Jéan-Paul Sartre and the Agenda of an Africanist Philosophy of Liberation

In Edwin Etieyibo (ed.), Method, Substance and the Future of African Philosophy. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 313-333 (2018)

Malesela John Lamola
University of Johannesburg
This essay is a proposition of a philosophy of liberation that is rooted in Africa’s existential realities. It contends that when philosophical practice in Africa becomes authentically contextual, it will discover that the most critical challenge of postcolonial African life is an imperative for an authentic African identity. In demonstrating this fact, Sartre’s existentialist phenomenological account of selfhood as rooted in radical freedom within a social consciousness that is alert to a Marxian view of the human subject in history, as well as his praxis of anti-colonial activism for the African cause, are posited as a theoretical framework that simultaneously delineates and guides the discharge of this imperative. The radical nature of the proposed intervention emerging out of this appropriation leads us to a key proposition of an Africanist paradigm, which is a qualitative emphasis on a philosophical praxis, a project, that is deliberately for the cause of Africa’s freedom, as opposed to merely being in Africa.
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