In Motsamai Molefe & Christopher Allsobrook (eds.), Towards an African Political Philosophy of Needs. Springer Verlag. pp. 57-86 (2021)

Motsamai Molefe
University of Witwatersrand
This chapter, contrary to moderate, radical and limited communitarians’ attempts to include and defend human rights in African political thought, shifts our attention to the primacy of needs in African political thought. It does so by appeal primarily to the ethical concept of personhood in African philosophy. It offers an interpretation of the relationship between ethics and politics inherent in the normative concept of personhood, which has tended to be construed to entail the politics of human rights. To unfold a novel interpretation of politics in relation to the ethical notion of personhood, it relies on Menkiti’s philosophical writings that points us to the politics of duties. It proceeds to explain the importance of duties in the political thought associated with Afro-communitarianism in terms of the primacy of needs. The basic insight that emerges in this chapter is that the provision of basic needs is indispensable for the kind of agency required for the achievement of personhood.
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DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-64496-3_4
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