Black African Philosophy – The First Schools of Thought – 2nd February

Here we consider the time periods that epistemic and ontological ideas originated in Africa by Africans.

It is significant that we use the concepts epistemology (philosophy of how we know) and ontology (philosophy of existence).

These are Greek concepts.

Greek philosophy is central in almost all “Western” and “Global North” scholarship.

Readers who are interested in the origins and actual uses of Greek philosophy in the natural and social sciences should read Russell (1945).

Before we continue, Africa has her own epistemic (ways of knowing) and ontic (ways of living/existing) systems…we are getting there.

Another point about Greek philosophy as related to Black History is Greek philosophy is much younger than Black or African history.

Black history starts with the beginning of humanity in Africa…

spans the entire African continent, GLOBE

and crosses oral and written traditions.

Now, turn to Africa and consider the following:

  • Ancient Kemet’s “Early Dynastic Period” goes back to 3050 B.C. This is not the beginning of ancient Kemetian civilisation.
Image by Mahmoud Younes on Facebook

It should be evident that Black History and Philosophy is thousands of years older than that of Ancient Greek.

In South African institutions of higher learning – philosophies of the Greeks dominate thinking of scholars more than our African Ancestors’ philosophies.

Greek philosophy has more epistemic weight in “mainstream” university courses than indigenous South African knowledge systems.

This is due to exclusive practices inherited from Apartheid and colonialism that still do not teach or fully value the cultural traditions of Africa.

The languages, philosophies and traditions of our Ancestors from South Africa are marginalised in educational institutions’ curricula.

The central message of this post is that everywhere in Africa we look

there are philosophies that can be used in the natural sciences, arts, economics, architecture, journalism and every domain of life that are MUCH older than those of Greece.

Until South African universities appreciate and teach this knowledge

lets share it with the masses of African people as we celebrate Black History Month through all means and channels.

Image source Mahmoud Younes

Seeing that we touched on ancient Kemet, visit these sites for more information:

  1. Dr Kunoko Rashidi
  2. The Laws of Ma’at
  3. Philosophy of the the man “Imhoptep