African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities

By Segun Gbadegesin | Go to book overview

7
CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN REALITIES:
THE CULTURAL VIEW

The second approach to the question of ultimate reality is the cultural approach. On this view, the explanation for contemporary African reality can be traced to the fact that majority of Africans have either forgotten or ignored their cultural roots and have assimilated foreign cultures and foreign ideas. These ideas have done an incalculable damage to the social and economic reality of Africa and is responsible for the experience of the moment. There is, on this view, an authentic African personality which is the pillar of African survival in a multi-racial world. When this personality is not developed, or pride is not taken in it, everything goes into shambles. This is when greed and selfish pursuit of wealth and power take over the lives of people. Authentic Africans are their brothers' and sisters' keepers. But with cultural degeneration, he becomes his brother's killer. This accounts for the phenomenon of armed robbery, suicide and murder. An example of the lesson of cultural dependency that is usually cited is the political system. It is claimed that many African nations had highly developed political systems before the era of colonialism. But after independence, instead of reviving these structures in the light of modern times, we now engage in a trial and error method of political system. This is what is partly responsible for our contemporary realities. Indeed on this view, contrary to Mbiti's assumption, God has a cultural root and the God of Africa is quite different from that of other people. So even if you take the Christian God as the ultimately real, you may still fail to grasp the true nature of African realities. Varieties of negritude theories express this view. But so do a number of non-negritude and even anti-negritude approaches. 1 Thus,

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