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Volume 35, Issue 4, 2016
Guest editor's introduction : the task of Africanising the philosophy curriculum in universities in AfricaSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 377 –382 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1256662More Less
It is an honour and indeed a privilege to be the guest editor of this special issue of the South African Journal of Philosophy. I consider this introduction to the issue to be motivated by one principal reason: the need to contextualise the articles that appear in this issue. I believe that such contextualisation will, among other things, highlight the difficult task or problematic that we, whether as academics, students, researchers, policymakers, administrators, educationists, and other stakeholders, encounter as soon as we begin to talk about Africanising the philosophy curriculum in universities in Africa. While some of the articles provide some recommendations about how to go about the Africanisation project, and what to include in an Africanised philosophy curriculum, other articles ask questions with regard to whether such obligations exist, and, if they do, who has them and how extensive they are. And still others point us to either some challenges in respect of the Africanisation project or worry about whether some of the traditional approaches and proposals to Africanisation that are generally bandied around are not wrongheaded, namely whether these approaches and proposals are not pointing or leading us the wrong way, or whether we are not mistaken in the way that we are going about this business of Africanisation.
Author David B. MartensSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 383 –400 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1238258More Less
I suggest an analytical framework for considering the obligations of African philosophers concerning the practice and pedagogy of their discipline. The suggested approach can facilitate clarity about various distinctions whose conflation can impede understanding of disagreements about such obligations, including distinctions between normative issues and empirical issues, and various distinctions among normative issues, including values versus obligations, collective obligations versus personal obligations, more imperfect obligations versus less imperfect obligations, and so on. I illustrate the approach by describing and critically assessing four perspectives on the collective obligations of African philosophers as such with respect to African philosophy and its curricula: utopian, dystopian, apolitical, and pluralistic. Without endorsing any of the four normative perspectives outright, I argue that the pluralistic perspective responds comprehensively to various considerations that are problematic for the other perspectives. I tentatively commend the analytical framework employed here as possibly being of use more broadly.
Author Barry HallenSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 401 –403 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1238259More Less
Students of African philosophy had best beware of two approaches to the subject that have been dismissed as flawed by most philosophers in and of Africa. One has been labelled "ethnophilosophy" because it does nothing more than report passively held beliefs in African cultures, sometimes identified as "traditions", that are in its most extreme form said to be shared by all the peoples and cultures of Africa. A second flawed approach to African philosophy that has been promoted by the social sciences argues that rationality in the indigenous African context is best exemplified by patently objectively false fables and stories created by their peoples so that they can feel they can understand and influence the forces controlling events that take place in their worlds. Neither of these initiatives provides form or content that is suitable for academic philosophy, and they have been used to characterise the quality of reasoning in Africa's indigenous cultures as second-rate or insignificant.
Source: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 404 –417 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1242208More Less
The position that I defend and argue for in this paper is that we ought to or are obligated to Africanise the philosophy curriculum in universities in Africa. This obligation is grounded on the overarching consideration not to wrong Africans by committing testimonial and hermeneutical injustices against them, and where committing these forms of epistemic injustice prevents us from enhancing the autonomy of Africans and maximising or promoting utility. I take the issues that I discuss and the argument that I provide for this position to be important, particularly in our times. This is so in the context of present and broader debates and discussions, not just in respect of decolonisation in education, and the Africanisation of institutional cultures and practices in schools or tertiary institutions, but also regarding curriculum transformation and development, in general, and diversification of the philosophy curriculum, in particular.
Author Munamato ChemhuruSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 418 –428 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1242209More Less
The question about the existence or non-existence of African philosophy has almost died a natural death in the past few years. It is now a question of African and non-African thinkers putting their attention on actually doing African philosophy instead of "flogging the dead horse" by continuing to grapple with the question about whether African philosophy exists or not. However, in that quest for doing African philosophy, only recently has there been some growing consensus on the thinking that the content and curriculum of philosophy in Africa ought to be transformed and Africanised. In this article, I critically interrogate the question of what Africanising philosophy ought to reasonably entail. Much of the discussion on Africanisation eventually leads towards somewhat anthropological and ethno-philosophical interpretations of African cultural heritage. However, I transcend these interpretations as I seek to critically situate African philosophical thinking within universal philosophical discourse. Although I admit the danger of romanticising African indigenous value systems in the pursuit of the agenda of Africanisation of the philosophy curriculum, I seek to argue that the idea of Africanising philosophy ought to be understood as being compatible with, and consistent with, the requirement of philosophy as a critical discourse. Also, I argue that an Africanised philosophy curriculum must be relevant to the African condition. Overall, I propose some possibilities and ways by which the agenda of Africanising the current philosophy curriculum in Africa could be pursued.
Africanising the philosophy curriculum through teaching African culture modules : an African Renaissance actAuthor Simphiwe SesantiSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 429 –443 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1242207More Less
Often, when the concept "African culture" arises in philosophical discourses among Africans, debates tend to be characterised by a dichotomous line between those who insist on the existence of "one African culture" and those rejecting the existence of such, insisting rather on the plurality and heterogeneity of "African cultures". In this debate the interlocutors tend to speak past one another, thus missing the opportunity to appreciate the richness that could benefit both sides of the divide. Taking cognisance of the fact that central to the African Renaissance project is the revival of African culture, this article argues that pivotal to the teaching of African philosophy should be the teaching of modules on what constitutes African culture/s. This exercise, it is argued, will reveal that traditional African culture encouraged the practice of freedom of expression, giving space to divergent views as a healthy exercise for progress in traditional African societies. Teaching African culture will reveal that being "African" is not merely a geographical entity, but also about values that connect Africans across ethnicities, thus giving them a firm basis for speaking about what is "African" beyond what is "ethnic". This, by extension, would be an enabling factor to argue about what is "African" about philosophy.
Author Ernst WolffSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 444 –459 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1242200More Less
This article explores current issues in South African philosophy curriculum design. Four questions are considered, each followed by a supplementary note. Firstly, the place of philosophy from other traditions, particularly Western philosophies, in South African curricula is considered (rather than the place of African philosophy in curricula). The related note reflects on whether different philosophical traditions in curricula should be treated separately or integrated. Secondly, ambiguity in some important authors' reception of plural traditions is identified and investigated to see what we can derive from their example for our philosophical practice. The related note looks at "decolonisation of the curriculum". Thirdly, I affirm the importance of relevance as a criterion for curriculum development, interrogating the meaning of this criterion for philosophy. The related note focuses on interpreting student feedback.Fourthly, the continued presence of "white" lecturers in South African philosophy departments is discussed against the background of the tension between the Mandela and Biko paradigms in contemporary society. The related note considers ideological resonances of our response to this issue in other parts of the world. Finally, the article's ideas are presented as an attempt to map argumentative options, clarify some of their merits and implications, and acknowledge their limits.
Author John MweshiSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 460 –470 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1242201More Less
Against a background of the predominance of Western philosophy in Africa, and the marginalisation of African philosophy (real or perceived), it is, or at least it should be,evident that the quest to Africanise the philosophy curricula in universities in Africa is a welcome initiative. Even so, this paper argues that there are some serious challenges that will need to be addressed if this initiative is to be accomplished successfully. The challenges at issue include the tension between Western philosophy and African philosophy, and relatedly, some key controversies within African philosophy. Looking at philosophy as arising from and pointing to the nature of human beings as rational creatures, this paper argues for a review of the predominant conception of philosophy in order to establish an understanding of philosophy that will make the Africanisation initiative much more viable. In so doing, it will be possible to address the tension between Western philosophy and African philosophy, not to mention some controversies within African philosophy as well. In order to avoid some of the problems that may be associated with Afrocentric positions in dealing with Africanisation, I suggest that the focus should be on making philosophy relevant to Africa and not to make Africa relevant to philosophy. I have also taken note of the challenge of how to balance the practical and pure intellectual aspects of philosophy. In considering the prospects, the paper will also outline some of the key benefits that can arise from Africanising the philosophy curricula in universities in Africa.
Author Pedro TabenskySource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 471 –489 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1242202More Less
Leopold Senghor's Negritude is a failed attempt to resurrect African pride from the ashes of humiliation. It fails because it simply provides a façade of pride that covers up the humiliation. It offers consolation rather than genuine cure. Franz Fanon shows us why this is so, and so does Wole Soyinka. I make use of their critiques, particularly Fanon's, to show the extent to which some prominent streaks in the current South African Africanisation movement manifested in intellectual production, primarily thinking about curricular reform, and protest action aimed at bringing about tertiary sector reform also work to numb pain rather than offer a cure. Under the consoling veneer of proud righteousness lays something very much like what Friedrich Nietzsche terms ressentiment, a condition in which the downtrodden are both fascinated and repulsed by those who they perceive to be their subjugators. I offer an alternative version of Africanisation, which is forward-looking and aimsto move beyond mere consolation, beyond ressentiment. This piece is not so much an exploration of the specific content that an Africanising movement should have. Instead, it offers a picture of what needs to be overcome, psychologically speaking, for properly conceived tertiary sector reform genuinely to succeed in South Africa. It is aimed at starting a conversation that needs to be had rather than offering the last word.
Author Thaddeus MetzSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 490 –500 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1244403More Less
In this article, I offer concrete suggestions about which topics, texts, positions, arguments and authors from the African philosophical tradition one could usefully put into conversation with ones from the Western, especially the Anglo-American.In particular, I focus on materials that would make for revealing and productive contrasts between the two traditions. My aim is not to argue that one should teach by creating critical dialogue between African and Western philosophies, but rather is to provide strategic advice, supposing that is a sensible goal to adopt.
Author M. John LamolaSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 501 –512 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1244405More Less
Going beyond the contention that a radical methodological overhaul of doing and presenting philosophy in postcolonial Africa is required, we turn attention to the methodological complications and a possible ethical imperative this, in the South African national geo-cultural context, entails. Our argument is that before we demand a transformed Afrocentric education in line with the imperative for contextualisation, we need to address the implications of the existential reality of the heterogeneous nature of the South African cultural milieu and the consequent hermeneutic universe(s) this generates. The interrelated questions we are probing are: Given the culture-dependent nature of philosophy, and the extent of the clash of racially formed worldviews that make up South African society, post-contextualisation, is a decolonial South African national philosophical tradition or curriculum feasible? If feasible, what would be the most authentic form and expressions of such a philosophical tradition? If not, is our proposition of an ethical imperative for a pedagogic solidarity with the excluded epistemic communities and marginalised social classes a position our multiracial and multi-class academy are ready for?
Can the philosophy curriculum be Africanised? An examination of the prospects and challenges of some models of AfricanisationAuthor Jonathan O. ChimakonamSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 513 –522 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1245553More Less
By the year 2010 I had begun to seriously question the type of philosophy we learn and teach in universities in sub-Saharan Africa. I also questioned the technique of curriculum deployment. But besides the technique of curriculum deployment which can be blamed on the teachers, one ready suspicion for the poverty of the philosophy education in Africa is the dominance of a Western curriculum. On the basis of this, I identified some new models for Africanising the philosophy curriculum. They are: the B-model, the C-model and the D-model. Of the three, I recommended the C-model to the University of Calabar and am still awaiting approval. However, I realise now that it never occurred to me to double-check on the prospects and challenges of my proposed C-model and the other two models. This is the focus of this paper. First, I want to explain what it might mean to Africanise the philosophy curriculum. Second, I want to describe, however briefly, the structure of the three models. And third, I want to properly examine the prospects and challenges that might confront them in practice, and leave the judgement as to which is better to the reader. My method will consist in critical analysis.
Author Lucy AllaisSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 537 –545 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1247247More Less
This paper argues that one part of the picture of thinking about decolonising the philosophy curriculum should include problematising the notion of Western philosophy. I argue that there are many problems with the idea of Western philosophy, and with the idea that decolonising the curriculum should involve rejecting so-called Western philosophy. Doing this could include granting the West a false narrative about its origins, influences and interactions, perpetuating exclusions within contemporary and recent North American and European philosophy, perpetuating exclusions and failed acknowledgements within the history of so-called Western philosophy, while at the same time rejecting a tradition which has included in itself so many topics and methodologies that what is left after excluding it would leave other traditions with limited resources, at the same time as wrongly granting the West proprietary rights over any ideas it has happened to investigate, rather than seeing these as belonging to all of humanity. I therefore conclude that a central part of curriculum change should be problematising Western philosophy, including our learning more about,and teaching, more complex views of its history and interactions with other traditions.
Teacher and student with a critical pan-epistemic orientation : an ethical necessity for Africanising the educational curriculum in AfricaAuthor M.B. RamoseSource: South African Journal of Philosophy = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte 35, pp 546 –555 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02580136.2016.1247248More Less
Modu wa taba
Lenaneo la thuto le tlhoka gore re tsebe ka nako tsotlhe gore le lebane motho wamohuta mang. Bjaleka ge motho e le motho ka batho go tlhokagala gore bathokamoka re kopane go resisana mabapi le motho yo a lebaneng ke lenaneo la thutho.Bokgoba bo sa tswela pele Afrika Borwa kgorong ya thuto le matlhakoreng a manga bophelo. Ke tshwanelo go lwantsha bokgoba bjo go fitlhela bo fengwa. Phenyo gae reye gore re feditse. E tlhatholla gore re dule re letile re tlhatlhoba ka nako tsotlhegore thereso le toka di tswela pele. Go dira bjale ke go tlhoma thuto go ya ka setso.
The construction of the education curriculum demands a specific vision of the kind of human being education is designed to deliver to society. This is always an ethical issue because the human right to freedom ought to be recognised, respected and promoted whenever there is the intention to have human beings participate in a specific educational programme. This ethical necessity is even more poignant in Africa since colonisation, because the coloniser disregarded the African peoples' right to education and imposed an epistemological paradigm which continues to dominate the educational curriculum in Africa. The thesis defended in this essay is that the history of Africa since colonisation and her role in international relations demand, in the name of Africanisation, liberation from the bondage of an imposed epistemological paradigm. It demands the vision of a critical pan-epistemic education. As the bearers of a critical pan-epistemic education, teacher and student ought to be engaged in the mission to change the educational curriculum orientation towards justice and peace in global human relations. Special attention will be devoted to the philosophy curriculum.