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All evidence points to humanity’s common origin and one destiny. Instead of history being a theater of class struggle, it is a history of globalization and a quest for unity. Africa, the cradle of humanity, must take the lead in promoting unity, not fragmentation. That unity cannot be based only on transient systems like economics and politics, but has to include deeper values and norms rooted in ontology, anthropology and belief systems.



Africa remains a conceptual enigma and an epistemological black hole.  What does one mean when one says that “Africa is rising”? What does “African Union” mean? What does “Africa south of the Sahara” imply? From an economic development perspective there is also an African Development Bank (ADB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). If there was no such a thing as “Africa”, why use fancy acronyms such as AU, ADB and UNECA? And since the main purpose of this piece is to try to construct an African philosophy of history as a basis for African unity, it is important to raise the question of why Africa was dubbed a “dark continent” despite abundant archeological evidence of ancient civilizations, ancient written scripts, architecture, artistic works, and abstract ideas of God, humanity, and the world.


These questions that may, on the surface, seem abstract and largely philosophical, are in fact at the heart of the challenges facing Africa’s endless quest for regional integration and eventual political unity. There is no African unity without a unified African philosophy of history grounded in ontology, anthropology, archeology and political economy. There is no sustainable African development and peace without a united Africa. Vision 2063 must be grounded in a genuine and coherent African philosophy of history taking into consideration African realities right from the earliest known African civilization.

Why dig deep into the sands of African history instead of focusing on the current issues of the 21st Century of heightened globalization and information communication technology (ICT)? Some of the reasons are contained in the previous paragraph that makes some propositions and assertions. But more importantly, Africa’s history and civilization is highly contested as the discussion will shortly demonstrate. Right from the colonial era, there was a systematic attempt by some Western scholars to deny any coherent system of thought and ideas in Africa, as a basis for their colonial project of the civilizing mission. Even long after colonialism was formally ended, there are still some  residues of thought that betray a “civilizing mission” in different guises. For instance one obvious illustration is the retaining of colonial boundaries to define what African states are. Even at crucial economic policy levels Africa has been subjected to policy prescriptions designed from outside such as the famous IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP) that dominated the 1980s and 1990s. It is only in 2016 that Africa is starting to seriously think of structurally transforming African economies and to design an industrial policy framework that will help achieve Vision 2063.[1]

The philosophical framework for this discussion is clearly that of regional integration and pan-Africanism. Given the small domestic markets among African countries, due to low per capita income, it has been suggested the solution lies in regional integration: “Regional integration is consequently a logical option, especially as Africa has an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the demographic dividend of a growing young labour force.”[2] A young labour force is of course not a panacea; that young labour force must have the necessary skills and knowledge especially since we now live in a knowledge-based economy. It is gratifying to note that the macroeconomic policy and structural transformation of African economies has taken into consideration an economic philosophical framework known as capability “approach” that Amartya Sen designed. Sen identified individual freedoms that encompass five dimensions: political freedom, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency gurantees and protective security. [3] With this encompassing approach to development, the debate on what comes first- democracy or development—ends. 

Why engage in laying a philosophical foundation for regional integration and Pan-Africanism? Africa has been searching for integration since 1963 when the OAU was born, but still, full-fledged African unity is remains a dream to come true. While the current efforts through sub-regional groups such as COMESA, EAC, IGAD, SADC and ECOWAS should be celebrated, they have not gone far enough and some of them are inconsistent and need harmonization. There is a founded suspicion that the African continent is still disjointed and fragmented along former colonial or even racial frameworks such as Franc0-phone Africa, Anglo-phone Africa, and the Arab Maghreb.  It is this fragmentation that an African philosophy of history tries to address.

The African philosophy of history will be situated in African ontology, anthropology, archeology, and proverbial sage philosophy, and by so doing establish the philosophical and cultural unity of Africa. But this African philosophy o of history will be situated in a wider philosophical framework of globalization. A brief political economy of regional integration will be presented since regional integration is considered a step towards globalization, to void hegemonic globalization. The current ICT innovations and social media in the context of globalization will be presented as enormous opportunities for intensifying African integration, demonstrating that ICT is bringing humanity back to its cradle—Africa.

Why an African philosophy of history as a point of departure?

There are some rather discomforting assertions made about Africa way back by respectable Western philosophers. Since these assertions were made around the time of the scramble for Africa and the broader colonial project whose long term impacts are still felt across Africa, one can only suspect that they were part of the philosophical framework that paved the way for colonialism and imperial conquest of Africa. What were these assertions? The first assertion was made by David Hume (1711-1776), a British empiricist philosopher who stated that “…the negroes and in general all other species of men…[are] naturally inferior to whites [and] never was a civilized nation of any complexion than white”[4] The second is Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) who devised an essentialist view of race that, “[So] fundamental is the difference between the races of men, and it appears to be as great in regard to mental capacities as in color.”[5] And finally Hegel was even more blunt in asserting that “[Africa] is no historical part of the world; it is has no movement or development to exhibit [and] historical movements in it—that is in its northern part—belong to the Asiatic or European World.”[6] The assertion of Hegel is very important for us since he is clearly removing parts of North Africa such as Egypt from the African continent.

The assertions above have opened up a protracted discourse on whether there is such a thing as African philosophy. Since the publication of Placide Tempels famous book Bantu Philosophy, many scholars (African and non-African) have engaged in proving whether there is or there is no African philosophy. The result of this heated debate is numerous scholarly books on African philosophy that are now used in many universities all over the world, but there are still many skeptics. The debate still rotates on method and content of African philosophy: can there be unwritten philosophy? Can folk-tales, proverbs, myths and art be considered philosophy? Richard H. Bell who is a Western philosopher argues that artistic creations are philosophy: “An iconic tradition is more than a collection of artifacts, stories, symbols and formalized ritual; it is a primary and reflective mode of human expression and as such, is philosophical in nature…”[7]

Despite centuries of foreign influence and forces of modernization, African traditions and cultures have remained resilient. That is why most scholars of African philosophy argue that African traditions and cultures are the foundation for African philosophy. On this issue William Midzi makes this point quite strongly: “African traditions and cultures are the primordial elements for African philosophy. The philosophical discourse in Africa builds upon a critical evaluation of the living traditions and cultures…Since the African traditions and cultures embody the concrete elements of African thought patterns, they cannot be relegated from the African philosophical discourse.”[8] This approach to African philosophy that takes culture and tradition very seriously has given rise to two schools of African philosophy known as sage and ethno philosophy.

African philosophy of history in the context of globalization

With increasing globalization, there is no history in isolation, be it national or continental. In fact some keen observers of globalization argue that globalization is not new. Take for instance Peter Singer who traces the main stages of globalization in the main centuries from a scientific and political perspective: “The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are celebrated for the voyages of discovery that proved the world is round.  The eighteenth century saw the first proclamation of universal human rights. The twentieth century’s conquest of space made it possible for a human beings to look at our planet from a point not on it, and so to see it, literally, as one world. Now the twenty-first century faces the task of developing a suitable form of government for that single world.”[9]

These forces that steered globalization as we know it today can be discerned in previous centuries dating back to ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. For instance, Sumerian artifacts and artistic motifs, knives, were identified in Pre-dynastic Egypt, and iron smelting influenced the civilization of the ancient Near East after 1200 B.C.[10] To confirm the thesis that globalization is a process of mutual influence we can cite the example of ancient Egypt that following the end of the New Kingdom (around 1069), it was ruled by foreign powers—Libyan, Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman.[11] The enormous influence of Egyptian civilization on other people is well summed thus: “…there is no doubt that its [Egypt’s] art and architecture, its science and medicine, and its religion deeply influenced the peoples with whom they came into contact, and even conflict, over the immense duration of its independent history, peoples including Hebrews and Persians and Greeks.”[12]

All history of hitherto existing societies seems to be a history of globalization. Ancient civilizations, right from the Egyptian Pharaohs and Mesopotamia, have been in constant interaction and mutually influencing each other. Egypt influenced Mesopotamia, Egypt influenced Greece, Greece influenced Rome, and Greece and Rome influenced the rest of Europe. And with slavery and colonialism, Europe and North America influenced Africa.

For Karl Marx (1818-1883), history is driven by the growth of productive forces and he articulated this idea thus: “The handmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist.”[13] Commenting on this observation by Karl Marx in the context of contemporary globalization, Peter Singer suggests that Marx would have said the following: “The jet plane, the telephone, and the Internet give you a global society with the transnational corporation and the World Economic Forum.”[14] For the ancient period the productive forces that gave rise to history include: iron smelting, pyramids, ancient writing (Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform, art and crafts).  Just as the current globalization is driven by the media, growing interconnectedness (political, economic, cultural), increased air travel, and new forms of information and communication technology,[15] ancient globalization was driven by invention of iron tools, trade in ivory and spices, and transmission of ideas through ancient writing, drama and art.[16] After all, there is nothing new under the sun.        

But we need to add a critique to Marx’s materialistic interpretation of history. History is also driven by ethical values, metaphysical beliefs such as immortality that led the Egyptians to build pyramid for the dead Pharaohs. In short, philosophy drives history and that is why Marx developed his materialistic philosophy of history and even coined the famous phrase: “The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.”[17] Marx would argue back that even philosophy is a product of material forces: “What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.”[18] But then, history is replete with examples of radical ideas that have even overturned the status quo.  Truth lies somewhere in the middle.  A brief presentation of the main elements of Marx’s philosophy of history will be given in the next section under global philosophy of history, since his thought has had a great influence on Africa’s post-colonial thinking—certainly of Nkrumah, Senghor and Nyerere.           

African philosophy of history and global philosophy of history

A question may be posed as to why labour to link Egyptian ancient history with African philosophy of history. In spite of compelling scholarly and archeological evidence that proves that ancient Egypt is culturally and anthropologically linked to sub-Saharan Africa, there are still many scholars who dispute this link.  Faced with this challenge Cheikh Anta Diop made a bold claim thus: “Ancient Egypt was a Negro civilization. The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt.”[19] Diop then goes further to assert that the main Greek philosophical systems such as Pythagorean mathematics, the theory of the four elements (water, fire, air, and matter), Thales, Epicureanism, Plato’s theory of forms, are grounded in Egyptian cosmogony.[20] This assertion will be helpful later when we discuss key elements of African ontology as a basis for African unity. To bracket ancient Egypt out of African history is like bracketing ancient Greco-Roman world out of European history.

An African philosophy of history as part of the global philosophy of history attempts to theorize on the nature, meaning, value and destiny of human activities and events.  It answers the question of the underlying logic and assumptions of why things happen as they do.  It answers the fundamental question of why and how humanity relates with the Supreme-Being (God) and the universe (cosmos or world).  The African worldview that informs an African philosophy of history is summed up in the concepts of “…dynamism, life-force, and Muntu—mankind comprehending ‘the dead, the living, and yet unborn.”[21] This worldview was further elaborated by Placide Tempels in his book Bantu Philosophy, which has become a reference point African philosophy. A philosophical interpretation of the basis for African unity was well developed by Ugandan intellectuals studying in London in the 1960s, in the notion of Ntu-ism: “…common attitude towards life, culture, and heritage.  In choosing the name Ntu, we have taken it to represent a philosophy that runs throughout Africa…Most of the ideas which reflect the African way of life are embodied in the philosophy of Ntu…” [22] It is important to realize how this philosophy has been invoked under a new label—Ubuntu philosophy.  This is a universalist philosophy for explaining all reality as far as human reason can possibly go.  The Ugandan philosophers were also trying to challenge the dominant categorization of Africans by Europeans as Negroes, Bantu, Hamites, and Nilotes.  Unfortunately these categorizations have been entrenched in cultural anthropology and history books that it is hard to erase them.  Even long after colonialism, some political arrangements are designed along ethnic lines (ethnic federalism for instance) to demonstrate how colonial concepts are still shaping Africa’s self-consciousness.                   

It is this quest for African personality or self-consciousness that gave rise to African philosophical trends of famous pan-Africanist/nationalist leaders such as Julius Nyerere’s African socialism, Kwame Nkrumah’s consciencism, Kenneth Kaunda’s humanism, and Leopold Senghor’s negritude. John Mbiti, one of the leading African philosophers, summed up the African world-view in his famous phrase: “I am because we are; and since we are, therefore I am.”[23] Central to the identity of the Africans is the interconnectedness of members of the community, based on shared beliefs, values, rituals and expectations.  Simply put, to be is to be with and for others.  Note that there is a very careful balancing of the identity of the individual and that of the community.  History therefore becomes a process where individuals become by sharing in the life of the community, shaping it and being shaped by it.  Progress is when this interaction between individuals and community happens in a harmonious manner, and decline is when the interests and values of individuals are in conflict with those of the community.  This philosophy is also expressed in another concept of Ubuntu, stated briefly as “A person is a person only with other persons, alone one is an animal.”[24] According to Ubuntu philosophy, the progress of history is the process of affirming one’s humanity through recognizing the humanity of others, and in so doing “…establish humane relations with them.”[25] From Ubuntu philosophy are derived a whole range of ethical values that constitute a moral universe: openness and availability to others, affirming others, empathy, respect, mutual care and sharing, cooperation, communication[26], tolerance, patience, generosity, hospitality, integrity, dignity, spiritual depth, communion with the entirety of life and cosmos.  It is easy to notice how such a philosophy of life and history can be easily manipulated and exploited if it gets into contact with a worldview that is suspicious, skeptical, calculating, competitive, possessive and individualistic. Ubuntu philosophy presupposes a basic goodness of human beings, and is essentially an optimistic view of human nature.        

Contrast this world view with that of the leading Western rationalists René Descartes (1596-1650) who summed his philosophy thus: “cogito ergo sum, or I think therefore I am.”[27] For him to be is to think.  An individualistic world view is not difficult to discern here.  Another leading Western philosopher who has had a tremendous influence on political theory and the realist school of international relations is Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). He considers human beings as being in a state of readiness for war “…as if of every man, against every man” and describes that state of nature before any government as a state of “…continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”[28] It is this sate of perpetual war that necessitates the formation of a government with absolute power, according to Hobbes.

Another master of suspicion is Karl Marx who we alluded to earlier. He sees the world and history as a theater of class struggle, where the oppressor and oppressed are in mortal confrontation. He is also critical of philosophers and calls for societal transformation: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways, the point however is to change it.” For Marx to be is to change history by working for a classless society where all the means of production are in the hands of the workers.  The world is still waiting for this classless society.  His main ideas can be summed into five: 1. The primacy of economics or the material base; 2. History is changed through class struggle; 3. The logic of capitalism is to make profit by exploiting the workers; 4. History progresses through a dialectical process that is also deterministic; 5. Capitalism has seeds of its own destruction and it will eventually give way to communism.  Marx based his philosophy of history on Hegel who saw history as moving in dialectal moments of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.  Essentially both agree that history has a goal determined by forces beyond human control, although human beings can act as catalysts in the movement of history. 

Immanuel Kant also has a grand theory of history that he sums thus: “So this is the outcome of a philosophical attempt at setting out man’s primordial history: Contentment with providence and with the course of human things as a whole, which do not progress from good to bad, but gradually develop from worse to better; and in this progress nature herself has given everyone a part to play that is both his own and well within his powers”[29] Of special interest to us is Kant’s Idea of a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent that he developed in 1784.  This is the first attempt by a philosopher to systematically conceptualize a world government over and beyond international relations.  This view is stated in eight theses and specifically the eighth thesis: “One can regard the history of the human species, in the large, as the realization of a hidden plan of nature to bring about an internally, and for this purpose, also an externally perfect national constitution, as the sole state in which all humanity’s natural capacities can be developed.”[30] Among those capacities to be developed are: freedom and  trade among nations. Then he proceeds to imagine a possible world body politic that nations are indirectly preparing for: “…and thus they indirectly prepare the way for the great body politic [Staatskörper] of the future, a body politic for which antiquity provides no example.  Although this body politic presently exists only in very rough outline, a feeling seems nonetheless to be already stirring among all its members who have an interest in the preservation of the whole, and this gives rise to the hope that, finally, after many revolutions of reform, nature’s supreme objective—a universal cosmopolitan state, the womb in which all of the human species’ original capacities will be developed—will at last come to be realized.”[31] One fails to realize Kant’s overly optimistic view of world history and human nature. He also clearly thinks that nature is working towards a cosmopolitanism or universal history of the world.  This is the philosophical point that pan-Africanism needs to build on to further the agenda of African unity, as a part of the large scheme of a united humanity.

A comment on civilization. If history has some logic and rationality to it, it is because human beings who make history are guided by some logic and rationality despite the varying degrees of these faculties.  If there was any human community that lacked logic and rationality, they would be living in anarchy and chaos without any direction.  Throughout humanity history, there has never been such an anarchical or chaotic society even though Thomas Hobbes we mentioned earlier suggested a thought experiment to that effect.  In fact other political thinkers such as Rousseau and Locke presented a more optimistic view of human beings in a state of nature.  Kant also argues that nature and providence have made people in such a way that they desire to live an orderly and progressive life towards greater perfection. This is what civilization is all about.  Still there is a question of where civilization is leading to.  Arnold Toynbee, a leading theorist of history, observed that civilizations have “…a recurring pattern in the process of their breakdowns, declines, and falls.”[32] Toynbee was writing following the Second World War and was expressing fear about the future of Western civilization amidst the cold war.  On whether the West will follow the previous civilization and become dead or moribund, he argued that history does not have to repeat itself since human beings have freedom: “it is open to us, through our own efforts, to give history, in our case, some new and unprecedented turn.”33] One can make a counter argument that even the past civilization had people who had freedom but used it in such a way that led to the demise of their civilization. So probably human beings have a pattern of repeating mistakes of past eras.

Toynbee makes some excellent suggestions on what needs to be done if the West is to be saved from the pattern that has befallen past civilizations. He suggests three strategies along political, economic and religious dimensions: “In politics, establish a constitutional co-operative system of world government. In economics, find working compromises (varying according to the practical requirements of different places and times) between free enterprise and socialism.  In the life of the spirit, put the secular super-structure back onto religious foundations.”[34] He concurs with Kant’s cosmopolitan project. This is the same line of thinking that has inspired the creation of the African Union and the United Nations systems with some modification.  Toynbee adds religion is crucial to the preservation of civilization. Marx who dubbed religion as “opium of the masses” would of course be opposed to allocating religion a role in global public life.  It is also instructive to note that Toynbee, and I think he is right, suggests that civilization is above all a spiritual process (not religious) of becoming better: “In each of these civilizations, mankind, I think, is trying to rise above mere humanity—above primitive humanity, that is—towards some higher kind of spiritual life.”[35] This view is close to the understanding of evolution but with a spiritual dimension that Teilhard De Chardin added—complexity consciousness.  So civilization is not just the accumulation of better and more sophisticated material or technological innovations. 

The tragic part of this story of civilization is that no human society has even attained this higher kind of spiritual life, except some few individuals, whom we refer to as saints and sages or philosophers.[36] And Toynbee concludes on rather sanguine and sobering note: “No known civilization has ever reached the goal of civilization yet. There has never been a communion of saints on earth.”[37] All we know throughout history are rare men and women such as Gautama Budha, Confucius, Martin Luther King Jr, Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta (to be canonized on 4th September 2016), Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Socrates, etc. who excelled in wisdom and virtue and lived for a cause for posterity to celebrate.  We can add numerous other unknown African sages who left proverbs, riddles, myths and folk tales.  What they have in common is a global vision of reality that transcends their immediate social, economic and cultural context.  We can call them global citizens.  It is such individuals, known and unknown, who are the living embodiment of a global philosophy of history.                                    

Archeological and anthropological foundations: From caves and pyramids to computers

Thanks to the massive data of archeological findings and ethnographic studies, basic facts about the origins and movements of human beings are now well known with little dispute.  In his section I try to demonstrate with empirical evidence recorded so far that there is a fundamental anthropological and cultural unity of Africa, and hence the call for a united Africa is not an attempt to force people who do not belong together.  Along the way, some fallacies and ideologies that have distorted a unified view of the African continent will be critiqued, from social scientific, philosophical, political and theological perspectives. The first crucial fact to note is that the evolution of the human beings is traced to sub-Saharan Africa, and homo sapiens (40,000 years ago) migrated north and northeast.[38] The Paleolithic Age is estimated to have ended around 10,000 B.C.  But one wonders what was happening from 40,000 to 10,000 B. C.  And why do historians keep calling this period pre-history? The rock paintings of this period are found in parts of the world and show remarkable similarities, and if they served ritual [39] and symbolic purposes, then they constitute a civilization and embody a philosophical outlook in their own right.  I particularly like how Basil Davidson places Africa at the center of world history: “Nothing large or important in the story of mankind can be fully understood without the African side of the story…Essentially the world is one.  All its peoples belong together.”[40] Even as we search for a philosophical basis for African unity, we have to remember that Africa is part of the larger reality called the ‘world’ or humanity.      

H. G. Wells writing in 1922 in his small book A Short History of the World attempts to sketch a history of the world from the earliest humans known.  By then (recent archeological findings have proved otherwise), Wells traced the earliest signs traces of humanity in Western Europe (France and Spain).[41] Archeological evidence of bones, weapons, rock paintings, and curved fragments of bones, shows that about 30,000 years ago humans were inhabiting Western Europe. Wells was cautious to point out that this knowledge was tentative since other parts of the world such as Asia and Africa were not yet explored by archeologists.  The culture of the humans who lived over 40,000 years ago is described thus by Wells: “…they pierced shells to make necklaces, painted themselves, carved images of bone and stone, scratched figures on rocks and bones, and painted rude but often very able sketches of beasts and the like upon the smooth walls of caves and upon inviting rock surfaces.”[42] These humans are geographically located East, North Africa and the equatorial South.  What was the political economy of these earliest humans? The lived on hunting using rudimentary tools (spears, stones), not erected houses, used clay but not pottery yet, no cultivation—and so they fed on roots, fruits, fish and game meat.  The humans of this age are called palaeolithic or Old Stone Age.  This was followed by the Neolithic age or New Stone Age when humans learnt to polish and grind stone tools.[43] Of great interest to us is the thought process of these earliest humans.  What did they think about or believe in? Since there is no written record apart from rock paintings and tools, we can only speculate.  After all, a larger part of philosophy is speculation through logical inferences. Speculation is a perfectly legitimate intellectual exercise in all academic disciplines.

Wells, in a rather derogatory manner, compares the thinking of the earliest humans to that of a child: “Primitive man probably thought very much as a child thinks, that is to say, in a series of imaginative pictures.  He conjured up images or images presented themselves to his mind, and he acted in accordance with the emotions they aroused.  So a child or an uneducated person does to-day.”[44] He dismisses the possibility of systematic thinking of these people until the last 3000 years.  So how did these people organize their social life? Wells suggests rightly that they used taboos, fear of parental authority, respect for the mother, solidarity with one’s age group, respect for supernatural powers (gods) and dead ancestors, use of fetishes, charms, incantations and omens to determines causes.[45]

There are serious issues with this speculation by Wells.  First, there is an assumption that all these earliest humans had the same intellectual faculties and aptitude.  Never in human history have any group of people been endowed with the same intellectual abilities and interests.  Within the same society or community some are engaged in practical things like carpentry, weaving, iron-works, cultivating, while others are known for speculative thinking like telling stories, proverbs, resolving community disputes as judges using customs and norms.  Even the very existence of rock paintings, body painting, rituals, use of fetishes and charms, and clay figures suggests that in addition to hunting, and making tools, some were engaged in thinking about the deeper meaning of life and put this in art form or ritualized performance.  This is how these people managed to survive life’s challenges they faced: illness, death, idea of good and evil, conflict in community and keeping order.  Second, this mode of thinking is still alive and well in most parts of the world and forms the worldview or philosophy of a people.  The family is still the basic unit of society and members are governed by basic values of respect for parents and elders.  Whether Christian or non-Christian, billions of believers still hold onto the power of incantations, prayers and sacrifices to bring about desired changes. And people still wear protective charms.  Behind these beliefs there is systematic thinking that has gone on for millennia and is often captured in form of proverbs, myths or folk-tales that are now considered as part of ethno-philosophy.  This philosophy from the “caves” is still practiced and lived in most parts of Africa.  For sure, Bantu and Ubuntu philosophy we referred to earlier contain these elements.   The use of fetishes and charms, use of incantations, and use of animal figures in art, is part of the philosophy of vitalogy, which holds that all created things and words  possess vital force, which is another concept for being.[46]

Third, in African ways of thinking and knowing, abstract reasoning is not separated from emotions and imagination.  That is why music, dance, ritual, drama, and story-telling are incorporated in the pedagogy of the young during initiation ceremonies.  Quite interestingly, Nkafu Nkemnkia uses the concept of vital force to suggest where we should look for African philosophy: “As a result, every aspect of thought or imagination is found, can be found or is already found in the being.  With this principle of vital force in mind, we can say that African philosophy cannot do without a historical-concrete context of its past.  African philosophy should be sought in the traditions and customs of the ancestors, in the present time and in the works of African writers of all times.”[47] And, we can add, African philosophy should be sought in the caves and pyramids across Africa, those known and those yet to be known.  But one has to learn the art and science of interpreting secret codes in which the ancients expressed their thoughts and feelings.  They were much more sophisticated than we think. 

Just to illustrate this point we can look at a few African proverbs that capture the philosophical elements mentioned above.  It should be noted that African proverbs are hard to date.  Some give no clue as to when they may have been coined since they do not mention any human material inventions, although some do.  They are generally brief to help memory and so they can be kept in their exact form for millennia.  In their brevity they can be compared today’s text messages or twitter messages, only that they are more profound in meaning and have a lasting value for ages.

Ndem ma fiah, Ndem ma logh, Ndem ma kong (Nweh of the Bangwa of Cameroon), translated as: “God has given, God has taken, it is God’s will.” This is a philosophy of God or Theodicy where happenings such as death or any major loss are left to God. It helps people not to complain or grumble when misfortune befalls them. One sees the parallel with Job who said: “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken, blessed be the name of the Lord” after he had lost his children and property.  The Kiga of South Western Uganda have a saying: Akaguhangire niko karagwate, translated as: one who created the head is the one who will break it.  Killing is a preserve of God who is the author of life.  “The denture of a small monkey is never complete until his mother lies in the hunter’s trap.” Clearly such a proverb belongs to the period of hunting.  This proverb demonstrates the pain of maturity and growth.  A similar one is: “The son succeeds on his father’s throne through tears.”  One’s father has first to die before one can succeed him.  “God himself chews the food for the hens because they do not have teeth”--Divine providence is emphasized here.  The idea of showing respect and support for one’s aged parents is demonstrated in a Kiga proverb: Orume kurukura rwonka abaana barwo—translated as, if the rabbit grows old, it suckles its children.  In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, there is a proverb which says that, “A young man who pays respect to the old paves a way for his own greatness.”  On death the Kiga have the following proverb: “Sheka norya, rufu teragaana”—translated as, laugh as you eat, death does not give warning. The proverb stresses the inevitability of death, meanwhile one should go on enjoying life.  On hard work and self-reliance there is Guinean proverb: “He who does not cultivate his field, will die of hunger.” On knowledge and the need to cultivate it: “Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested” (Guinea).  On co-operation: “One finger alone cannot kill even a louse” (Kenya).

What about Egypt and its link with sub-Saharan Africa? Egypt’s history is traced to 10,000 B. C., and early farming in Africa is estimated to have developed in the Nile delta in Egypt in 6,500 B.C.[48] One again wonders what was happening for the rest of the 3, 500 years.  Egypt’s influence as noted before spread to Asia, other parts of North Africa, And Europe.  Nubia (northern part of the Sudan) was also heavily influenced by Egypt and was in fact colonized by Egypt.  But later after the Nubian land of Kush had developed its own civilization the Kushite kings conquered Egypt in 750 B.C. for about 100 years.  The Kushites built their city at Meroe that became center of civilization and booming trade with Romans, Arabians, Indians, and the rest of Africa.  It is believed that the knowledge of iron-working spread from Kushite Meroe to the rest of Africa.  The other famous civilization of ancient Africa was Axum, where trade was flourishing around 500 B.C.  These early Ethiopians had their own script.  Axum was also influenced by Arabia and influenced it in return.  The possible connection between Axumite and Meroe civilization with tropical Africa is suggested by Davidson: “It seems likely that their [of Axum and Meroe] went southward to the northern parts of the Congo, Uganda, and Kenya.”[49]

What philosophy is then hidden in ancient rock paintings and pyramids of Egypt and Nubia? We can again invoke Karl Marx, the great philosopher of history, who argued that economics rules everything: “Hence the changes in society and philosophy are the result of underlying changes in technology and the economic system.  In the Middle Ages, with its rural economy, one set of ideas and political system results.”[50] Following this line of reasoning, which is valid to a great extent, we can infer that the early forms of economic production and rudimentary technology of homo sapiens until the Egyptian, Axumite, Nubian, Great Zimbabwe, Kingdoms of the Great Lakes region, civilizations, philosophies developed.  The chief architect of these philosophies before organized polities emerged was “The expert in Fetish, the Medicine man,…the first priest. He exhorted, he interpreted dreams, he warned, he performed the complicated hocus pocus that brought luck or averted calamity….the early priest dictated what indeed an arbitrary primitive practical science.”[51] They also made myths and interpreted them.  Pyramids and rock paintings are like ancient encyclopaedia depicting in mythical and artistic forms profound metaphysical and cosmological realities that human beings have believed in and lived by for millennia.  Animal paintings in caves show the intimate relationship between human and the rest of creation.  Human drawings in caves are an attempt to depict immortality.  But also some pyramid texts convey moral maxims to guide posterity in all aspects of life. Such moral maxims are like those of Visier Ptahhotep instructing a prince:[52] “Do not distinguish between the son of a noble and the man of humble birth.  Take men into your service according to their capacity;”  “Do not oppress the widow; do not strip a man of his father’s possessions.”  The attributes of God that common across Africa are well articulated: God knows human thoughts, God rewards and punishes, God forms human beings out of clay.                    

Towards a philosophical anthropological synthesis

At this point I will make a synthesis of the Egyptian and the rest of African basic philosophical ideas, demonstrating how they have the same origin, coherent conceptual framework and usefulness.  But before making a synthesis, it is important to reach some general understanding of what philosophy is. No universally agreed definition of philosophy exists anywhere.  But generally, all philosophers are in agreement that Pythagoras’ definition of philosophy as “love of wisdom” is a good starting point.[53] So philosophy is a search for ultimate truth in its various manifestations: economic, political, legal, ethical, scientific, social, religious, etc.  Odera Oruka has added that philosophy is an intellectual concern for knowledge and a discussion of “… basic principles, that govern nature, and human life.”[54]

A philosophical synthesis has to be based on a historical synthesis, otherwise it will be pure speculation devoid of empirical truth.  From an anthropological point of view, ancient Egypt was a melting pot of races of humanity—a truly global civilization.  At the beginning of the Neolithic period (c. 5000 B.C.), the Upper Paleolithic period tribes who had been roaming in the “…north-eastern Africa, crossing the Nile in both directions, and teaching each other their various skills”[55] settled around the Nile.  It is at this time the cultivation of barley, wheat and flax started, as well as building houses made of mud and kept domestic animals.[56] Who were these peoples that converged around the Nile valley in Egypt? Archeological evidence from this period at Tasa in the Middle Egypt, the necropolis at El Badari also in Middle Egypt, Erment and Siut, Nekhem in Upper Egypt, suggest copper tools, tombs with clay, ivory, stone vases and statuettes, and a mix of races of Mediterranean, Negroid, Cromagnon, and brachyphalic types.[57] An issue crucial for the philosophy of pan-Africanism is the four categories of human races found in the tombs of the New Kingdom (1550-1080)--Tomb of Seti I: Remtu (Egyptians), Amu (Asiatics), Nehesu (South of Egypt and had all the characteristics of a black-skinned people, flat faces, and woolly hair), Timihu (South West of Egypt).[58]

The next issue to settle is whether Egyptian influence moved to the neighboring ancient civilization thus being influenced by them as well.  Egyptian influence is noted in the land of Punt (at the far of the Red sea), many migrants also came to Egypt from all directions during the Old Kingdom (2686-2181), some kings of Kush were allies of Egypt, and in its expansionist policy, conquered Nubia. There were also numerous expeditions to the land of Punt during the Eighteenth Dynasty, one being during the Queen Hatsheput’s reign.[59] Blossoming trade between Egypt and Punt involved goods from Punt such as incense bearing trees, dry incense, ebony, perfume, and panther-skins.  Traces of material culture of the present day Great Lakes region can be identified in Egyptian civilization: beer (from grain) and wine (from fruits) making, papyrus ropes and crafts, copper artifacts and tools, metal smelting (using bellows), and pottery.  It is likely that in ancient times people would take years to travel along the Nile in both directions doing trade and learning skills.              

The philosophical synthesis that brings Egyptian, Greek and the rest of African systems of thought together can be traced in Pythagoras (c. 582-507) who was in turn trained in Egyptian worldview—“Pythagoras visited Egypt, and learnt much of his wisdom there…”[60] Bertrand Russell asserted.  His mathematical system that includes the famous Pythagorean Theorem uses deductive reasoning. It is he who influenced Plato greatly. The main elements of Platonic philosophy contain elements of Pythagorean philosophy, that are in turn traced in ancient Egypt: immortality of the soul, existence of God, two worlds—the visible and the invisible, and a life of contemplation as essential to doing philosophy.[61] But before Pythagoras there was Thales, who is considered the founder of Western philosophy since he developed a coherent natural philosophy and theoretical science or cosmology, and is credited for predicting a solar eclipse in 585 B.C.[62] He also travelled to Egypt from where he brought geometry.  He is famous for estimating the height of the pyramids from their shadow.  Fast forward, Origen (A. D. 185-254) who lived and studied in Alexandria tried a synthesis of Greek philosophy and Hebrew scriptures and dealt with issues of the soul, human nature and Christ, resurrection, and salvation.  Plotinus (A. D. 207-70)[63], a neo-Platonist from Alexandria, developed a whole philosophical and theological system integrating Plato’s system with the Christian system—immortality, the soul, Trinity, and Christ as logos.  St. Augustine of Hippo ( A. D. 354-430) in Carthage also developed a monumental philosophical and theological system that incorporated Platonic thought with Western Christian theology. He addressed themes of philosophy of history, politics, soul, salvation and resurrection.[64] One wonders why despite the philosophical systems of these North African thinkers having drawn their inspiration from ancient Egyptian system, are still tied to Greek philosophy, whose roots are also traced to Egypt.

Then a critical question arises: With all the evidence that Egypt had a great influence on Greek thought, why do most philosophers always start with a claim that philosophy started from Ancient Greece and with Thales of Miletus? Is it negligence or outright intellectual dishonesty? I will just quote one celebrated Western philosopher Frederick Copleston who in his monumental History of Philosophy denies out-rightly that Egypt influenced Greece philosophically: “That the Egyptians had a philosophy to communicate has never been shown…let it suffice to point out that Egyptian mathematics consisted of practical methods of marking our afresh the fields after the inundation of the river Nile.”[65] It is inconceivable that the pyramids could be built without a systematic science and complex mathematics. It is also inconceivable that the complex social organization of the Pharaonic dynasties’ religious beliefs did not have a philosophy guiding them.  The claim that what is practical cannot be philosophical fails to acknowledge the fact that some branches of philosophy deal with practical norms of life such as ethics, political philosophy, legal philosophy and economic philosophy.  And most importantly, technology is applied science.    

The key hermeneutical tool for understanding Egyptian philosophy and how it is related to the rest of African philosophy is the phenomenon of myths.  Myths are not false as some people think.  They are a way of explaining complex and timeless realities such as origin of the earth, death, destiny of human beings, and cause of evil.  They are a primeval form of philosophy.  The cosmological dimension of myths is well captured in the following definition: Myth narrates a sacred history; it relates and event that took place in primordial Time, the fabled time of “beginnings.” In other words, myth tells how, through the deeds of Supernatural Beings, a reality came into existence…”[66] But myth also serves an ethical or moral function by narrating what beliefs to hold, what social systems to embrace, safeguards and enforces morality, contains moral wisdom and offers practical rules for daily living.[67] A few myths will suffice to clarify the above definition and assertions.[68] For instance the Abaluya of Kenya believe that God created man and the world so that the sun could send its light to someone.  For the Lozi of Zambia, God created the world and then filled it with people starting with the Lozi tribe then created the other tribes.  Customs, languages and cultures of different people were created by God.  The Shilluk of South Sudan account for the different races by a myth which holds that God created different people using clay with different colors.  Egyptians believe that man comes from the sky, hence the deep desire to return to that other world.  From these myths, the major aspect of philosophy is established, namely, that a Supreme Being, God, is responsible for creating the world and human beings, and that this God has made provisions for the human survival.  Other elements of ritual, sacrifice, and lesser supernatural beings are all derived from this basic doctrine that is found the whole of Africa.

Cosmos, human beings and God

A close look at Egyptian metaphysics shows how it is very much similar to the rest of Africa’s worldview.  Henri Frankfort did an excellent study of Egyptian Gods, state, way of life and hope,[69] but like most non-African scholars, he still makes a distinction between religion and philosophy.  Nevertheless Frankfort makes an effort to discern the philosophical elements in the Egyptian doctrines, and also static view of the universe that the Egyptians held, is what shaped their theology, moral and political philosophy.[70] Egyptian religion like traditional African religions in the rest of Africa does not have a holy book or a central dogma, instead it has numerous gods, symbols, sacred objects, myths, totems/sacred animals and beliefs that are not guided by a single coherent theory.[71] The cosmic elements such as the sun, earth, sky, air, and water are considered the source of all life and they worshipped as gods.

The Egyptian state is also guided by a political philosophy similar to that of most other African kingdoms where the king has divine right, and the state is considered as part of the established natural order willed by God.  Kingdoms in Uganda such as Buganda, Tooro, Bunyoro, and Busoga still hold these beliefs even when they are embedded in a modern democratic state. Kings were considered divine and some were even considered to be gods. The organic and coherent view of reality is best summarized thus: “The social order was part of the cosmic order.  All theological schools agreed that kingship, the pivot of society, belonged to the basic order of existence and had been introduced at the time of creation.”[72] The question then arises as what mechanisms were in place to prevent the king from becoming a despot since he had absolute power. Both gods and Pharaohs were guided by maat—a sort of ethical system that embodies, order, truth, justice.[73] It is a bit like natural law.  But it can also correspond to Ubuntu philosophy we referred to earlier.  The structure and purpose of Egyptian moral teachings from sages are similar to proverbs we quoted earlier.  They are secular guides to a good life; they use striking images and are very brief, to aid memory.  Take for instance the advice to a person in high office: “If thou a leader who directs the affairs of a multitude, strive after every excellence until there be no fault in thy nature.  Maat is good and its worth is lasting…he who transgresses its ordinances is punished….It is true that evil may gain wealth but the strength of truth is that it lasts; a man can say: ‘It was the property of my father.’”[74] Virtue can be taught according to this world view, and it is elders and experienced people who can teach the young.  Consider the example of King Merikare’s instruction from his father: ‘Copy thy fathers who have gone before thee….Behold, their words are recorded in writing. Open and read and copy him who knows.  Thus he who is skilled becomes one who is instructed.”[75]

Finally, belief in life after death or immortality occupies a central part of Egyptian and Sub-Saharan philosophical anthropology.  Beliefs in after life are exemplified by such practices as: offering sacrifices to the dead, consulting the dead (specialists such as diviners and seers do such complicated tasks), asking the dead ancestors to intervene in family disputes, and most importantly burial ceremonies.[76] Quite interestingly Egyptians also have a word ka, equivalent to vital force, to which humans return after they have died.  African ontology is deeply experienced and lived in the phenomenon of death and after life: God is as the source of life is the one to whom life returns; Spirits of the dead ancestors are invoked and appeased;[77]Humans beings living and those just about to be born; animals and plants (used for sacrifices); objects without biological life (used as fetishes but also for housing, tools, etc).[78]

We conclude this section in a poetic style and say that Homo Sapiens is still roaming the earth searching for ultimate meaning.  Unlike in the distant past, the Cyber Homo Sapiens is not living in the cave but is found in a cyber café surfing or twitting on a mobile phone.  The quest is still the same: surviving, hunting for food in shopping malls, sharing ideas and creating some, migrating to places that are deemed to offer better opportunities.  Homo Sapiens is now not armed with stones and iron tools, but with Android and Apple phones, that paintings are not done on the walls of caves but on computer screens and smart phones.  Whether this is leading to better life and higher civilization, only time will tell.  But for sure those who will come thousands of years after will show the same surprise at how our technology was primitive, just as we say about the Stone Age people.  From Stone Age to Twitter or Cyber Age, we are all searching for deeper meaning on that we use different tools, but the soul and intellect is still the same we inherited from Homo Sapiens of old. As for ethics, norms and belief in supernatural beings, we seem not to make any radical departure from the ancients—just change in concepts but not in essence. 

A philosophical synthesis can only lead to the call for unity.  Pulling all the strands together, the conclusion is that humanity has one origin and one destiny.  Instead of history being a theater of class struggle, it is a history of globalization and a quest for the original unity.  ICT best sums up this struggle. Information driven by technology, leads to greater interconnectedness of the human race.  This is where Africa, the cradle of humanity has no choice but to take the leading in promoting unity not fragmentation.  Unity for humanity, one continent at a time is the goal.  This unity cannot be based only on transient systems like economics and politics, but has to include deeper values and norms rooted in ontology, anthropology and belief systems.

Conclusion: Africa must unite as an ontological and anthropological imperative

After laying an ontological, cosmological and anthropological basis for African unity, it is important to bring the discussion to closure by making concrete and specific suggestions on how 21st Africa can bring about the perennial longing for humanity’s unity, starting at the continental level. At every major stage of human civilization trade has always played a pivotal role.  Africa’s intra-continental trade is still very low. Intra-African trade is limited by Africa’s closed skies.  When it comes to aviation, it is if the continent fears the skies.  Millenia ago, people roamed the continent and were only restricted by forests and wild animals but not by fellow humans.  As way back as 1994, 44 African countries promised to remove restrictions on air travel among African countries (Yamoussoukro Decision) thus creating a single air transport for Africa.  This was to be achieved by 2002. Up to now this has not been achieved and as a result air travel within Africa is one of the most expensive in the world.  How can Africa unite without opening the skies?

At the level of intra-African investment an example of the richest Africa, Aliko Dangote, is instructive.  He gives a model of integration from below and through strategic investment.  He has spread his heavy duty investments across Africa: Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia (a cement factory with annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons), and Kenya.  Notice how geographically spread are his investments: West Africa, Southern Africa, and Eastern Africa. If only the African continent had about 10 “Dangotes” poverty would be history in Africa. Probably Africa needs a brand of its own Afro-capitalism that combined free enterprise and communalism supported by social capital.

The Ubuntu philosophy  and Maat ethic, both call for greater hospitality among African countries.  This would provide an incentive for free movement of people across the continent that would in turn boost trade, increase the flow of ideas and skills, and heighten mutual understanding among Africans.

At start of this discussion we mentioned the new call for industrial policy and macro-economic restructuring of Africa. But the key to all this is investing in ICT and opening up air waves or telecommunications.  The ancient time iron and gold smelting were the drivers of civilization, today, the drivers of development and ICT and all kinds of related innovations.  We can even talk of “cyber integration” driven by face book, twitter and the internet.  But for ICT to drive progress mobile connectivity and access to internet have to improve.  Africa has even started investing in intelligent systems, for instance the Institute for Intelligent Systems in South Africa at the University of Johannesburg by Professor Twala.  Complex problems require complex solutions.  Related to artificial intelligence is the use of ICT for distance learning or e-learning, that is becoming more popular as it saves on infrastructure, and travel expenses.  Knowledge that would take one several years to acquire, can these days be accessed by a click.  What people are scrambling for these days is not so much lands, but information and ideas, since we are living in a world marked by knowledge-driven development.  What we need are scholars without borders.

Marx called on all workers of the world to unite, we need also to call on all peoples of Africa to unite. But since we live in a globalized world, and not in isolation, there is also a larger unity of the human race.  But we need to start from one continent at a time.          

* Dr. Odomaro Mubangizi is Dean of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Addis Ababa, where he also teaches Philosophy and Theology. He is also Editor of Justice, Peace and Environment Bulletin.

End notes

[1] See United Economic Commission for Africa, Transforming Industrial Policy for Africa (Addis Ababa: Economic Commission for Africa, 2016); Macroeconomic Policy and Structural Transformation of African Economies (Addis Ababa: Economic Commission for Africa, 2016)

[2] Ibid., 13.

[3] See Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1999).

[4] Quoted in Tsenay Serequeberhan, African Philosophy: The Essential Readings (New York: Paragon House, 1991), p. 5.

[5] Ibid., p. 6.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Richard H. Bell, “Understanding African Philosophy from a non-African point of view: An Exercise in Cross-cultural Philosophy” in Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (Ed), Post-colonial African Philosophy: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1997), 211.

[8] William Midzi, “The Signficance of African Culture and Tradition for African Philosophy” in Chiedza, Journal of Arrupe College, Vol. 2, May 1999, pp. 22-23.  See also John Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (Oxford: Heinmann, Education Publishers, 1990).

[9] Peter Singer, One World: The Ethics of Globalization ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), pp. 200-201.

[10] See, C. Warren Hollister and Guy MaCLean Rogers, Roots of Western Tradition: A Short History of the Ancient World (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004), pp. 28, 30, 45.

[11] Ibid., p. 44.

[12] Ibid.

[13] See “The Poverty of Philosophy.” In David MacLellan, (Ed), Karl Marx: Selected Writings(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 202.

[14] Singer, Op. cit., p. 10.

[15] See, Mary Kaldor, Global Civil Society: An Answer to War (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), pp. 104-6, 111.

[16] Quoted in William F. Lawhead, The Philosophical Journey (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006), p. 603.

[17] Quoted, in ibid., p. 606.

[18] Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality (Chicago Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books, 1974),p. xiv.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Basil Davidson, Which Way Africa? The Search for a New Society (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1971), p. 81.

[21] Quoted in Ibid., pp. 81-82.

[22] John Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1990), p. 141.

[23] See Laurenti Magesa, What is not Sacred? African Spirituality (Nairobi: Acton Publishers, 2014), p. 12.

[24] Ramose, Mogobe, “The Philosophy of Ubuntu as a philosophy” in P. H. Coetzee and A. P. J. Roux (Eds), The African Philosophy Reader (Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 231.

[25] Lawhead, Op. cit.., p. 69.

[26] Ibid. p. 555.

[27] Immanuel Kant “Speculative beginning of human history (1786)” in Perpetual Peace and Other Essays, Translated by Ted Humphrey (Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1982), P. 59.

[28] Ibid., 36.

[29] Ibid. 37-38.

[30] Arnold Toynbee, Civilization on Trial and the World and the West (New York: Meridian Books, 1958), p. 44.

[31] Ibid., 45.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid., 58.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Dennis Sherman and Joyce Salisbury, The West in the World: A Mid-Length Narrative History Vol. 1: to 1715 (New York: MacGrow-Hill, 2006), pp. 4-5.

[37] Ibid., 5.

[38] Basil Davidson, The Growth of African Civilization: East and Central Africa to the late Nineteenth Century (London: Longman, 1967), p. 4.

[39] H. G. Wells, A Short History of the World (London: Penguin Books, 1922), p. 42.

[40] Ibid., 43.

[41] Ibid., 45.

[42] Ibid., 46.

[43] Ibid. 47-49.

[44] See Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia, African Vitalogy: A Step Forward in African Thinking (Nairobi: Pauline Publications Africa, 1999), pp. 167, 186

[45] Ibid., 167.

[46] Davidson, Op. cit., 16.

[47] Ibid., 23.

[48] Lawhead, Op. cit., 599.

[49] Wells, p. 49.

[50] Monet, opt. cit., 35.

[51] See H. Odera Oruka et al. The Rational Path: A dialogue on philosophy, law and religion (Nairobi: Standard Textbooks Graphics and Publishing, 1989), p. 2.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Pierre Monet, Eternal Egypt (New York: The New American Library, 1964), p. 16.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid., 17.

[56] Ibid., 21.

[57] Ibid., 122-123.

[58] Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 39.

[59] Ibid., 40-42.

[60] Hollister and Rogers, Op. cit., 111.

[61] See Russell, Op. cit. pp. 270-280.

[62] Ibid. pp. 330-340.

[63] Frederick Copleston, S.J., A History of Philosophy: Volume 1 Greece & Rome Part 1 (New York: Image Books, 1962), p. 31. 

[64] Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality (New York: Harper Torch Books, 1963), p.

[65] Ibid., 20.

[66] See Nkemnkia, Op. cit., pp. 131-133.

[67] See Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion: An Interpretation (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1961).

[68] Ibid., p. vii.

[69] Ibid., 4-5.

[70] Ibid., 51.

[71] Ibid., pp. 54-55.

[72] Ibid., 62.

[73] Ibid., 65.

[74] See Monet, opt. cit. pp. 166-199; Jommo Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya (New York: Vintage Books, 1965), pp. 253-258; Magesa, Op. cit., pp. 81-97; Robert A. Lystad, The Ashanti; A Proud People (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1958), pp. 100-103;  Nkemnkia, Op. cit., pp. 116, 135-137.

[75] Ibid., p. 71.