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Ubuntu: Revisiting an Endangered African Philosophy in Quest of a Pan-Africanist Revolutionary Ideology

Department of History and International Studies, Osun State University, Osogbo 4494, Nigeria
Genealogy 2019, 3(3), 45;
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 21 July 2019 / Accepted: 29 July 2019 / Published: 3 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Black Movements)
In the final analysis, Kwame Nkrumah advanced that pan-Africanism must be about the unity of African masses under socialist governments. However, the concept of pan-Africanism in recent times has been misconstrued in the most treacherous manner. On one hand, the concept has been reduced to a “dansiki-wearing” competition by a layer of cultural nationalists; and on the other hand, it has been reduced to a “Black capitalism” bourgeois agenda. In spite of the apparent failures of capitalism, bourgeois economists like Nigeria’s Tony Elumelu, have been peddling a purported refined capitalist system under the ambiance of “Africapitalism”, as a stimulant for economic growth and development in Africa. Under the pretense of a “pan-African” agenda, bourgeois economists have been touting this neoliberal agenda across the continent and beyond, for self-serving purposes. The danger this portends is the detachment of pan-Africanism from its socialist agenda. Indeed, existing works on African personality have showed the nexus between a pre-colonial communal relationship and socialism. The Sotho epistemology, Ubuntu, is undoubtedly a product of this ancient communal relationship. Ubuntu expresses the humanistic tendencies that are fast going into extinction in today’s individualistic society. Ultimately, the withering of Ubuntu is not unconnected to the dominance of capitalism. The economic system through alienation has not just distorted the relationship among humans, but also between humans and nature. This study thus argues that Ubuntu as a value system is a material product of pre-feudal African society; and that because of this trajectory, Ubuntu must be reassessed as a potential social force for resistance that can pave the way for the emergence of a scientific socialist African society. Ubuntu is not scientific socialism and vice-versa, but the value system if properly understood can lay the foundation towards the birth of the former. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ubuntu; capitalism; pan-Africanism; scientific socialism and Marxism Ubuntu; capitalism; pan-Africanism; scientific socialism and Marxism
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Fagunwa, T. Ubuntu: Revisiting an Endangered African Philosophy in Quest of a Pan-Africanist Revolutionary Ideology. Genealogy 2019, 3, 45.

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