bush cons&ative
revolution in mntcmporarv Amcrican politics. Thc Auaust 2, 1990 lraqi invasion
of Kuwair, 2nd the 'i00 hiur" ~ u l~f unleashed r by &e Uoircd Sraar if Amcrica
1. Philosophy and Post-colonial Africa on lraq (in mnjunction with and in rhcguisc of thc Unircd Nsrianr! rianingJanuaq
16,1991-al1 rhese devclopmcna are, by acodcnt or derign, framing rhc charactcr
MI emphasis in the original unless otherwisc indicated. of this "new world order' as extrcmcly bellicose for rhc non-Europcan world as
a whole. Americ~n/Occidcntal milirarv miahr. as in the days of old, seems ro be,
1 Thcophilus Okere, African Phibrophy: A Historico-Hermmeutical lnvestigation in a much more intenac manner, rhe~sra~dard of "justic2 in this "new warld
of the Conditions of Its Possibility (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America,
order." In thir regard s e , Noam Chomrky " V h a r We Say Caer': Thc Middle
1983). p. vii. See also, Elungu Pene Elungu, "La philosophic, condiiion du devel- Eapt in thc New World Ordcr," Z Magazine (May 1991); Edward W. Said, "Igno-
oppement en Afrique aujourd'hui," Presettce Africaine, no. 103, 3d quarrerly ran[ Armics Clash by Night." The Nation, February 11, 1991; Anron Shammas,
(19771, p. 3. "A Losr Voicc," The Ncw York Times Magazine, April 28, 1991; and Eqbal
2 Marcien Towa, "Conditions for thc Affimation of a Modern Afrian Philosophical Ahmad, "The Hundred-Hour l a r , " Daum, March 17, 1991.
Thought," in African Philosophy: The Essential Readingr, ed. Tsenay Scrcqueber- 8 Basil Davidwn and Anronio Blonda, Cross Roads in Africa (Noningham. Eng.:
han (New York: Paragon House, 1991), p. 187. Spokesman Prcss, 1980). p. 36.
3 Frantz Fanon, Towards the African Revolution (New York: Grave Pren, 1988), 9 Ibid.
p. 120.
10 Hans-Gcorg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York: Crosrraad Publishess,
4 Unlike most orhcrs, as early as 1961 in his seminal work The Wretched of thc 19821, pp. 158-59.
Eorth (New York: Grove Press, 1968). Fanon had ooinred our the class and histor-
11 Ibid.. semnd pnn. section 1: *Schlciermachcr's Projcct of a Univerral Hermcneu-
ico-political difficulttes tnat lay ahcad for rhe ~ f r t c i nanii-colonial srrugglc. In rh;s
rifn," passim.
regard ree parncularly rhe rccrion tirlcd. 'The Pirlalls of National Conrciouoness."
O n rhis poinr Kofi Buenor Hadjor, a onc time prcss aide in rhe publicity xcrerariat 12 Hegcl: The Differmce bctwrm The Fichtean and Scbellingirr>tSyriems of Phiioso-
of the Nkrumah governmenr, pays rribute ro Fanon's keen insight at rhe time of phy, tranr. Dr. Jere Paul Surber (Atascadero, Calif.: Ridgc\,icw Publishing Co.,
his exile with Nkrumah in Guinea Conakry. "Ir was in Conakry rhat 1 first read 1978). .
.. D. 10.
Fanon, especially his Wretched of the Earth which my n i l e companion, John K. 13 In this regard sce Abiola Irclc, In Piaise ofAiienation, an inaugural lecnire delivered
Tettegah, now Ghana'r ambassador to the Sovin Union, gave me as a presat. Ir on Novcmbcr 22, 1982, ar the University of lbadan (Publirhrd by Abiola Irele,
did not take me long 10 realizc that Fanon's analysis had much more m offer than 1987), passim. Ir ir inreresting to nore, however, rhat lrelc failr to capiralhe on
Machiavclli and many of rhe other clasoiu. T e n c p h and I literally devoured rhc the negative value of alienarion whcn he ir conccrncd with rhe conremporary
chapter on 'Thc Pitfallr of National C o n s ~ o u s n c s sas~ we felr irs analysis was dcvelopments of Akican philosophy. In chis rcgard scc his subsrantial introduction
too truc ro rhe Ghanaian siruarlon." On Traasformlag Afilen Discoursei with ro Paulin J. Hounmndji't book. African Philoiophy: Mytb and Redity (Blooming-
Afiicn's Leaders (Trcnmn, N.J.: Africa Wodd Press, 1987), p. 3. ron: Indiana Universiry Press, 1983), passirn.

14 Hani-Geore Gadamer. Philoso~hicalAovrenticeshius (Cambridae. Mass.: MIT of human existcnce. As wc shall soon sec in our funhcr elaborarion of chis point
Pres~,198ij, p. 177. kadamcr'ir hcrc dcicnding himvlf againsr;hosc who havc in chis chapter, chis is whar Cadamer rcfcrr to and appropriarcs as "effecrive
reduccd herrneneutier ro a lid and urc ihir fadcithcr to hidemcthodoloaical rrrrilicy history.'
or as a ]ustification for the absence of method. Even if sudi a defens; is justified,
it ir ironic that Gadamer-who claims that philosophy is hcrmcncutical in i n vcry 23 1 have placed the term 'greamess" in quotarion marks to indicate thar my mnccrn,
namre-should rake offense and reaa so suongly to the "popular" acclaim of his in using ir, ir not to praise and exrol rhe "grearncrr" af ancient Africa but merely
basic and produaive insight. As 1hopc the reader will s e , my use of Gadamer is ro poinr to rhc ha that rhe African past did have momenrr of greatncss cmbodied
nor "fadish" but concr&ly groundcd in rhe naturc of the questions with which in a variety of ancient civilizarions,such as Axum, Mali, Saghai, Ghana, and Egypr,
1 am concerned. with al1 their contradicrions and interna1 problems. MYproiecr ir rhus nor dcfincd
by a "Diopian" (to bormw a word from Arante) la&;ig far rhc 'grcamess" of
15 Ernrst Warnba-Dia-Warnba, "Philosophy in Africa: Challenges of the Afrtcan Phi. ancient Africa, but by a critica1 and hirtorical engagemenr with rhe hirmricity of
loropher," in African Phtlosuphy: The EIsential Readings, ed. Tsenay Serequeber the African simatinn; As the reader will scc. the recond scction of chaoter 2 will
han iNew York: Paraeon House..19911. ...D. 230. As Wamba aun: 'Whv...indccd.. are m n f ~ t c l yrubstantiatc this pcrspcaivc in i a critica1 and destructuring reading of
hermeneutics, phenomenology, Althusserianism, logical positivism, Hegelianism, [he csientialist Ninitude of Lcopold Sedar Senghor.
srrucruralism, piagmatism, dialcaical materialism, Thomiam, etc., all products of This is what Gadamer rcfcrs m as the 'effective-hirtorical conrriousncsr." For s
r ~ e c i 6 material
c . -
and svmbolic mnditions ~mcclficideolozicl
. --
by our Atrican philorophcrr as so many correa cesponocs to thc philosophical
discussion of chis term and l o r a thematic explorarion of in ariginr in Hcidcggcr's
Being-quertion, s n my papcr, 'Heidcggcr and Cadamer: Thnnknng as 'Mcdiorive'
suesnon tn Afriea>" (ibid.,. All I would Iike m say ar this poini ir that Wamba's 2nd aoqEffrnivc-HirrorinlConxiousncrr.'" Mnnond World. \"l. 20.no.1(19871.
ouestion has a boomerane cffcct on his own '~fncanized"~arxisr-~eninist nosi-
i o n , which he docs not addrus. To be sure, thc question is to thc point aid, as 25 Okonda Okolo, "Tradition and Desriny: Horizons a f an African Philorophiul
1 shail show in chis chapter, can be adequatcly engaged-in
.. al1 its c u i ~ r a iand Hermeneutics," in Afncan Philosophy: The Euential Readingr. ed. Trcnay Scre-
historico-political richness-only from an Airiunin hnmrneutic pcrspecrive radi. queberhan (New York: Paragon House, 1991), p. 207.
cslly and crir,cally inlormed by and absorbed in ia own livcd historicalncss. 26 Kwasi Wircdu, Philosophynnd An Africun Culture (New York: Cambridgc Univer-
16 V. Y. Mudimbe, "African Gnosis: Philosophy and the Order of Knowledgc," sity hcss, 1980). p. 1; Paulin J. Hounrondji, African Philorophy, Myth andReality,
African Studies Reyiew, vol. 28, nos. 213 junr/Scptcmbcr 198S), pp. 210-11. p. 67.
17 1 derivc this distinction from an exploration of Manin Hudeggu, Discourse on 27 Heidcgget, Being and Time, p. 255. In this rcgard s e also, "Letter on Humanism,"
Thinking (New York: Harper & Row, 1966); Hans-Georg Gadamu, Tmth and in Basic Writings, ed. David Fancll Krcll (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), p.
Method (New York: Crossroad Publishers, 1982), second part; and Thomas S. 209.
Kuhn, The Structure of ScienrificRevolurions, M ed. (Chicago: Univcrsity of Chi- 28 Ibid., p. 67
cago Pres, 1970), possim 29 For an overview of rhe discussions pmvoked by Heidegger's Narism broughr rbout
18 In this regard see Manin Heidegger's "Modcrn Science, Mctaphysics, and Mathe- by Victor Fariaa's bwk, Heideggcr n ~ Nnrirm d (Philadelphia: Temple Universiy
maticr," in Baric Wgtingr, ed. David Farrell Krcll (New York: Harper & Row, Prcui, 1989). scc Kathlccn Wright, "The Hcidegger Cantmvcrry-Updated and
1977). Appnked," Praxis Intmationai, vol. 13, no. 1 (April 1993). For a cancisc and
revealing discussion of this scrndalous affair, sce, Thomas Sheehan, "Heidegger
19 For the work of these IWO thinkers, please sce Ethiopian Philosophy, vol. 2, The and thc Nazis," in Thc Nnu York Rcview of Bcoks, vol. 35, no. 10 Uune 16,
Trearise of Zar'a Ya'aqoh and Waida Hcywat, a x t nnd authorship (Addis A b e b ~ : 19881. For a varietv of vicws on this uucsuon by Cadamer, Habermas, Derrida,
Printed for the Addis Abeba University by Commercial Printing Prcas, 1976),
~ ~

Blanihot, ~acoue-iabarrhe,2nd ~ e v i n Aal1 , cont;mporacy Europenn philoxiphcrs

prepsred by Dr. Claude Sumner. whose work has bcm critiullv influenced by. Hcidrggcr's .. Bcing-quertion, scc Cnti-
20 Elungu, "La philosophie, condition du developpemuit en Afrique aujourd'hui," cal 1nquiy.vol. 15. no. 2 ( ~ c n t c 1989).
r "Symporium on ~eideggerand Naztsm,"
p. 8, my own translation. ed. Acnold l. Davidson. ln chis regard ir ir impcrnnvr ta mmcmber rhc wordr of
21 Okere, African Phiiosopby: A Hirtmico-HermeneuticnI Investigatia, p. xiv. Aimt Esaire. thc Martiniquian poct and philorophcr of Ngntude (a Ngritude
fundamentally at oddr wsth Scnghor's esscntialism of 'Ncgro-ncrr"). On this point
22 Marrin Heidegger, B&g anATime (New York: H a v e r & Row, 19621, division ~.
rrsnire writcr: "Yes. it would be wonhwhilc to rmdv clinically, in dctail, the
ouo, seaion 69, passim and specifically p. 416. Sec also, sation 68 and section swps takm by Hitler and Hitlcrism and m reveal ro &e ve. distinguished, very
73, pnssim and spcafically p. 430. For Heidcggcr, who is thc mostimportant figure humanistic, very Chrisrian bourgeair of thc wenticth century that without his
in contcmporary hermeneutics, the m m "has bnn," which appears aporadically being aware of ir, he has a Hitler inside him, rhar Hitler inhabia him, rhat Hitler
in diffcring formr in the t c x n indkand and throughout Being and Time, designaw is hi drmon, thnt if he mila aplnsr him, he is being inconsistcnr and that, at
the pasr thnr 1s blt and m a k o irrelf b l t in the prnrnce of the ptnmr. Iris a living bonom, what he cannor foreive Hitler for is not crime in inclf, !he crime againrt
past that StNCtUrCSIhe livcd actuality of histotlcal Dasein-the concrete historlciy man, it is not the humiiiation of man as such, ir ir [he crime against the white
1321Notes Notes1 133

man, the humiliation of the whire man, and the fact that he applicd ro Europe the smw of the nrm Ce-riel1 and irs English rendering as 'cnftaming," x c Lovin's
colonialist ptocedures which until thm had bcen reserved cxclurivelv for the Arabo introduction ro h e text, p. u i x , and in thc tcxt, s~ p. 19.
of ~ l ~ e r i a , - t hwolies
e of India, and the blacks of Africa [and, we kight add, rhe
33 Wamba, 'Philosophy in Africa: Challengcs of the African Philosopher," African
exterminahd aboriginal populations of Australia, Norrh and Sourh America, and
more recenrly rhe Palestinian Arabs, at rhe hands of the victimizing vicrims of thc Philosophy: The h m t i a l Readings, p. 239.
Holocaust]." Discourse on Coionialism, originally publishcd in French in 1955 34 Hcidcgger, Being and Time, p. 346.
(New York: Monrhly Review Press, 1972), p. 14. Nccdlcrr to say, not one of 35 Basil Davidson, Africa in Modern History (New York: Penguin Bookr, 1985), p.
the above thinkers-who approptiatcly lamcnr and condemn Heidegger's Nazi 44.
connecrion-least of al1 Jrgen Habermas, thc "philosopher of moderniry" (the
36 Anmnio Cramsci. Quuderni Del Carcere, vol. 2, eduione critica dell'lnsrimro
age of "imperialisr colonialism," to borrow Lenin's phrax), has made racism,
colonialism, or theexpansionisr aggressivenature of Europcan moderniya problem Gramsd, a cura di Valentino Gerrarana (Torino: Giulio Einaudi, 1975), pp. 1376-
77, my own tranrlation.
for his thought nr the focus of his reflenions. This silence, this un-said, might just
be the "demon" that needs to be exorciscd. But undcr what "bannet" is rhis 37 Ibid., p. 1378, my own translation.
cxorcirm to be performed? Who is to be &e cxorciscr? 38 Fora dassicdesaiption of this morncnrous momentin thcrclf-institutionofmodcr.
30 Marrin Heidegger, Being and Time, p. 377. As rhc rranslarors, J. Macquarrie and niw and the destruction of thc non.Euroocan world which iurtifies and wclcomer
E. Robinson exnlain: "The root-meanine of the word 'ccstasis' lGreck er-ara: ir ;S the objective self-unfolding of ~ e i t i e i r tsee
, Karl ~ a r i a n Fredcrick
d Engelr,
German, Ekstase) is 'standing outside'. Used generally in Creek for the 'removal' The Communirt Mdnifesto (New York: lnternational Publirherr, 1983), pp. 10-
or 'displacement' of something, ir camc to be applicd to rtans-of-mind which we
"U .
would now cal1 'ecstatic'. Heidcnncr usuallv, keeos thc basic root-meaninz in mind.
but he also is keenly aware of i n d o x connecti" with rhc root.meaning of
39 Okolo, 'Tridirion i n d Desnny: Horizons ot an Afiican Philorophtcal Hcrmcnru-
rico," in Afncan Philosophy: Thr Essentini Reodingr, p. 201
the word 'uristence' " (p. 377, note 2). This affiniry of the tcrms "ccstatic" and 40 Ibid.
"existcnce" ir central not only for Being and Time bur for Heidegger's work as a
wholc. In "Lcner on Humanism" and throughout his latcr works rhe term "exis- 41 In this regard, ree Martin Hcidcggcr, Discourse on Thinking (New York: Harper
tence" ir rendered as "ek-rirtence" in ordcr m accentuatc this affiniry and to & Row, 1966),the sec~ndpa~~Conversatianona Counrry Parh abour'ihinking,"
ruggert that human exirtence ir the procers of itr own ecstatic going beyond- pmrim.
hence "standing outsiden-inclf. The human beina is the Da-the "rhere" or 42 Okolo, "Tradition and Dodny," p. 204.
opennes-f ~ i i which
n ~ ir interior m Being itse~f.~ln other words, Heidegger U 43 Martin Heidcggcr, An Introduction to Metaphysics (New Havcn, Conn.: Yale
notmerely rejecting humanismoutof hand; rather, heisthinkinganonmetaphysical Universiry Press, 1977). p. 176.
humaniam grounded an &e Da's inrcrioriry r8 Bcing. Throughout this chapter and
the study as a wholc, thc readcr is adviscd m kecp in mind rhc above kcy innrprera- 44 Ibid.
tion of the nrm "existence" as "ek-sisrence." Finally, on p. 205 of &e "Lettcr on 45 Okolo, "Tradition and Dcstiny," p. 203.
Humanism." Heideeeer writes that the statemcnt: "Thc 'ersencc' of Drcrein lies in 46 Gad~mcr,Truth and Method, p. 325. snd pp. 273-74.
its existen&," does-ot "contain a universal staremenr about Dasein, since the
word came inro fashion in the eighteenth centuv as a namc for 'obicct'. intendine 47 Hans-Geog Cadamer, Rearon in the Age of Science (Cambtidge. Mass.: MIT
to cxprcrs thc mcraphyaicnl conccpt of &e acrualiry of rhc amal." As thc carefui Press, 1981). pp. 109-10. In rhii regard sce also my already cired paper, "Heidegger
reader can casily asccrrain, this referr to rhe trrm Dasein and ir3 onginr and nor and Gadamer: Thinking as 'Meditative' nnd as 'Efkctivc-Historical
to the existcntialiry of human exirtence which ir indicans. Consciousness,' " p. 56 and pp. 59-60. For an inrercsting discussion of this point
cenrued on the Habennas-Gadamer debate and on Via's notion of "smrus com-
31 Heidegger himself suggesn'rhis poinr in hir dbcussions wirh a Japancse philosophcr munis," sec John D. Schaefer, S m u i Communk (Durham, N.C.: Duke Universiry
in. O n the W ~ to . .
Y Lanpua~e.fNew York: H a r ~ e r& Row. 1982). Sce the k s t Prcss, 1990), pp. 117-22.1 would like ro rhank Nuhad Jamal for thir last rcference.
section titlcd, "A Dialogue on Language," passim. In his a k a d y cited book, Theo-
48 D m Hyland, Thr Origins of Philosophy (Ncw York: Cipcicarn Books, 1973).
uhilus Okere also notes this uoint. Howevu. in his mdicarion he undulv resrricts
this fecund suggestion. In this regard rce Afncon Philosophy: A Hirtorico-Herme- ..
.D. 289:.and bv. rhe a m e author. The Vtrnir o/ Philosoohv IArhens: Ohio Univenin
neutical Investigation, pp. 118-19. Presa, 1981), pp. 12-13. This is a central problun of Hcidcggcr's thought locand

32 In this rcgard, x c Hddegger'r last statemcnt of h b views, "Modern Natural Science

in rheontic-ontoloeical ambieuiwof - . . ..
- . his ontoloeical analvsisand its onticsr>ccificiw.
orla& thueof, in relarion to particular political and hismrical quesuons. I cannot
and Technolopv." -.
. in Radical P h e n m m i o m
w,.. -
ed. T. Sallis lArlantic Hiehlandr.
N.J.: Humanities Presr, 1978), p. 4. For Hcide&s ovcrnliperopective on technol-
, hcre conaider, at ~ r e nlengrh.
t rhir impomnr concctn cxccpt m say thar thc specific
way in which African hnmanitica ir h u e bting articulared and the dirtinnivc
ogy ond the siruation of the modcin world, ree Thr Question concrrning Tcchnology himry out of which ir cmerges predudcs the dangers inherent in Hcidc~er's
nnd Other E~$ays,trans. William Lovin ( N mYork: Harper & Row, 1977). For position. This ir so prccisely because the hermeneutical orientation of African
134 / Notes 1 Notes / 135

ed. G u m r m Fioisnd (Dordmht, Nctherlands: Marrinus Nijhoff, 1987), pp. 35-

philosophy is Brmly wedded ro an emancipatory political pmxis and an ontic
h i s t o r i d orientation aimed at rhe remgnition and celebrarion of nilniral-historical
variery and differencc. 59 Fanon, The Wretched of the Emth, p. 31 1.
49 Gadamer, Trutb andMethod, pp. 267-68. For rhe source of Gadamcr's conception 60 ThePortable Niltzschc, trans. Walnr Kaufmann (New York: Viking Press, 1974),
of "cffecrive-hismry,'> see Heidegger, Being and Time, division two,. part . five. p. 125. I would like m thank Robert Gooding-Williams b r helping me locare rhis
secuon 73, p. 430. rcfcrcncc.
50 Okolo, "Tradition and Destiny," p. 208. See also, S. K. Dabo, "Negro-African 61 Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea: Selected Textr, p. 76.
Natianalism as a Quest for Jusuce," Presenu Afihine, no. 107, 3d quarterly
(1978), passim. 62 Fanon, Thc Wrnrhed of the Ea&, p. 233. lt is imporrant ro note, 3s is clcar from
rhe mnnxt, chat Fanon'r remarks-which I havc slighrly modified in quoting-
51 Okolo, ibid., p. 205. rcfcr in rhe aingular ro all ihe difledng hisrorim-cultural totalities rhat in sum
52 Amilcar Cabral, "Anonymous Soldiers for the Unind Nations," in Revolution in constintn rhc cultural and historical acrualiry of rhe conrincnt in al1 irs diversiry
Guinea: Selected Texts (New York: Monrhly Review Press, 1969), pp. 50-52. In and differmse.
view of what has been said in nore 7, it should be noted that rhc Unired Nations
63 Aimt Csaire, "Lctter 10 Maurice Thorcz," English translation, Presence Africaine
just as any other complex body rhar encompassea wirhin imelf conflicting and
(Paris: Prsencc Africaine, 1957), pp. 6-7.
conrending forces around formal princiriles and norms of behavior is a sire of
rtrugglc a i d hegcmonic conrcntioa In tiis regard, whar Cabral is affirming ir an 64 Okolo, "Tradition and Destiny," p. 209.
achievcmcnt that is sancrioned by thc formal principlcs of the Unind Nations and 65 Ibid., p. 202.
yet has been senired against thc innresrs of thc dominant force within ic. .c.. . the
UniredStatesandim ~h allics. For an intcrcstingdiscueionof rhc'uncrioning" . .
66 For ancxvemelvcondensed svnoosisof this .~crsoectivesee
. mv. oaoer.
. . "The African
of rhe United Nauons in terms of 'm" most rcccnt i n n m b o n a l crisis, thc colonial Libcration Srnigglc: A Hermeneutic Explorarion of rn Afncan Hirtor.cal.Polirical
legacy of the non-European world, and in the context of supupower reconciliation, Horizon.' Ultimate Realto and Measna, Intcrdisci~iinarvSnidio in thc Philoro.
see, Erskine B. Childers, "The Use and A b u a of rhe UN in the Gulf Crisis," Middlc i phy of Undcrrranding ( ~ a h d i a ~ournai),
n val. 14, no. 1 ' f ~ a r c h1991).
East Rebort. . .no. 169..vol. 21.. no. 2 iMardi/Aoril
. 1991). For a dctailed exoosition
' ~~ ~~~~
67 Herdegger, Being and Timc, p. 358. Rcgarding prcruppusinonr and rhc cducarionsl
of the United Narion'r paniality in itr relective npplication of internatianal norms and livcd background or context in which and out o which onc philorophtrer,
and scandards, see Norman FinkclsrUn, "isnel and Iraq: A Doublc Standard," Kwaii Wiredu wrires: "Suppose now rhat a critic snould a n r i b ~ t cwhat I havc
Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 20, no. 2 (Winter 1991). wrinen to my particular edi&ional background; 1 am bovnd to concede as much.
53 Cabral, ibid., pp. 51-52. In a certain obvious scnsc wc are al1 childrcn of our rcumrrancer. But were rhc
54 See nore 44. exirtencc of ~ u e ha 'bias' prwf of falriry, univcnal silence wouid be obligarory oo
al1 mankind* (Philosophy and mr African Culturc, p. 36). On rhc samc cnicial
55 See nore 44. From within the concrete situarion of B e Eritrean inri-colonial srrugglc point Ernesr Wamba-Dia-Wamba observes rhat: 'Thc paradax in philorophy is
lssavas Afnvsrki sxvrcsscs this vicw in the followine manncr: "rhc artainmenr of
the objecrivea of o& national cause-indepcndencc lnd liberarion from Ethiopian . .,
that thc alection of a conccotion or thc dcfinition of ohtloso~hvone m a k e ~is
ncceasarily an expnssion of onc's philosophical position, stand, and ourlook."
colonial r u l e r a k e precedence over othm issues, and beuuse of various orher "Philoso~hvin Africa: Challcnaes of the African Philoso~hcr."in African Philoso-
regional considerations, we have choscn m avoid involvement in any regional pby: ~ h e ~ i s c n t iReadings,
nl p:236. In both of thcsc rcnkki(rcmarks by cantcm-
conflicrs or inter-Arab disputes. We have chosen ro concmtrate our cfform on our pornry African philosophcrs) rhcrc is a failure to rccognirc thc hcrmencurical tturh
main obiecrive, which ir victorv ovcr Erhio~iancolonial rule.' Foreim Bmadust ~hatthelivcdsi~atcdnessof philosophy ir not a bkrnish but thcsourccofphiloroph-
1nforma;ion ~ r w i c e ,Daily ~ e b r t Sub-Saiaran
, Africa, Thursday fi July 1990, ical rcflccrion as such. In f s n onc nccds ro begin from rhc recognirion rhat philosa.
p. 8. ~ h irv "im own time a ~ o r c h a d c din thouehts." as Heeel outr it in rhc orehce m
56 For the relevant quotation in full and reference plcase re,in chis chapter, note ;h; Philosophy of ~ i & i ,rrans. T. M. KII& (Oxford nkcrrity ~rcrr,'1973), p.
48. 11. Once this poinr is grasped the 'fear" of "bias" and "paradox" ir dissipated
57 Fanon, Black Skins Wbite Maskr, p. 229. The character of rhis hisrorically and thc hcrmcneuucally circular characnr of philosophy and ir5 pracuce, grounded
grounded and oriented inventivcness-rhat invmm out of im *has becn" its as-of- on "Darsin's circular &ingn (Hcidcggcr, Being and Time, p. 3631, can properly
yet unrealized original f u ~ r possibilitics-will
e be the main c o n c m of chapter 4. be seen as thc fccund ori& of philokphy itself. In this r&d. see Th;oihilui
Okue's already aced book, Aftican Philosophy: A Hisrorico-Hermeneutical lnues-
58 Chcikh Hamidou Kane, Ambiguo- Aduenturc (Pommouth N.H.: Hcinemann iigation, chap. five. Scc alro, Luciur Outlnw, 'Africanand African-AmecicanPhilos-
Educntional Books, 1989), pp. 79-80, cmphnals ndded. On chis poinr, rce also, ophy: Dewnstniction and thc Critica1Management of Tradirions," in Thr Joutnlil,
Lucius Oudaw, "African 'Philosophy': Dcconstnicrivc and Rcmnstrunive Chal- vol. 1, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 1984).
knges," in Contemporary Philosophy: A Ncw Suruy, vol. S, African Philoaophy,
136 / Notes Notes / 137

2. African Philosophy notion of 'dis-closure" ir c m r e d around rhc idea rhat n x n and discourxs are
hatched out of an originative ground of pmblems and concerns which ir then
Al1 emphasis in the original unless orhenvise indicated. mnsriturcd and ntablished in thex texn and dismurres. For a discussion of thc
1 For an inrercrting, if undcrstarcd, d o m c n r a t i o n of thc polirical conflins and war similitude in Kuhn and Heidggcr, on this point, see my already cind paper,
expendimrcs of rhis pcriod of "world pcacc" fot Afnm, see 'What Pnce the Ahican "Heidegger and Gadamer: Thinking as 'Meditative' and as 'Effedvc-Hismrical
~odier?" Afncc N&, no. 15 Uuly 1982). pussim, and spccifically p. 22; aurhor Consciousness; " p. 43.
not @ven. 7 Theophilur Okere, African Philosophy: A HNtorico-Hemmeutical Investigatwn
2 For a concise dixussion of Porniguesc colonialism as a Europan-Norrh American of the Conditions of ID Pouibility (Lanham, Md.: University Press of Amcrica,
vhenomenon. see lay O'Brien, "Pormnal in Ahica." Monthlv R d w Press. vol. 1983), p. 121.
26 (May 1974); oee alro ~ i c h a r dGib;on, A f r i c a i ~ i b n a t i o ~Movements ~ N C W 8 1 do nor inrend ro prescnt an exnnsive dixussion of every ideological posirion rhat
York: Oxford University Prcss, 1972), part five; and Basil Davidson, The Liberation muld be locatcd in the dixourse on thc African liberarion srruggle. I thcrcforc
of Guinea (Baltimore: Pengu, BOO& 19691, pasrim. resvict mysclf to thenc nvo perronalirics, prc"sc1y bccaurc thcir ideologiul posi-
3 ln other words, beyond Europcan colonialism. onc has to rcmanize rhc aucstion rions enclox-from contrary pointr-rhe limanire of rhe Aftican libcration strug-
of rhe formcr ~ ~ a n i s h - ~ a h a r a -Erimea
a n d an casta of Afncan cdonia~ismby Mo- gle as a whole. One morc poinr: ihroughout rhissmdy, in connecrion with Scnghor,
rocco and Erhiopia, ccrpcnively. On rhe othcr hand, the Ogaden, Oromia, and 1 will use and show a prcfercnce for rhc rerm Africanitd as opposed to Ngrirude
South Suden are also in a semisolonial rclationship m the dominan1 erhniegroup(s) precincly bccause, for Senghor, this is thc more inclusive and appropriare rcrm, as
which conrml the particular geographic arca(s) rheae pmple inhabir. In spitc of a designarion of hb work and ideolonical ~osition.On rhls ooinr. ree Leo~old
rhcir diffuenccs al1 these situations are carta of cmernal occupatbn of an ethnic Sedar Senghor, Tha Foundationr of "ifricA1tdw or "N.Sgritude" ahd "~rabit"
or national nrricorv. For a simibar v i m o n thia ooint. nce Basil Davidsan's ureface (Paria: Prescna Africaine, 19711, pp. 7, 39, and 61. In connadirrincrion ro h e
to Richard ~hermui'sEritrea: The ~ n f n i s h d ~ e u o l u t i o(New n York: 1;racgcr, above, the a r m Nigritude will be reserved and uscd in connecrian with AimC
1980). Gsairc's work.
4 The paradigmatic examplc of this is thc Hom of Africa, wherc the Ethiopian 4 9 Kwame Nkrumah. Towardr Colonial Freedom (London: Panaf Bookr. 19791. Ir
povcrnmenr of Mcn~istuHailemariam 11974-1991) for sevenreen vears used fam- is intcresongro no; rhat this pamphletcndr wirh rhe slogan: '.Colon,ni and Subpcr
ine as a weapon of war not only agaimt the mlonized peoplc of Eritrca bur also Peoolrs of thc World-Unme!' libid.. D. 45). This is rhc mncludnne" rlomn - of rhe
againsr its own cidzens in Tigray and Wollo. Communist Maniferto propcrly adlusted, ar lcast on rhe leve1 af rerbiage, m thc
African colonial simation.
5 By rhe term "African peoples" 1 mean m rcfcr m rhe inhabirann of rhe contincnt
as a whole minus the Whires of Sourh Africa. 1use rhe term allecrivcly, morcovet,
not in order to leve1 off rhe varim, and m u l t i ~ l i,cthar
i ~ consrimter the inhabirants
of rhe conanent, nor ro establish some "tme" African 'Easencc" la Senghor, but
10 Kwame Nkrumah, Class Struple in Ahica (NcxYork lni~cnirion~l
1975). pp. 51 and J3. For an inrcrcsring dixussion of Nkrumah's Marxism-Lcnin-
ism.sce Ali A. Mazrui.'BorrowedThcorv andorieinal Practiccin Afnran Politics."

- -
rather to hiehlieht rhe common exoenencc of Eurooean colonialism and neocolo-
nialism rhar, since rhe last quarrer of rhe nineremrh century, has imposed on thc
in ~atfernsof~~rican'~ew1oprnent: ~ i v ~ ~ o m p a & ocd.
wood Cliffs, N.J.: Prcnricc-Hall, 1967). pp. 105-17.
n s Hcrbcrr
, j. Spira (Englc-

inhabiranrs of rhe continent a shared dcstiny or a r a s e of hisrorical place in rhc 11 Nkrumah, Clars Struggle in Africa, pp. 52-53.
anragonistic mntcxr of a European dominared world. 1 excludc thc Whites of Sourh 12 To be sure, rhis is an existential and hcrmcneutical truth of our livcd fadciry rhat
Africa prccisely because they x c rhunselvcs as distincr and aparr-Apartheid- philorophic thought neglenr at i a own pcril. In rhis regnrd ree also Gerard Chali-
from rhe rest of rhe contincnt in this spccific particular. and's inreresting but more convcntional and limited rcmarks on this poinr: Revoiu-
6 By the t e m "probkmatic" 1 mcan a group of texts cmtered around an intcrnally -
tians in the Third World (Ncw York: Vikina Presr.. 19771. .
.. Darr M.O. secuon six.
Antonio Gramsci maker this same point in his remarkr on Kant and rhc proien
inrermnnccted cluster of concerns enaaecd in exolorina a theme which converselv
defines and govcrns rhc qucrtions an2 Qnswerr ;ha< a; porsiblc from wirhin rhe of rhe Enliahtcnmcnr, in Antonio Cramscr Quademi Del Carcere, vol. 2, cd.
confines of said "problematic." Thc communur philosopher Louir Althusscr inau-
eurates the term in For Marr. trans. Ben ~rewGer(NCW York: Pantheon Books. ' Valentino ~ e r r a t a n a(Torino: Gulio Einaudi, 975), pp. 1484-85
13 In this regard, s n AimC Cdsain's hisroric 1956 Letter to Tl?orez, trans. Prscncc
i969),pp.55-71,speci6cally~.66andp. 253.Tobe~ure,thcuseandappropriatio~ Africainc (Parir: Prcxncc Africainc, 1957), passht, and the polirico-philosophic
. , .
of this term doer not in anv wav imolicatc mc in Althusxr's rcadine of Mam fmm orientarion rcpresentcd by Fanon and Cabral.
which ir ir dcnvcd. For an inrcrcsting commcnt on and apptopriation of Althusser'r
concept of "problematic" x c , Edward W. Said, Orienralwn (New York: Vintagc 14 AimCCCsain,Discourseon Colonialism (New York: Monthlg Rcview Press, 1972).
Books. 1979). p. 16. Thc use I makc of rhis rctm is also akin m Thomar S. Kuhn's pp. 78-79.
conccpt of "paradigm," as ertablirhed in The Sm<ch<reo/Scientfic Revolurbns, 2d 15 Marrin Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics (New Haven and London: Yalc
ed. (Chicago: Univcrriy of Chncaga Prcrs, 1970). In likcmanncr Mamn Heidegger's University Prar, 1977), p. 152.
138 / N o t a Notes/ 139

16 The Marx-Engelr Reader, ed. Robert C. Tuckcr, see 'Contribution m the Critique of capitalist society, is rransformed into an encyclopedic campendium of wisdom
of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introdunion' (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., and "objectivc" tnith.
1978), p. 65. 32 Lmpald Sedar Senghor, Pmseand Poetfy, tranr. John Reed and Clive W a k e (Lon-
1 7 In other words, the politia of African iibcration cannot presuppose an alrcady don: Heinemann Educational Baoks, 1976). p. 33.
established historial and philosophical ground. In hct, on thc lcvcl of thmry, chis 33 The clarric rcxn in thb rerard are Marx'n writinas from the Grundrisre which
ir precisely what the struggle aims m achiwe and thus cannot simply presuppose have becnpublished separately undcr ihetitlc, Pve.Capirahrt Economn Fom~lrtoni,
it without neglecting irs very r a i s a d'he.
inrroduccd bv, E. l. Hobrbawm iNcw York. Intcrnational Publirhrrs. 19751. and
18 Within the context of the African libcration sttuggle 1 am sugguting that we need thc wo ccnrral works wrincn in coniuncrian with Engelr: Th* Germon fdeology
ro rake senouslv, the oroblematic of historicirv and the hermeneuticirv of human
cxlstencc if we are to grarp rhc orignanvc and world-found~ng character of h e
118451. .and Thr Commr<ntstMantferto 118481, alonp.wirn chc famous biopraphical
preface to A Contribution to th; Critique of Poli.&/ Economp (1859). ~ o an r
-- for freedorn In thir regard, see Marnn Hcideggcr, Bewg and Ttme
Africsn rrruadc incereiting critique of Marx's position, scc Claude Lefort, The Political Fonns of
(New York: Harper & Row, 1962), d:ivision Wo, aection five. Modem Sociefy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Pnss, 1986), parr two, ssctian five,
passlm, and by rhe samr author, Dcmomacy and Political Theory, (Minncapolis:
19 Paulin J. Hountondji, African Philorophy, Myth andRrality (Bloomingmn: Indiana
Univcnity of Minncsota Press, 1988). p a n WO, section eighr, pasrim.
University Pres, 1983), pp. 135-37.
34 In chis regad, sec h p o l d Sedar Scnghor, n>e Foundazionr of "Africanitd* or
20 Ibid., p. 136. In chapter 3 of Conrcienckm Nkmmah a m m p u m indicate the
"NCgritude" and "Arabit," trans. Mcrcer Cook (hris: Presence Africainc, 1971),
specific African orienration of his work.
21 Ibid., pp. 141-42.
35 k o p o l d Sedar Senghor, "Constructive Elements of a Civilization of African Negro
22 O n chis point, sec Martin Heidcgger, The Qurrtion concming Trchnology and
Othm Ersays, trans. William Lovirt ( N m York: Harper & Row, 1977).
Insoiration." . in Prascnce Afiicaine. nos. 24-25 (February-May 1959), p. 290. Ir
ohould be noted that, two icars earlier (1957), rhe only ~ l a c kAfrican &unvy to
23 What we have done chus far is to merely problematiee the Marxist-Leninisr pcrspec- have mincd indepcndence was the Goid Coast, which was renamed Ghana under
6ve in trrmr of che concrete connxt of ;he Ahican siniaaon. For &e largcr framc- the l;dership o f ~ w a m cNkrumah.
work out of which chis cacique is dcvcloped, %e Kosras Axelos, Alimation, Praxis, 36 Ibid., p. 291.
Technetn the Thhought o/ KmlMmx (UnivcnityofTcxis Pre* 1976);Cornclius
37 Leopold Sedar Senghor, 'ihc Spirit of Civiliiation or the Laws of Aftiean Negro
Castoriadis, Tho lmilginary Insriwtlon of Soeiety (Cambridge, Mass.: MiT Press, Culnirc," in Prrrence Afiicnine, nos. 8-10 (June-November 1956), p. 52.
1987), parr 1; and by rhc rame author, C~orrroadrm thr Labyrinrh, the sccrion
tirled. '+alue. Eauaiior. lurticc. Politics: Fmm Marx m Arismtle and from Aristotle 38 Ibid., p. 52.
to ~"rselves*(&mb;idge, ~ s s . :MIT Pms, 1984). pp. 260-330. 39 Ibid., p. 29.
24 Hounrondji, African Philorophy, p. 160. 40 Ibid., p. 58.
25 Ibid., part one, sections 1, 2, and 3. According m Hountondji Temples's work 41 Ibid., p. 64.
does not qualify as African philorophy prccisely becauseTemplu is not an African.
42 Ibid.
This ir the depth of Hountondji's i ~ i g h t i formulatinghis
n "geographic" conception
of Abican philosophy. 43 For a concisc presentarion of Lucien Levy-Bruhl's views, pleasc rm L. A. Clairc's
introduction m Primitive Mentalify (Bosmn: Beamn Press, 1966).
26 Kwame Nkrumah. " 'African Socialism' Rwisired" (1966), collecnd in Rerolurron-
m y Parh. a Panal rclcct anrholoay of Nkrumah's work (London: Panaf Bookr, 44 Senghor.
(1959), p."Consttuctive
268. Elcmcnts of a Civilizarion of African Negra Inspiranon"
1980), p. 444.
27 Nkrumah, Clars Struggle in Africa, p. 25. 45 Indeed, as ir well known, for Hegel in thc Phenomenology, the arduous labor of
conxiousness ir aimed at elwating inelf to the leve1 of sclf-conrciaur frcedom, .c.,
28 " 'AMcan Socialism' Revisited" (1966) and " i h e Myth of the 'Third World' " human/spirinial existencc in conrradistindon to its initial and unfree-nonhu-
(1968), in RevoLtionary Path, parsim. man-natural dctermination. lndeed as Hegel categorically affims in paragraph
29 Ibid., "The Myrh of the 'Third World,' " p. 438. no. 187. human cxistcnce-which is self-conscious freedom-ir nar 'natural" but
is gained at thc risk of natural cuistencc. Thir in the r,gnificancr o1 Hcgcl's martcr-
30 Ibid., 'African Socialism' Revisited," pp. 4 4 4 4 2 . For Hountondji's explicit en- rlavc dialectic, On the social.hismrical lwel t h ~ is
s also rhe procrsr o)' which human
dorsement of this text, see African Philosophy, Myth and Rurlity, p. 137. cxisence is ertablirhed. In thc Philorophy of Rtght (pnrngrnph 141 and rcmarks),
31 In this respece, sec F. Engds, Socblinn: Utopian andScientiflc, and The DLalecHcs this is ihe lcvrl at which the mor31 consciousncr< or "moriliv" ir sublatcd and
of Nature, in which Marx's thought, from a uitical perspecrive on and a critique cmergcr a n m ns "cthical Iifc" which, bi Hegel, is rhr truc hurnan communiv.
140 / Notes

46 Lwpold Sedar Senghor, "Latinity and Ntgritude,' in Prcsence Afdcaine, vol. 24, 62 Ibid., p. 70.
no. 52, fourth quartcrly (1964), p. 14. On this point, see also Edward W. Said.
63 Ibid., p. 72.
Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), p. 206. lt is innruting m note
how Senghor's clear distinction betwecn "an"and "xiencen-Africa and Europe- 64 [bid., p. 74.
fits flawlessly the uaditional European metaphysical distinction on chis point, first 65 Ibid., p. 12; and sec also pp. 136-37.
arriculated by Plato in book X of the Republic. For Plam, howcvcr, thc supuiority 66 Senghor quotcs rhex lincr: "those who never invcnrcd anything . . who ncvcr.
of "science" and thc infcriority of "a-" was itsclf thc normative ground of this
distinnian. In effect, this is rrue for Senghor as wcll, cvm if ir is unwimngly that
explored anphing .. . wha never ramed anything" [but who abandan thcmrelves]
"to the erscnce of al1 thingsn-and givcr them hir own essentialist reading ("Con-
he gets implicated in this rarher derogatory self-mnccption. Senghor's "Icarned" strucrivc Elcments of a Civilizatinn of African Negra Inrpiration," Prerence Afri-
submirriveness to this position mighr cvcn be thc mark of his personal infcriority,
which he "generously" claims for al1 of ur. .
caine. nos. 24-25 IFebruarv-Mav
. . ...D. 2671. Ir shauld be nurcd rhar Aim
Csaare, rhe author of thcsc Iiner. doer not subscribe m Senghor's rcading. In thtr
47 Leopold Sedar Senghor, "Ngritudc: A Humanism of thc Twmtinh Century," in rcgard ser Ctsain's 1967 intcwiew wath Rcne Dcpcsrrc. tn Dtrcoursr on Coloniui-
The Akican Reader: Independent Africa, ed. Wilfred Cartey and Martin Kilson trm (Neu, Yotk: Monthly Rcvicw Prcss, 1972),pp.65-79; and Cliyton Eshlemm's
(New Yark: Random Hourc, 1970). p. 180. and Annette Smith's introduciion m Aim Crn,re: Tbe Collecred Porrry (Berkrlty:
48 Said, Orienwlism, pp. 67-72, and 73. Univenity of Caltfornta Prers, 19831, PP. 1-28.
49 For Smghor, the Negro-African and Arab-Bcrber is, ethnographically and essen- 67 On this point see, in chis chapter, my earlier discussion of Hegel. ln Ambigs<ow
tially spcaking, a "Fluctuant." a being d e r d n c d in i u esscnce by emotion. On Aducntura Cheikh Hamidou Kane must havc had Senghor's duplicitour Afriunit
this point, sec Senghor, The Foundntions of AfnMlitl, pp. 3 7 4 5 and passim. As in mind when he has his main charactcr, Samba Diallo, say: "Ir 1s not in a difference
Said points out this is the basic perspective of thc Orimtaht. Scc Odentalism, pp. of naturr bcrwcrn rhe Wert 2nd whot ir nor the Wcrt rha; I should rcc thc explana
40,70, and 273. tion of rhe opporition in rhcir dcstinier. If there wctc a dnfferrnce af mture, it
would follow in effect thir if thc W n t ir tieht, and spciks in n laud voicc, what
50 Franrr Fanon, Black Sbin, White Masks (New York: Crovc Presa, 196i), passim. is not thc West is nensarily wrong and ought to be sacnt; that if the West movcs
In this rcgard ir is important to note thar in "Otientalism Rcvisind' (Culfural bcyond its borders and colonizen, this rituation is in the narure of things and ir
Critique, vol. 1 [Fall 1985]), Said acknowledges Fanon's and Ctsaire's strong dcfinitive" (ibid., pp. 151-52).
influence on his own work.
68 Okonda Okolo, "Tradition and Dertiny: Horizons of an African Philosophical
5 1 Said, Orientalism, pp. 45-46. Hetmeneutica,' in African Philosophy: Thr Essenihl Reudingr, cd. Tsenay Sere-
52 Gcorg Wilhelm Friedrich Hepl, The Philosopb of History, introduccd by C. J. quebuhsn (Paragon, 1991). p. 201.
Friedrich (New York: Dovcr Publicntions, 1956). pp. 91-99. 69 In this respecr the most imporrsnt novel (and film) ir Ousmane Sembene'r Xulil,
53 Frantz Fanon, Towardr the African Revoluiion (New York: Crove Press, 1988), trans. Clive Wakc (Chicago, 111.: Lawrcnce Hlll Bookr, 1976).
p. 44. Thir quoration is takcn from the nsay, "Racism and Culture," which 70 I have "oppositeenrcmcs" indoublcquotaoon marks because for thcncocolonized
originally was Fanon's contribution m the First Congreas of Negro-African Writers African whether thc rcgime in power ir affiliated wnth rhe Wrsrcrn [Scnghor) ar
and Artists, held in Paris in 1956. At this same congress Smghor read his papcr, Eaptern (Nkrumah) Bloc !S--nn real tcrms-complctely immareiial What diffen,
"The Spirit of Civilizarion ar thc Laws of African Ncgro Cuiture," from which 1 in cach case, is [he ideological iustificarion and sugar mating Thc effecr. nn cnthcr
have already uted uansively. c a x is h e aame, .e.. the nonhistoncity of African cxistcnce. T Wgood ~ examplcr
5 4 Said, OrienfaIism, p. 277. Indccd, Africanitt is, for Smghor, not the empirical of this are Moi's Kcnva and Mennistu's Ethio~ia.In Kenva thc resmc maintains
cnumcration of characreristifs but thc esential constitutinn of what it means to iuelf in power by nrtonring snd marginalhing the cirizmry. In Ethtopia this stan
be a Ncgro. of affairs carne to an a b t u ~ t c n din mid.1991. w t h thc Ethiopian pmple forccully
reclaiming their right to historical exisnnce.
55 As quoted by Said, ibid., p. 97. See also Said, pp. 221-25.
71 Count Yorck, as quoted by Hcidcggcr, in Being and Time, p. 452.
56 Ibid., p. 108.
57 Ibid. 3. Colonialism and the Colonired
58 Senghor, The Foundarions o/ "Afrimit6," p. 15.
Al1 emphasis in the original unless othemix indicated.
59 lbid., p. 83.
1 Kwasi Wiredu, 'Thr Quchon of Violenn in Contemparary African Polirinl
60 Leopold Sedar Senghor, O n African Socialimr, mns. Mercer Cook (New York: Thought," Praxis Intemational, vol. 6, no. 3 (Octobcr 1986); and Henry Odera
Pracgcr, 1964), p. 75, emphasis added. Oruka, Punuhmnit and Terrorism in A/ric<t (Nairobi, Kcnya: East African Litcra-
61 lbid., p. 165. ture Bureau, 1976).
142 1Notes Notes / 143

2 As Jean-Paul Sartre has observed. since Sorcl, fanon is rhe one thinker who has 11 T. S. Eliot, A Choice of Kipling'r Verse (New York: Anchor Books, 1962), p. 143.
scriously engagcd and examined the inrernal dialcctic of violen= and counter- 12 It should be noted that, to this day, the Ianguagc of economic "developmcnt' rnd
violence, in the specific context of an opprwive rctup. (See thc prefacc to The political 'maturity" or lack thcrcof, with which United Nations and World food
Wretched of the Earth [New York: Gmve Press, 19681, p. 14.) In thii r a p e n , expens assess the emnomic and political situarion of non.European territaries is
Kenneth David Kaunda's book, The Riddle of Violmce (Ncw York: Harpcr & interna1 to this colonialist conccption of human existencc.
Row, 1980), is not useful for our present discussion. precisdy because it is not a 13 Karl Marx, "Bitish Rulc in India," in Kad Marx and frederick Engelr, On Colo-
systemic study of a violent setup, but the conscientious musings of a Christian nialimr (Ncw York: lntcrnational Publishers, 1972). p. 41.
nonviolenr politician in the face of the all-pervasive presence of violence in politics.
14 For a detailed exposirion of thc mlonialist orientation of Marx's "matcrialist
3 Aime Chraire, Discourse on Colonialism (New York: Monthly Rcviw Pnss, 19774, mnccption of hismry" sec my papcr. *Karl Marx and African Emancipatory
p. 9. In this respecrsee also Cornelius Catoriadis,"The Criscsof Westem Sodeties," Thought: A Criquc of Marx's Euto-Centric Mctaphysics," Prdxis International,
Telos, no. 53 (fall 1982), pp. 26-28. In "Defending the West," Panisan Review, vol. 10, nos. 112 (AprillJuly 1990).
no. 3 (1984), Castoriadis argues that South Africa cannot be conridcrcd part of
the Weaern world because it violates the basic prcmisen of the European heritage. 15 Hegel's Philosophy of Right, trans. T. M. Knox lNew York: Oxford Univcrrity
He fails to note, howcvcr, that the Wcst os a Wholc ir responsible for rhe prescnt Ptcss, 1973). p. 151, paragraph no. 246, rrnphasis added.
uostence of South Afnca snd furthermorc, thc Wcsr has nerer acnd in accordancc 16 Ibid., pp. 131-52, paragraphs no. 2 4 6 4 9 .
with its her.tage (i.c.. ir, relf-conccption) tnits rclations withnon-Eumpean peoples. 17 For a detailed discussion of the mlonialist orientationof Hegel's thought please see
4 Cesaice,. ibid....
o. 11. my paper, "Thc Idea of Colonhlism In Hegel's Philosophy ofRigbt." Intemationdl
Philosophiurl Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 3, issuc no. 115 (September 1989).
5 Edward Said, The Quesrion of Palertine (Ncw York: Vinrage Books, 1980), p. 78.
For a similar descriotion of the colonial cxpcrience in its dehumanizarion of the 18 On this point we Loren Eisely, Darwin'r Century (New York: Anchor Books,
colonized ice fanon', The Wretched of the ~ a r t h p., 250. 19611, pussini; Cornel West, Prophery Deliverance! (Philadelph~a:Wesrminsrcr
Press, 19821, chap. two, "A Gencalogy of Modern Racism"; and Edward W. Said,
6 Kari Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communirt Mantfesto (New York: Interna- "Rcpracnting rhc Colonized: Anthropology's Inredocutorr," Criiicill Inquiry, vol.
tional Publirhets, 19831, pp. 9-13. The rclwant parraga are: "The dircovcry of 15, no. 2 (Winrer 1989).
Amcrhci, dir roonding of rhe Capc, opcned up frcrh ground [sic] for the riring
bourgeoisie. Thr Earr lndgan and Chinese markcts, the colonization of Americn, 19 As quorcd by Richard H. Popkin, 'Humc's Racism," The Philusophical Forum,
nade with thc colonies, rhe incrcare in the meanr of cxchange and in commodities vol. 9, nos. 2-3 (Winor-Spring 1977-19781; for Hume's remarks, see p. 213; for
gcnerally, gave to commcrce, to natigation, to indurrry, an ~mpulscncvcr bcforc Kant's remarks, scc p. 218.
known" (pp 9-10. ln othcr wordr: *.Modcrn indurtry has cstablirhrd the world 20 Placide Templa, Bantu Philosophy (Paris: Prescncc Africainc, 19691, pp. 171-72.
market. for which the d.scover, l i s . , rhe mloniirttonl of Americo. paved the way. 1 1 Aristotlc, Politicr, cd. Stcphcn Everson (Ncw York: Cambridge University Prcrr,
This marker has given an im&&se dcvelopment ro commcrce. to navigation, to 19891, 1260b6-7, p. 20.
mmmunication" (p. 10). Thus: "ln a word, it [.e., thc European bourgeoisicl
creates a world aftcr itr own imagc" (p. 13). In everything that h e bourgcoiiie 22 On this point sce H. D. F. Kino, The Creekr (New York: Penguin Books, 1979).
docr to globalize Eurape it is the "tool of Hiotory" and ir has Marx's unconditional See also, Aristotle, Politicr, 1252b5-9, p. 2.
support. In other words, in the above passages Marx, like a good colonialist, ir 23 Alan Ryan, UProfesmrHegel Coes ro Washington." a rcview of Francis Fukuyama'r
celehrating the globalizauon of Europcan nmporality. This is the temporality The End of H i r m y und the Lan Man (New York: Frec Press,1989), in The New
grounded on, as Said tells un, "thc conversion into produciivity" of the human York Revicw of Books, vol. 39, no 6, March 26, 1992, p. 10.
and natural rcsources of thc non-Europcan world (sce note S). 24 Edward Said, 'The Burdens of lnrerpretation and thc Qucstion of Palestinc,"
7 On the theme of colonial fascism sce, Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the lourna1 of Palcstine Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, issuc 61 (Auwmn 1986), pp. 29-30.
Colonired (Bosmn: Beacon Press, 1967). p. 55, and also pp. 62-65, On this point 25 1n thc twcnty-sinh chaptn of Capital, vol. 1, M a n explicares in grear detall this
see also-in this s u d y , chapter 1note 29-Aim Csaire's alrcady cited insightful whole devdopmcnt, which he rcfcrs to as "primitive accumulation." As a true
remarks on Hitler and Hiderism and Europe's hypocritical stance toward colonia nincteenth-century European, however, Marx's mncern is much more focuscd on
fascisin. thc economic mechanisms of accumulation and not on the extirpation of aboriginal
8 Memmi, ibid., p. 3. popularionq which is just mentioned in passing.
9 V. Y. Mudimbc, "African G n o s k Philosophy and rhc Ordcr of Knowledgc," 26 Aimt Csak, Letter :o M a u ~ c eThorez (1956). Englirh rranrlation by Prerrncc
African Studies Review, vol. 28, nos. 2-3 Uune-Septcmber 1985), p. 154. Africaine (Paria: Presrnce Afiiuine, 19571, p. 6.
1 0 V. Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa (Bloomington: Indiana Univerrity Prcss, 27 Chinua Achcbe, Things fa11 Apart ( N w York: A Faucctt Premiet Book, 1959),
1988), pp. 47-48. p. 191.
28 Ibid. 43 This is the contradidon b m e n the statc as thc embodiment of "ethical life" and
29 Fanon, Block SRm, Wbite Musks, p. 1 2 (New York: Gmve P n o , 1967). the unrcsolvablc contradictions of "civil society," the realm of socio.economic
exisnnce. On this point, see my already a n d paper, "The Idea of Colonialism in
30 Hegel's Pbmomenology ofspirit, trans. A. V. Miller (New York: Clarendon Press, Hegel's Philorophy of Rtzht."
1977), paragraphs 187 and 188.
44 Fanon, The Wretched of the Enrth, p. 36.
31 In chis regard, as Kwame Anthony Appiah poinrs out (In My Father's House
[Oxford University Prers, 19921, p. 4) the Eumpean colonial animde mward the 45 Ibid., p. 41.
colonized was nor uniform or homageneoun. For example, the Frcnch practiad a 46 Lorm Eisely, Darruin's Century (New York: Anchor Baoks, 1961). chap. ten. Scc
policy of aisimilation the British did not. This, however, does not invalidan my also Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books, 19801,
point that the character of Obierika ir rhe spirimai anccstor of the subjugated pp. 56-83.
uolu or Westernized African. My point is not thar the British and rhe French 47 Fanon, Thc Wretched of the Earth, p. 118.
had similar palicies or results, but that different as their polices Mght be they both
.. .-
48 Ibid., pp. 152-56.
'aresunoose the cultural. hirtorical.. and ~oliticalsubiueation and subsetvience of
&e colonized. In this regard &en Obifflka symbolizer, in Achebe's narrative, that 49 lbid., p. 51.
initial momcnt of humiliation and subordination rhat is rhe necessary point of SO Ibid., p. 43.
~-~ ~ for the mnrciousnesr of the Westernizcd African. In othcr words-whether
it was so intended by the colonizcr and whaher o r nor it was accepnd on thcse 51 Ibid., p. 51, emphasir added.
terms by the colonized-the process of Westernuation neassvily pnsupposes the
subjugation and deprecation of the indigmous colture and hiitoriciry. This is so
precisely because, on epirtmic grounds, it ir the acr of surreptlriowly privileging,
jl 52 Jean-Jacqui Rousscau, 0 n the Social Contract. trans. Donald A. CRSSand intro-
duced by Peter Cay (Indianapolis: Hackerr. 1983). p. 17. The relevant lines read
as follows: "Wcre 1 to considcr only forcc nnd thc cffcct that floas from it, 1 would
on a metaphysical level, a particular mimre and historicity as being corerminous
with Being or existente as such.
1 say thar sn long as a people is constrained to obcy and docr abey, ir dacs wcll. As
soon as ir can shake off the yokc and docr rhake it off, it docs cvcn betnr. For by
32 For an intcmsting but fundnmentally differmt reading of this text, sce Rhonda remvsring i n l i b e y by means of rhe same right that srole it, either thc populace
Cobham, "Problems of Gender and History in the Teaching of Things Fa11 Apart," ! ir justified in getting ir back or else thosc who rook ir away were nor jusrified in
thcir actions."

in Matatu, no. 7 (1990).
33 Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Ambiguour Aduenture (Pornmouth, N.H.: Heinemann 53 Fanon, The Wntched of the Earth. p. 69, mphasis added.
Educational Baoks, 1989), pp. 48-49. 54 Memmi, The Coloninr and the Cohiized, p. 9.2. imphasis addcd.
34 For this referente see note 5. ' 55 Oliva Blanchetre, For a Fundamenral Social Ethic (New Yorki Philorophical Li.
35 Kant on History, ed. Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Educacional brary, 19731, p. 28.
Publishing, 1963), p. 3. 56 Regarding this conception of the human being as a being that consrirutcs inelf in
36 Frantz Panon, Towards the Africon Reuolution (New York: Grove Press, 1988). an ongoing manner in the actuality of its lifc, sce notes 27, 28, and 3 1 in chaptcr
pp. 158-59. 1 of this study.
37 PatrickTaylor,TheNo~~ntiveofLibnation (Ithaca: Corncll University Prcss, 1989). S7 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 51.
p. 74. 58 Albcrt Mcmmi, Dominared Man (Boston: Beamn Press, 1969), in section 4 "The
38 Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "Crirical Fanonism," CriticalInquiry,vol. 17, no 3 (Spring Domntic Servant," p. 178. It is impornnt m note that thc condirion of uner
1991), p.,459. Gares's charge against Said r s t s on projeaing &e singular situation humiliation and sexual domination thar Memmi highlighis based on his reledoni
a f minorit~esin the U.S.A. as the norm in the non-European world as a whole. Ir on the film The Seruant (by Harold Pinter and Joseph Loney) is a rather accorate
should be noted that the historico-political conflim that engaged and produced representariori of rhe realiry of lie, especially for female servants, in mosr African
the tcxn of Fanon are, on the wholc, the lived amality in which w e - o f the non- countrics. This is panicularly rrue if the master oremployuis himself a Wcstcrnized
EuroAmerican world-still find ourselves. African a n d a member of rhe neocolonial ruling class, who culturally aspires and
! "sees" himself as incarnating European culture.
39 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 38.
59 lbid., p. 179.
40 Ibid., p. 112.
60 Ibid.
41 Regarding chis key norion of colonlratlon as "thingification," see AimC CCsaire,
Discouire on Colonialhm (New York: Monthly Revicw Press, 1972). p. 21; and , 61 Fanon, Ths Wretched of the Earth, pp. 36-37.
Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, pp. 3637. 62 Hcgel. Phmomenology of SpMt, p. 10. paragraph no. 18. As is well known, for
42 Ibid., p. 40. Hegel Wirkbchkeit (acrualiry) ir grounded on rhe adequation of concepr and oblect.
146/ Notes Noies / 147

63 Frantz Fanon, Les damnes de la t m e (Paris: Franpis Maspcro, 1974), p. 6. case in the colonial mntrxt. The inermess of submission to colonial tyranny is
64 Patrick Taylor, The Narrative of Liberation, p. 49. On thu point, it is nccessary replaccd by rhc vitaliry of anri-colonial resistancc and rcvoiurion.
to emrrhaoize that. Tayior's position, if left unqualified, suffers from a naive essen- 78 lronically Alben Camus was onc of rhc "prcstigious French inrellectualr" (V. Y.
tialis& which is grkunded on.reifying and e ~ c v a ~ i n ~ a b thc o v chistoricity of exisrence Mudimbe, The Surreptitiour Speech. p. xvii), who in 1947 was rympatheric to and
the pre-colonial humanity of rhe colonized. supponive of Aliounc Diop's efforrs to establish Presmce Africui,re, a solitary
65 On rhis point see the upcoming discussion latcr in this chapter. In The Wretched African cuimrai instimtion in rhe heart o( post-&r France.
of the Earth, dease eee PP. 55-59. 79 Memmi, The Colonirer ond the Colonized, p. 3.
66 For mi inreruting cxposit.on of chis poinr. pleav v e Michad Ryan, Marxism and 80 Amilcar Cabnl, Retum to the Source: Llected Speeches (New Yark: Monrhiy
Deconrrructaon (Balrsmore: Johns Hopkins University Prus, 19841, p. 6. Revim Prcss, 1973). p. 79. In On Violence, Arendt ir of the opinion that the
67 Martin Heidegger, An Introduction to M#taphyricr (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1977), p. 62.
"civil-righm movement .. .
was entirely nonvioknt" (p. 76). For a deailed discus-
sion which conrradim Arendt's unsubstantiatcd assertion, see William R. Jones,
68 Ibid., p. 152. "Liberation Smtcgics in Black Theology: Mao, Manin or Malcolm?" Philosophy
Bom of Struggfe (KcndalMunt Publishing Co., 1983).
69 Ibid., p. 155, and the additinnal exploration of this point on PP. 143-65.
81 Fanon, Tbc Wretched of the Earth, p. 56.
70 Taylor, Tha Nmrative of Ltberation, p. 60.
71 Jcan-Paul Sarrre, in the preface to The Wretched of thc Earth, p. 14. 82 On thir point ter, Paul Nizan's interesting short novcl, Aden Arabit (Boston:
Beaeon P w , 1960).
72 Hannah Arendt, On Violence (New York: Harmun Bracc Jovanovich, 1970), p.
65. 83 Fanon, Tbc Wretched of the k r t h , p. 58
73 Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future ( N m York: Penguin Books, 1980), p. 84 Ibid.
4. 85 Aimt Ctsaire, The Tragedy of King Christophe (New York: Grove Press, 1969),
74 In rhis regard see Edward W. Said, "An Idcology o1 Differencc," Critica1 Inquiry, p. 13.
vol. 12, no. 1 (Autumn 1985), p. 47. To my knowledge the one European philoso- 86 On this point sec Michel Foucaulr, "Thc Erhic of Care for thc Self as a Practicc
~ h e rhar
r is not snarcd bv this Eurocmtric doublc standard h Jan-Paul Sanre. of Frccdom," an intervicw translated by J. D. Gauthicr, S. J., in The mal Foucault,
0 n the orher hnnd, one of the most blatant offenden on rhis score~isAlben Camus. ed. T. Bcrnauer and D. Rasmusscn (Cambridpc, Mass.: MIT Press. 19881, p. 3. As
On rhis las1 point, see Aloerr Camus, Reststance, Rebellton and Dearh (New York: thcreader will see, this basic and crucial thc& o "the practice of treedok" and
Vintage ~ o o k s 1974),
, specifically connast "Letters to a Cerman Fricnd" and rhe how it a n possibly be esrablishcd beyond the muntcr-violence directed against
sccrion ritlcd "Algcria." colonialism and n&mlonialism will b; rhc central focus of chaprrr 4.
75 As V. Y. Mudimbe poina out: "Until rhe 195Os+nd 1 am not cemin a t sll that 87 Claairc, The Tragedy of King Christophe, p. 19.
things have chaoged roday for the general public in thc Wcst-Africa is widcly
pcrccivcd and prcrcnnd as thc mntincnt wirhout mmory. withovt past, wirhout 88 Fanon, The Wrctched of the Earth, p. 47.
historv. More ~rccisclv.her historv is suiiooacd to commenn with her contacu 89 Memmi, Ths Colonuer and thc Colonized, pp. 51-66.
with Eurapc, okdficaily with thc progrcs~heEuropean invasion of the continent 90 On this point sec Memmi, The Colonirer and the Colonired, pp. 58-61. Scc alsa
rhat beeins at thr end of the fiheenth ccnruw." The Surrmtitious S~eechIChica~o: in this chapter note 7 and the relatcd discurrion of fascism and criloninlism.
University of Chkago Presr, 1992). p. u.
91 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 60.
76 Ir should be nond, as Fanon poinn out in his articlc, "Accra: A f ~ c aAffirms 11s
- ~ -~ 2nd
- -~ Defines
- , ~ -lm- ~~t r a~-,
- . .
t e e Ifirst
v~ ~ ~ublished
~ - . .no. 34..Dccember
in EIMoudiabid.
24,1958; presently collecred in Towmds the Africun Rniolution, section 16 [Crove
92 Memmi, The Colonirn and the Colonized, part two, rhc scctionr rirled, "Mythical
Portrait of the Colonized.>' and "Situations of the Colonized," pasrtm.
Pmss.. 19881). ... that thc counnrclaim o the colonized has to do with thc rclation Y 3 On this point sce Fanon's pioncriing dircuss~onin Blnrk Skm,U'hlte .\I~rrs.
of forces within which the colonizu-colonized mnfrontation unfolds. It is only . . .
fuut. "The So.callcd Dc~endencvComole%of Colonired Proplrr." Scc ~ l r owhar
when this relation-globally or regionally-tilts againsc rhe mlonizing power rhar ~Colonued,
e m mcalls
i pp."The
UsurperosRole (or rhe Nero complex)," ~ j >Ci>loni;rr
e dnd the
we here talk of "non-violent decolonization" (p. 155).
77 Frana Fanon. A Dvmr. Colonialim (New York: Crove Prcss, 19651, P. 78. In her 94 Sce rhe recond aection of chaprer 2.
alrcady Oted ~ o r k ~ ~ r o l e n c c , ~ rwritea
e n d r rhat, "if only thc prraiceof violence
would makc it possiblc to intcrrupt automatic proccsses ln the realm of human Y5 See the fimt seaion o chapter 2.
nffairr, thc preachrrs of v.alencr wauld havr won an lmportanr point" (p. 30). In 96 The film, a 1968 praduction is basrd on Sembrnc'r rhort novel, Ti~ebloney Order
point of fa;, as Fanon poinrs out, in thc quotation just citcd, this is precisciy thc (Pornmouth, N.H.: Heinemann Educacional Books, 1988).
148/ Notas Notas / 149

97 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 150. On this point Sembene's novds and 7 Davidson. Africa in Modern Historv. pan 6. reccion 32. Tu eet a measure of
soecificallv The Monev Order and Xala (Chicano:
& , . " Lawnnce Hill Bouks. 1976) a-
Cabral's ind'the PAIGC's radical pe&;ctive, ;ee Cabral's addrrir st thc CONCP
indispensable reading. (Confederarion of the Nationalist Organiznions of Portuguese Colonies) held in
Dar-Es-Salaam in 1965: "ihc National Movcmentr of rhe Portuguese Colonies,"
98 Tavlor. The Narrative of Liberation. D. 10. As Taylor . .~ o i n t sout. for Fanon, in Revolution in Guinea: Selected Texfr (New York: Manthly Revicw Prcss, 1969).
nrocolonialirm and thr dominarion of thc libcration strugglc, by rhc degcncrate and
The orher movement thar Davidson mentions is rhe ~rirrcanPeopk's Liberation
counrrrfeir Afrfican "narional bouracoisien-.e., "Caliban k m m e Prospero"-ir
Fmnt (EPLF). A h r thirry yeats of struggle in which the EPLF was rhe leading
thc negative possibity that can develop (as ndeed has happened in most f frica)
armed movemenr, stamng from the early 19705, rhe Eritrean rerirtance won a
. m mncretely instimtional-
as aresultof the failure af the African liberation strugnle
complete political and militar, victory in May 1991.
ire lo emancipaiory pasi~biliries.The obverw of chis tcagic situarion .r thc as of yet
unrcaliicd possibility of conaetcly consolidating the gainc of the African liberation 8 Such s n undertakinp would requite a srudv unro irseif. Here I 3 m onlv concerned
- ~ h .i nositive
otruedc. s .ooasibili~.the duiderafum of the Ahican liberation rtruaalc, with Cabtal as anex~mpleof'<he pracocef fwdom" in thcconrrxr of rhc Afrtcan
will be the main foms of ou; discussion in chaprer 4. For Fanon's pione;nng l ~ k r a t i o nrmugglc. Foi more general discursionr of Cabral, scc Jock McCullach, In
discussion of chis ctucial point, scc the s d o n of The Wrnched o/the Earth titlcd. thc TwilkhtofRrvolution (London: Routlrd~e& Keaean Paul. IYb3l. snd Parnck
"ThePitfalls of ~ a t i o n aCoosciousness."
i Chabal, milinr Cabral ( ~ c w York: ~ a r n b r y d ~univUersiry
c ~ i e s r ,1983).
99 1 barrow this nouon from Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Mcthod (New York: 9 Franu Fanon, The Wretched of rhe Enrth (New York: Gcavc Preir, 1968), p. 59.
Crossroad Publirhing Ca., 1982). pp. 273-74. By rhe qualification 'sociological~ emphasis addcd.
1 mean only to suggert rhat, forme, *the hsion of horiwns" is a conuetc historical 10 Cornslius Cnscoriadis, The Imaginary lnsritution o/ Society (Cimbridgc. Masr.:
and antic procss that occurs in engaging real life isrues and pmblmis within the MIT Presa, 1987). In what follows 1will arnue that thc ororrss of African libcration
connxt of a specific hismricalnss. On the fundnmental importanceof this moment ir in f a n a specific exemplification of the ;ruprivc and magmattc procers rhrough
in thc Afncan liberation strugglc, scc Cabral, R e r m to thc Source: Selecred which instiniredor cstabl~shedsocicris (thc mlon~aland ncocolonidl African sratus
Specches, p. 63. quo) are overmme by <hedf-institution of sociery out of &e radical and founda
100 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 41. tional Yimaginar," on which the h e c a n liberation smuggle ir grounded.
101 Ibid., p. 146. 11 Fanon, The Wretched o/ the &r&, p. 124.
102 lbid, p. 150. 12 Leopold Sedar Scnghor, On African Socialism (Ncw York: Pracger, 1964). p. 81.
In this rcgard. reflening on his own political upeauice and practice, Kenneth
103 On this point sce chapter 1 in chis srudy. David Kaunda makes rhe followina- vew . nvcalina rcmarkr: "BY 'rational'of course
104 On this point, see Marx's chird thesis in "Theser on Fcuubach," in Karl Marx thc whin senlers meani the black opponcnt least Iikcly to cause rhem anxicry or
and Frcderick Eneels. The Gennan ldeolom (New York: lntemational Publisherr, thrcann their privilcaed posiuon." Kcnncth Davnd Kaunda, Tl>eKiddle o/ Vaolence
(New York: ~ a r p c i b rROW, 19.90) p. 52.
13 Senghor, OnafricnnSochlism, p. 82. With Albert Memmioneneeds to arkSenghor
4. T h e Liberation Struggle and his ilk: "How can onc d a x camnare thc advantnecr and diradvancaes of
All mphasis in the original unless orherwiae indicared.
colonization? What advanrages . .. muld makc such interna1 and cxtcrnal catastro-
phes [.e., thc con~iropheof being colonhed] acceprablr'" The Colontro ond rhe
1 Michd Foucault, Ethic of Cate for thc Self as a Practicc o Fmdom," an ~ o l o n i r c d(Boston: ~ i a c o n~cess;1967). p. 118.
interview nanslated by J. D. Gauthier, S, J., in The Final Foucault, ed. J. Bernauer 14 Franu Fanon, Block Skin, White Masks (New York: Giove Press, 19671, p. 12.
and D. Rasmusscn (Cambridge, Mass.: MiT Pms, 1988). p. 2.
15 Fnnz Kafka, "A Repon to an Acadcmy," in Selected Storier of Franr Kafia (Ncw
2 Ibid., pp. 2-3, emphasir added. York: MdemLibrary. 1952).ihccmtralcharacrerof Kafka's story-a h u m a n i d
3 Ibid., p. 4. ape-is, m my mind, an apr examplc of the mcnrality and charaeter of rhc unre-
4 Ibid., p. 6. formcd Westernircd African.
5 Basil Davidson, Africa in Modern History (New York: Penguin Books, 19851, p. 16 The ponrayal of Wesrernized Afrin prcscnted by Sembenc Ousmane in his filmr
374. Mandabi (1969) and Xola (1974) are rxcellcnr cxampler of rhe charaocr. or lack
6 klichel Foucault, Languoge, Comter.Mmoy, Pracricr (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Unl-
. .
thereof. of this se~mcntof contemoorani A h i n n soci;tv., Bcine- mvrclf.
, . t o a limited
exrent, the offspring of ihiu segment of Aftican sociery, I can say from my awn
vcrriry Pnss, 1977), p. 233. Foucault m a k s the above temark in a discussion wirh life cxwriencei that Kafka's ape and Sembene's drscription are true to life in thcir
mlitant studenro in 1971. three vean aher May 1968. It should be nored rhar chara&rizations.,
what Poucault affirms here was alio affirmed loningo by Mafx, againsr thc utopian
socialis&. 1 7 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 113.
Notes / 1S1

18 Ibid. In ertablirhing pcopler' ssrcmblirs, thc libcration movments re-instinite an old

19 Ibid. idea in a n w context. Thus, thc claim that Africa has no rradition of political
democracy lon this point, see Ibrahim K. Sundiata, "Thc Roors of African Dcspo-
20 Ibid., pp. 67-68. tism: Thc Question of Political Cultute," African Studies Review, vol. 31, no. 1
21 lbid.. D. 68. The sentence as a whole reads: *Thismeetinnof revolutionaries comine (April19881) isa rather bogur claim. Onrcouldraythar ir ir limired by agandsocial
fram the towns and countty dwellrrs will be dealt with latcr on." This "later on" rtandinh bur in this respect cven Athenian democracy-the pride of Europc!-was,
rrfrrr to the central idea of thc Wretched which ir thc radical sclf-transfonnat~on one has m . vainfullv. rcmcmbrr. a demacracv of rlave marterr which exduded
of decolonized society such thar the Westernized and non-Westernizcd native over- women and thc msiaved maioriry. Even conremporary Western democracies are
come their mutual self-estranaement and in rhtir culmral-historical fusion institute not what they seem or avwar
.. 10 be. On rhis last point, olease ser Goran Therborn's
and acniaiizc the possibiliry of African sclf-emancipation. To be sure, thc abovc classic paperi "The Rule of Capital and the ~ i s e i ~f e ~ ~ c New
~ a Lefi
~ ~ Review,
, ' '
ir, in sum and very concisely, my reading of Fanon's politico-hismrical perspective. no. 103 (May-June 1977).
2 2 On this point, see note 60 in rhi chapter. 36 Fanon, ?he Wrerrhcdof the Eatih, p 194. Ir shauld be notrd rhir thc much aburcd
23 Fanon, The Wretched ofthe Eanh, p. 119. word ^rcpublic" derives from thr Latin res publira, wh.ch Iitcralls meinr thc thina
or affair of the people.
24 Ibid., p. 127.
25 Ibid., p. 125. 37 1am referring to Hannah Arendt's insighrful rcmarks in chapter three of thir rmdy
(nore 73) which-in spite of her duplicity regarding rhe emanciparory efforts of
26 Fanon, Black Skin, White Marks, p. 224. non-European pcoplcs-basinlly affirms what Fanon articulares rcgarding thc
27 1 borrow thc notion of originative history from Castoriadis's already cited work, possibilities of frcedom created by the African liberarion struggle.
The Imagina? Institution ofsociety (scc note 10).
38 Frantz Fanon, Towardr the African Revolution (New York: Crove Press, 1988),
28 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Aduantage and DUadvmtage of H b t o y for Life p. 78. Ovcr a periodof ten yearr (circa 19741984) the Eritrean rerirrincc rcpulred
(Indianapolis: Hackett, 1980), p. 23. ten ruch campaignr-comprising 31 any one timc scventy to nincty thousand
29 In The lmaginay Institution of Society, Castoriadis devclops this notion of hismry troopr-whilc rimultancausly instituting itr dcmacratic organs of popular mass
as a process of radical novelty in contradistinction to the tradition of Europcan democracy.
thought which basically sees history as a process of self-replication. Onthis point, 39 On thii point, see also Karel Kosik, DLlectics of the Concrete (Dardrecht and
please oee specifically pp. 198, 272, and 343. On this point, see also Fanon's Bosmn: D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1976). pp. 42-49.
insighthl remarks in Black Skin, White Markr, p. 229, and his cal1 to inventivcness
and creativity which conciudes The Wretched of the Enrth. 40 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. pp. 126-27.
30 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 147. 41 On this noint olease scc chavrcr 3. rection 2 of thir rnidv. It is im~rrarivem notc
3 1 Ibid., pp. 153-54. that ~ a n o nw& not mcrely akpecrator o r a "rhcoiist" of scial cha&. His writings
are desctiprive
. experiential
. narratives of the pmcess of decolonization. in this xnse
32 Ibid., pp. 164-66. It should be notcd that Fanon was an opponenr of the single- one can say thar Fanon is a phcnomcn~lo~irt of decolonization rnd his texa are
parry stare fmm itr inception, when rhis self-xrving idea was popular among many dacumcnurions of rhin expcrienec in rhe procerr of irr unfolding.
African leaders, who argued that to avoid cthnidtribal confliet and to scriauily
engage in "development," single-minded government based on a single-party sute 42 Frann Fanon, A Dying Colonialism (Ncw York: Crove Press, 196% scc thc first
waa a neccssity. Thirty ysara aftcr the fact African popular opinion is beginning three chapters. Ir rhould be noted ar rhis point thar rhe facr that post-colonial
to apprcciatc, out of bittcr cxperimcc, the critique of the single-party statc articu- Algeria n g n s x d on many of its achicvements and never achieved al1 rhat Fanon
lated by Fanon in Tbe Wretched of the Earth. On thk point, please see Christopher had hoped fordocs not in any way detract from rhevalidiry of Fanon's observationr.
Mulci, "Afica Needs Democracy," New Africa, no. 285 Uune 1991), p. 26. As should be clcar for anvone who has n a d his workr, for Fanon thc frcedom
and vitality of a peoplc is.something that has ro be conrtantly strugglcd fcr m d
33 Fanon, Tbe Wretcbed of the Earth, p. 176.
maintained. 11cannot be achicvcd once and for all. Each generation has co acdvely
34 Ihid., p. 169. hold on to the fttedom it has inhuited or forccfullv rcclaim thc frcedom rhat the
35 For a dctailed discussion of this central point in Fanon, which is seldom dixussed previous gcncration failed to rransmit to ir.
in the literature an Fanan, pleasc rcc The Wretched of the Eurth, pp. 185-205. It 43 See notc 99 in chapter 3 of this study.
should also be nored, as Fanon points out (p. 48). rhat the idea of mass popular
democracy is not a novel idea in the connxt of Africa. Even in kingihips and 44 Fora uitical discussion of Gadamer's notion of 'cffcctive-historical consciousness,"
aristocratically ruled societies, problems of daily life, on the local level, havc a please see my papcr, "Hcidegger and Gadamcr: Thinking as 'medirativc' and as
rradition (on the whole) of being dealt with through rhe village arsembly and in 'effeuivrhistorical Consciousnerr,' " Man and World, vol. 26, no. 1 (19871, pp.
demacratic delibcration zmong the elders rnd thc rerponsiblcpersons of the village. 59-61. For a more recenr critica1 reading of tadamcr's notion of "cffective-histori-
152/ Notes Notes 1153

cal Consnousness," see Gail Soffer, "Gadamer, Hcmensutics, and Objenivity in 53 Martin Hcidcgger, What 1s Philosophy? (New Haven, Conn.: College & Univcrsity
Interpraation," Praxis International, vol. 12, no. 3 (Onobcr 1992). Press, 1956), p. 97. Unlike Heidegger, howcvcr. Cabral is quite ranguine and
45 Fanon, Towards the Ajricmr Revolution, p. 34. comistent ngarding thc veracity of chis view in his political involuements.
S4 CorneliusCasmriadis, 'The GreekPolis and rhe Creationof Democracy," Graduate
46 Ibid., p. 146 Faculty Philosophy ]oumal, vol. 9, no. 2 (Fall 19831, p. 93.
47 Ibid., p. 44. 55 Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea: SelectedTexts (Ncw York: Monthly Review
48 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 246, emphasis added. In convadiction to Press, 1969), p. 76.
Fanon, Memmi assetts chac "We shall ultimately find o u n d v n beforc a counter 56 Amilcar Cabral, Return to the Source, p. 58
mythology. . To hear the colonired ...
cverything is good, cverything must 57 Ibid., p. 61.
be rctained among his cuitoms and traditionr, his actions and plam; cvcn the
anaduonous or disordedy, rhe immoral or mistaken. Evcvthing ir juotificd bccause 58 Ibid.
everything can be explained." The Coloaieer and tbe Colonired, p. 139. In terms 59 This ir also one of the central points that Fanon maker in The Wretcbed of tbe
of his own depiction of the differing pomaits and the possibilities of both the Earth, see thc semon tirled, "On National Culmre."
colonizer and the colonired, the above position r a m s to be mmpletely untenablc,
60 See Mario de Andrada'r "Biogtaphical Notes," in Unity and Struggle: Speeches
preciscly because it fails to take account of the dialenies of change thar Memmi and Writings, pp. xxvii-xxviii. Scc alro the tcxt and remarks in note 22 of this
himelf cxplorn so well in rhe res1 of his texr. See alro note 66 for Cabral's remarks chapter. Ir should also be notcd in thir regard thar initi?lly, thc Algcrian struggle
on this point, which are in complere agrecment with Fanon. was a mmemmt aimed not at independence but at obtaining equal righn-.e.,
49 Fanon, Tbe Wretchedofthe Earth, p. 216. As is wdl known, Fanon always thought assimilation-for Algcrians who, in the official propaganda of French rolonialism,
through his reflenions based on his own concrete expcriencu and obseniations in were rupposcd to be French citizens.
Martinique 2nd in Europe and, more important. b; focusing on the experienccs 61 Cabral, Reiurn to the Source, p. 62.
of the Algerian Revoluuon and the &m dynamic situation of Africa. In al1 of this
Fanon utiliues ro the maximum these limited histoncal expcricnccs by thmrctically 62 For an in-depth discussion of this histarickxistcntial decision as a concrete possibil-
exploring and unfolding the historical and dialmical nccnsitics cmbedded in these ity for human exisrencc, plcase see Martin Hcidcggcr, Being ond Tirm (NcwYork:
concrete situations. As we have seen. this ir why his reflcctions on the vroeess of Harpcr and Row, 1962) specifically scction 74, p. 434.
Afncan self-emanciparion o r the present actualitics of neocolonialism (thirty years 63 Cabral, Rsnrrn to tbe Source, p. 63.
ahead of time!) are so nue 10 life. hdeed, Cabral's thcoretic position mncretely 64 Ibid., p. 63.
vindicates rhe deurh and foresieht of Fanon's much ncelected work. As Pietro
Clemente had notcd IFrnntz Firnon, tra e s i r t e ~ t t a l ~ me orivolurione. Cara edirricc 65 Lbid., p. 54.
Guis, Larcna 8: Figli. Bari Italna, via Dante 51) as early as 1971, the rcason for 66 Ibid., pp. 54-55,
this neglen in borh Europe and Africa ir the f a n that Fanon makes-by thc veracity
67 Ibid., p. SS.
oi what he riys-many pcoplc uncomfortable. On this point, sce also Mrs. Jorie
Fanon, "Hir Soiidariw Knew No Nationnl Boundarin." in Intarnn~~onal Tribute 68 Ibid.
to Frantr Fanon ( ~ c i o r dof the Special meeting of thc Unitcd Natiuns Special 69 Ibid., p. 56.
Comminec against Aparrheid, 3 Novembcr 1978), p. 33.
70 On chis point scc Cabral's cssay, 'Thc Weapon of Thcory," in Revolution in
50 Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea: Selected Texis (New York: Monthly Review Guinea, specifically,p. 93. See also, Our People Are Our Mountaitrs, Specchcs o[
Presr, 1969), p. 76. Amilcar Cabral, Collecccd by the British Commime for Freedom in Mozambique,
51 O n this point, please ree Mano de Andrade's biognphinl notes in U@ amd
Angola, and Guinea-Bissau (Noiringham, Eng.: Russeli Press Ltd., 1971). Cabral
Struggle Speecber and Wrltings of Amilwr Cabral (Ncw York: Monthly Revicw dcscribn rhe "ideology" of his movement thus: "Our deiire ra derclop our country
Press, 1979).
wirh social iustice and power in thc hands of the people ir our ideological baris.
Never again do we want to see a group or a classof people exploitingor dominating
52 Amilcar Cabral, Return to the Source: Selected Speeches (New York: Monthly the work of our people. That's our basis. If you want m cal1 it Marsism, you may
Review Press, 1973). p. 63. The central point of the discussion ro follow will b; cal1 ir Manism. That'r your rerponsibility. A iournalisr once arked me: "MI.
to explicate and detail rhe significance of thir key formulation. Ir should be notcd Cabral, are you a Manirt?" 1s marxism a religion? I am a frccdom fighter in my
that cabra1 ~ l a c e sthis ~ h r a r cin invcrred mmmas in order ro differentiate himsclf counrry. You musr judgc from whar I do in pncricc. ... Bur thr labcls are your
from n mcrely personal ond abrrrnn-Pan-Alricanism. NCgritudc, crc.-lreturn" nffair: wedon't likc thore kinds of labcls" (D. 21). In orher words, ior Cibral,as for
ro the African pnrt oc appropriacion of ir ar a dcad reltc. On this point. rcc ibid., Fanon, in the conrext of rhe hberation rrniggle, throrv is thc mncrcrc ncrrncneuric
pp. 59-64. elucidation of thc necdr and rrquiremcnrs of the Inberat~onrrrugglc
154 / Notes

71 Cabral, Revolutian in Guinea, p. 102. Conclurion

72 Cabral, Retum to the Soutce, p. 43.
73 Cabral, Revolution in Guine~,p. 95. 1 Hegel has perspicuously observed rhat, in philosophy, the end ir and can only be
the rystanatic rccapimlation of the whole. In thc Phenomenology of Spirit, for
74 Ibid., p. 68. example, the seaion titled 'Absolun Knowing," which ir thc apex and condusion
75 Cabral, Retum to the Source, p. 43. of the phmomenal manifestation and amializarion of Geist ir nothing more h a n
76 Cabral, Revolution in Guinea, pp. 56-75. a concix rwiew of 'thc Scicnccof knowingin the sphcrcof appcarancc." (Oxford:
Oxford University h r s , 1978), trans. A. V. Miller, paragraph 808, p. 493. In this
77 Cabcal, Return to thc Source, p. 88, on this point s u also note 70 in this chaptcr. regard, sce also Hegei's Philosophy o/ Right. trans. T. M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford
78 On this point, pleasc see nores 70 and 77 in this chaptu. Univcmity Press, 19731, the addition to paragraph 256, thc fccond pangraph to
79 On this poinr see the concluding discussion of secrion 3 in chapter 1of this smdy, thc addition on page 155.
starting fmm note 48. Please also note notes 5 0 and 53 in the indicated section of 2 Theophilua Ohrc, Afnc.n Philosophy. A Hiktorico-Hmeneutical Investigrrrion,
thc first chapm. p. 124 (Lanham, MD:University Preas of America, 1983).
80 Cabral, Return to the Source, p. 78. For intercsting remarks on post-mlonial 3 Frantz Fanon, Towards thc Afriun Revolution, p. 44. (New York: Grove Press,
Guinea-Bissau, see the preface by Basil Davidson m No Fist is Big Enough to Hidd 1988).
the Sky (London: Zed Books, 1984), pp. viii-xii. See also Basil Davidson, The 4 Outlaw, "African 'Philosophy': Demnstructive and Rcmnrtrucrive Challengcs,"
Fortunate Irles (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Pms, 1989). in Contempwaiy Philosophy: A New Surwy, vol. 5, Afnan Philosophy, p. 11.
81 Fanon, The Wretched ofthe Earth, p. 311, emphasis sdded. cd., Curmm Floistad (Dordrccht, Ncthcrlands: Martinus Niihoff, 1987).
82 For a mntrary perspeaive, see Comelius Castoriadis, "Refleaions on Rausm," in 5 Ngugi wa Thiong'o, DecolonizingtheMind (Poriomouth,N.H.: Heinemann Educa-
Thesis Eleven, no. 32 (1992). The prohlem with Canoriadis's position is that it tional Bwk, 1983. It cannot be empharized mough that the phtasc 'rctum w
is incapable of making any meaninghil distincrions bctwecn an aggressive and h e source" ir not meant to suggcst a "return" to a primordial "truth" or some
expansionist nationalism (.e., of the ripht) and the nationalism of brmerlv colo- .
unmntaminated "African arche.. As we saw in c h a ~ r r 4. r . whar Ir to be remrncd
n&d people, which stakea B Uclaim to eiistence on the rccognition of inter;ulmril to and appropriated is thevigor and acruality of Afncan cxistence which ir rcawak-
2nd intcrhierorical difbrence 2nd oolidarity. Erirrea, Cuinea-Bissou. and poar.1991 ened by the liberation s t r u d e . In other words, it ir the rcignited historicity of
- are..within the African context. the bcst examnlcs of thii kindof nation-
Ethio~ia African existmcs that is t h c ' s o u ~ ~ e "to which the 'rcturn" is direaed bv thc
alism. exigmaes of the liberation struggle.
Aimt Csaire Discourse on Colonialism (New York: Monthly Rwicw Press, 1972), 6 Edward Said, Orientalirm (New York: Vintagc Bookr, 1979). p. 272.
p. 78. 7 Kwame Anthony Appiah, "IrthePost- inPostmodcrnirmthc Pasr- in Postcolonial?"
Jcan-Paul Sartrc, inttoduction to The Colonuer and the Colonized, p. xxviii. Critica1 Inquity, vol. 17, no. 2 (Winwr 1991).
See nore 50 in tht firnt chapter of this smdy. 8 Cheikh Hamidou Kan+ Ambiguous Adventure, p. 73. (Portsmouth NH: Heinc-
mann Edueational Boakr, 1989)
See the quotation given in note 53 in the first chaptcr of this study.
See thc concluding discussion of chapter 1 starting from note 48 to the end of thc
chapccr. See also Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 247.
For similar views on this point, scc Kwasi Wiredu, "On Defining African Philoso-
phy," p. 105; and Lansana Kcita, UContemporaryAfrican Philosophy: The Search
for a Method," passim; both in African Philosophy: The Essential Readings.
Marcien Towa, "Propositions sur I'identiti cultutellc." Prescnce A h i n e , no.
109, 1st quarnrly (1979), p. 87. Thc English vcdon of this text is my own slightly
altered rendering of a private rransiation by Dr. Victor Manfredi.
Ibid., pp. 84-85.
91 For the notion of philosophy as a hermeneutical inventory of one's lived historicity,
which 1 bormw from Gramsci, sce non 36 and thc rclated discursion in chapter
1 of this rtudy.
92 Michel Foucault, "The Ethic of Care b r the Self as a hanice of Frcedom," p. 20.

Abstract universalism, 5. See also Being and 73,

69, 72, Be-ing,
97, 20,
132 24, 44, 57,
Achebe, Chinua, 63-64, 144 Berber-Arab civilization, 43
Africanism, 130 Blanchene, Oliva, 72-73
Africaniti, 44041, 44-53, 83, 137, Bodunrin, Peter, 5
African liberation struggle: African Cabral, Amilcar: African philosophi-
philosophical hermeneutics and, cal hermeneutics and, 118; on
9, 19,30,32, 118, 138; ethnophi- counter-violence and historicity,
losophy and, 53; Fanon on colo- 79; on process of "re-Africanisa-
nialism and, 14; and historicicy of tion," 29; on race and colonial ex-
the colonized, 28, 101, 138; neo- ploitation, 9; radical hermeneudcs
colonialism and, 15-16, 148; of the colonized and, 115; recla-
"practices of freedomn in context mation of historicity of contempo-
of, 85, 95; "rcmrn to the source" rary Africa, 114; "rerurn to the
in context o, 6, 110; self-forma- source" in context of African lib-
tion of nation states and, 113-15 eration srruggle, 6, 110, 119,
Atrican philosophical hermeneutics, 126-27; theorerical perspecnve
1-11, 16-30,33,85,114,115, of, 11, 22,27, 28, 90, 153-54;
118, 120. See also Hermeneuncs; thinking on colonialism, 102-13;
Philosophical hermeneutics United Nations poiicies and, 134
Afrocentrism, 114 Camus, Albert, 78, 146, 147
Anti-colonialism, 6, 22, 93, 102- Castoriadis, Comelius, 91, 96, 100,
13. Sec also Posccolonialism 103, 142, 150, 154
Appiah, Kwame Anthony, 9, 125, Csaire, Aim, 9, 35, 40, 56-57,
144 62,70, 81, 113, 131-32
Arendt, Hannah, 76-77, 147, 151 "Civilizing mission," 59, 61
Aristotle, 62 Cohabitation, 99
Assimilado, 64, 92, 102, 107. See Colonial fascism, 58, 70, 83
also Assimilation Glonialism: African anti-colonial
Assimilation, 144, 153. See also As- struggle and, 22, 27-28; African
similado philosophical hcrmeneutics and,

16, 19, 23, 26; Cabral on, 9, Ethnophilosophy, 5, 6, 7, 8,40, 53, Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 2, 16, 17, nialism and violence, 67-82; neo-
102-13; and cultural experience 85. 124, 125 26, 100, 130 colonial counter-violence and,
of contemporary Africans, 6, 13; ~ t h o i 69,-
, 85, 88-89 Gatcs, Henry Louis, Jr., 67, 144 82-85; reclamatiun ot in context
end of in Africa, 31-32; Euro- Eurocenuism, 3, 4, 42, 48,49, 77, Ge-stell (enframing), 20-21, 40, 70 of African situation, 90, 91-102,
pean modernity and, 14, 56-57; 103, 111, 119 Gilgamesh, 1, 123 114-15, 119; theoretic positions
historicity and, 38, 67-85; Marx European modernity: African philo- Gramsci, Antonio, 8, 23 of Nkrumah and Senghor on, 33-
on, 142; native culture and, 100- sophical hermeneutics and, 24, Gyekye, Kwame, 6 42; and violence in Airicas en-
101; neocolonial "independence" 28; C saire on, 56-57; Hegel on, counter of Europe, 56-67
and, 89; phenomenality of Afri- 60-61; Heidegger and, 20,40; "Has heen," 130-31, 134 History, theories ot, 26-L7,45, 60,
can existente and, 11; violence historicity of, 36, 39, 41, 111; Hegel, Georg: Africa and euro- 61.96, 97, 100-101, 103, 150.
and the colonized, 91-92. See Kane on, 65; Mantism-Leninism centrism of, 46,48, 52; on colo. See also Historicity ; Reclaimiog
also Aoti-colonialism; Neocolo- and, 52,111; Professional Philoso- nialism and violence, 68, 75, 82; history
nialism; Postcolonialism phy and metaphysical singularity European moderniry and, 60-61; Hobbes, Thomas. 75-76
Colonial setup, 106 of, 7; "scientific socialism" and, negativity and, 90; on philosophy Horizon, 2,4, 17-19
Colonized, the, 3, 36,57-85, 91- 34,52; subordinate passivity of and sysamatic recapitulation of Hountondji, Paulin, 5, 19, 38-39,
92, 103, 115, 144, 146-47, 152 African existencc under, 83; vio- the wholc, 155; on self-conscious 41,42,52, 84, 85, 125, 138
Counter-violente, 76-82, 85. See Vi- lente of, 58, 62, 79 freedom, 1 3 9 4 0 ; and tradition Hume, David, 61
olence European proletariat, 3 6 3 7 of ~hilosophicalhermeneutics, Hyland, Drew, 2, 26. 28
volu, 64, 144 16;123 '
Davrdson, Basil, 22, 89, 90 Hegelianism. See Hegel, Georg lrnperialism, 57-58. 11 1
Deconstruction, 119 Fanon, Frantz: African philosophi- Henemonv. 20-22.37 lndependence, Africaii, 5, 8, 13, 22,
Derrida, Jacques, 123 cal hermencutics and, 118, 119; ~ e i d e ~ ~ e i , . ~ a rcolonialism
tinI and 30,31-32,89, 96
Descartes, Rene, 1 8 anti-colonialism as "mecaphysical historiciry, 80, 102; contempo- Indigenousness, African politics and
Destructuring, 128 experience," 6; on colonial setup, rary philosophical hemeneutics history, 37, 107, 108
De-thingification, 78-79. See also 83; on colonial subjugation, 66- and, 1-2,24; eurocentrism o, 4, Indo-Eumpean civilizatioii, 43, 46,
Thingificatlon 67; on colonialism and cultural es- 20; and Fanon's views on vio- 50,51
Dialectics, 110 trangement, 22; compared to Ca- Icnce, 75, 76; formulation of Be.
Discourse, 2, 17-19 bral, 112, 113; eurocentrism and ing, 20, 127, 130-31, 132; no- Kafka, Franz, 92, 149-50
"Discursive reason," 51 Otherness, 47; on historical im- tion of "dis-dosure," 137; on Kane, Cheikh Hamidou, 22,28-29,
Dussel, Enrique, 15 porrance of African liberation philosophy and historicity, 25, 63,64-66, 69, 141
struggle, 14; historicity and, 56, 30,53,133-34 Kanr, Immanuel, 18, 61, 66
"Effective-histotical consuousness," 114; insights on African anti-colo- Hermes, 1 Kaunda, Kenneth David, 142, 149
26,100 nial stniggle, 128; as opponent of Henneneutics, 1-11, 16-17, 112, Kipling, Rudyard, 59, 61
Effective past, 109 single-party state, 150; on vio- 115,118,119-20,123,130,
Elungu, Elungu Pene, 18-19 lente in colonized and neocolo- 133. Sce also African philosophi- Lenin, 15
Encounter. See "Fusion of ho- nized Africa, 67-82, 91-102 cal hermcneutics; Philosophical Levy-Bruhl, Lncien, 46
rizons" Fascism. See Colonial fascism hermeneutics Liheration, political and cultural, 8,
Enlightenment, 34, 35-36, 66 Fluctuant, 140 Historical materialism, 34, 39, 41- 14, 15-16, 87-90,91-102,102-
Essentialism, 7, 22. See also Essen- Foucault, Michel, 87-89, l l S 42, 52 13. See also African liberation
tialist particuiarism Freedom. See AMcan liberation Historicity: African philosophical struggle
Essentialist particularism, 42, 52. struggle; Liberation; Self-standing hermeneutics and, 5-9, 13-30, Logocenrrism, 3
See also Particularirtic antiquari- frcedom 118; Cabral on colonialism, anti-
anism "Fusion of horizons," 100, 148, colonial struggle and, 102-13; Magma or magmatic, 96, 100
Ethnographic, 124 150 and Fanon's discussion of colo- Malek, Anwar Abdel, 48-49, 52
ndex lndex

Marx, Karl, 36,58, 60, 61, 74, 75, 85. See also Colonialism; Postco- "Retum m thc source": Cabrals con- Temples, Placide, 3,40, 47, 61, 138
85,136, 139,142,143 lonialism cept of revolution as, 102, 112, Theoretic formula, 112
Marxism-Leninism, 22, 33-43, 51, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, 119 119; in context of African libera- Thingification, 68, 71, 72, 73, 74-
52,57, 84, 110, 111. See also Nieache. Friedrich. 29.80 tion struggle, 6; dichotomy bc- 75, 78, 103. See also De-thingifi-
Marx, Karl Nkrumah, ~ w a m e '15; 22.33-42, wecn history and historicity of cation
Materialism. See Historical materi- 52, 53, 84, 85 existence, 104; implications of Towa, Marcien, 7, 13-14, 114
alism Nyerere, Julius, 40 Nrm, 126-27, 155; "practice of Tradition, 25-26,36, 85, 109, 126.
Mbiti, John, 3, 40 freedom" and, 113; urban and ru- See also Metaphysical rradition
Memmi, Albert, 58-59, 72, 79,84, Okere. Theo~hilus.5. 6. 18-19. ral nativa and, 105, 106, 107-10 Truth, 118, 120
145, 152 118; 125-26 . . . Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 71, 75, 145
~etaphysicaltradition, 11, 123 Okolo, Okonda, 19, 24, 25-26, 27, Rural native, 83, 91, 92-102, 105- United Nations, 15, 27-28, 129,
Modernity. See European modernity 30,53 13 134
Mudimbe, V. Y., 47,59,146 Ontic-ontological, 28, 133-34 Ryan, Alan, 62 Universalism, 43, 52. See also Ab-
Ontological difference, 28 stract universalism: Scientific uni-
Orientalism, 49 Said, Edward, 47,48,49, 52, 57- versalism
Native, 68-69, 70-75, 78-82, 84- Oruka, Henry Odera, 3,5, 56 58,62,65-66, 120 Urban native, 83, 91, 105-13
85. See a b o Rural native; Urban Othcrncss, 46,47,49, 57, 68 Sanre, Jean-Paul, 76, 113, 146 Urban political parties, 91-102
native Outlaw, Lucius, 3, 119, 124-25 "Scientific socialism," 33-34, 39,
Negativiry, 90, 115 40,41 Violencc, 21,55-56, 56-67, 67-
Ngritude, 9, 20, 40, 46, 137 Patticularism. See Essentialist partic- Scientific universalism, 8, 42, 43, 82, 85, 142, 147. See also Count-
Negro-African, 11, 43,4445, 46, ularism; Particularistic antiquari- 52. See also Univenalism er-violence
47, 50,51, 52 anism Self-emanapation, 92, 94, 100,
Negro-ness and negrocentrism, 20, Patticularisnc antiquarianism, 5 115, 120- Walda Heywat, 18
47 Philoso~hical
-- hermeneutics. 1-2. Self-negation, 107, 108 Wamba-Dia-Wamb~,Ernest, 16-
Neocolonialism: African anti-colo- 16. i e e also African philsophical Self-standing freedom. 139 17,21, 130, 135
nial srruggle and, 27-28; African hermeneutics; Hermeneutics Sembene, ~smanc,53, 84,150 West, Cornel, 11, 127-28
philosophical hermeneutics and, Plato, 1, 13, 16, 32, 123, 140 Senghor, Leopold Sedar, 6,20,22, Westernization, 106, 107, 108-109,
16, 17, 19, 26; Afcican political Polemos, 75 40-43, 83,91,137,140,141 144
tradition and struggle against, Politics. See Anti-colonialism; Post- Single-party state, 97, 150 Westcrnized African(s1, 11, 83, 84-
37-38; and cultural experience of colonialism, Single-party srate; Ur- Situatedness, 120, 129, 135 85,92,101, 144
contemporary Africans, 6; Euro- han political parties Socialism. See Marxism-Leninism, Westcrn metaphysics, 11, 123
pean hegemony in present-day Af- Postcolonialism, 2, $7, 8, 13-30, "Scicntific socialism" Windu, Kwasi, 5, 19, 56, 124, 135
rica, 20-22; Fanon on violence 120. See Neocolonialism Superpowen, 15, 129. See ako Worldviews, 4, 126
and, 67-82; fusion and African "Practice of freedom," 88, 90, 95, United Nations
liberation, 96; in international pol- 98,109-10, 113 Xala, 53
itics, 15, 27-28; phenomenality "Prior question," 32, 40 Taylor, Patrick, 67, 75, 76, 146,
of Arican existence and, 11; Professional philosophy, 5, 6 7 , 53, 148 Zar'a Ya'aqob, 18
"practice of freedom* and Afri- 85, 124, 126
can independence, 89; reclama- Proletariat. See European proletariat
tion of history and, 101, 105;
self-conception of African libera- "Re-Africanisation," 29, 102
tion as, 8; single-party statc and, Rcclaiming history, 90, 91-102,
97; violence and wunter-violence 102-13. Ser also Historicity;
in past and present Africa, 82- History