Three African philosophers whose ideas will change the way you think about Black people

Bruno Goes December 16, 2022

African philosophers have contributed significantly to the world of philosophy, yet their contributions are often overlooked in mainstream discourse. This is a shame, as their ideas and insights can be incredibly valuable in our daily lives. In this article, I will explore some of the key philosophers from the African continent and discuss how their ideas can be applied in our modern world, particularly when it comes to the way we think about blackness.

  1. Cheikh Anta Diop
Cheikh Anta Diop. Photo Credit: Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement (DISA)

One of the most influential African philosophers was Cheikh Anta Diop, a Senegalese historian and anthropologist who lived from 1923 to 1986. Diop is best known for his work on the origins of African civilization, in which he challenged the commonly held belief that Africa was a “dark continent” with a history of primitive societies. Instead, Diop argued that Africa was the birthplace of human civilization, and that its people had developed complex societies and systems of knowledge long before the rise of European cultures.

Diop’s ideas have important implications for the way we view Africa and its people today. In a world where Africa is often portrayed as a backward and impoverished continent, Diop’s work reminds us of the rich history and culture that exists on the African continent. It also challenges us to rethink our assumptions about African societies and their capabilities.

2. Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon. Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Another key figure in African philosophy is Frantz Fanon, a Martinique-born psychiatrist and philosopher who lived from 1925 to 1961. Fanon is best known for his work on the psychological effects of colonialism, and the ways in which colonized people resist and resist the dominant culture. In his most famous work, “The Wretched of the Earth,” Fanon explores the ways in which colonialism dehumanizes both the colonizers and the colonized, and how this dehumanization can lead to violence and conflict.

Fanon’s ideas have important implications for our understanding of the ongoing effects of colonialism. In a world where many former colonies are still struggling to overcome the legacy of their past, Fanon’s work reminds us of the psychological damage that colonialism can cause, and the need to address these issues in order to move forward.

3. Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah

A third important figure in African philosophy is Kwame Nkrumah, a Ghanaian political leader who lived from 1909 to 1972. Nkrumah was a major advocate of African unity and decolonization, and was instrumental in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. In his political philosophy, Nkrumah emphasized the importance of African self- reliance and independence, and argued that African nations needed to develop their own economies and political systems in order to achieve true liberation.

Nkrumah’s ideas have important implications for the way we think about Africa’s place in the world today. In a globalized world where many African countries are still dependent on foreign aid and investment, Nkrumah’s emphasis on self-reliance reminds us of the need for African

nations to take control of their own destinies. It also challenges us to think about how we can support Africa’s development without imposing our own values and agendas on the continent.

In conclusion, African philosophers have made valuable contributions to the world of philosophy. Their ideas remind us of the rich history and culture of the African continent, the ongoing effects of colonialism, and the importance of African self-reliance. By incorporating their insights into our daily lives, we can better understand and appreciate the complexity and diversity of Africa and its people.


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