n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Reconceiving African jurisprudence in a post-imperial society : the role of in constitutional adjudication

Volume 48, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



As pace-setters, Western anthropologists conceptualised and defined philosophy in the image of the dominant Euro-American thought systems, which they considered benchmarks for measuring the propriety of all philosophical thought. Consequently, late comers to mainstream philosophical reasoning such as African philosophy had already been excluded as 'other' thought systems, when they entered the scene, as an indication of their 'unphilosophical' nature. These 'other' philosophies were so regarded because Euro-American philosophy had already taken centrestage as the norm when the former systems started being considered as thought systems in their own right.

It took centuries of relentless struggles for the 'other' philosophies to deconstruct the huge edifice of accumulated axioms about their alleged unphilosophical nature, based on the absence of the essential elements of Euro-American philosophy, which had become philosophy. Hence new philosophies such as the African jurisprudence's concept of get contested before they get off the ground by legal scholars and constitutional interpreters trained in Western philosophy. Whilst some contestants resent what they regard as the excavation of obsolete values that are no longer of service to humanity, others hail the contribution of these novel ways and are excited to learn about new knowledge systems.

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