The point of departure of this publication is philosophy, more precisely African philosophy and the question of the possibility of using African languages in philosophical discourse. This book sees Afrophone literatures as a prominent locus of philosophical discourse in African cultures. In its eleven chapters, the book investigates literary works in African languages and reads them with respect to their contribution to philosophy. Studying Swahili, Ndebele, Shona, Bambara, Yoruba and Lingala literatures, we have found philosophical insights which sometimes amount to no more than philosophical commonplaces, but occasionally make highly original contributions to philosophy. The deeper we penetrated into Afrophone discourses, the more remote became the departure point. The issue of "philosophies in African languages" was both methodologically and empirically settled, and we found ourselves looking for "a philosophy for Afrophone literatures". Philosophy became more of a tool than a goal in this process: it has the conceptual inventory to articulate the insights found in Afrophone literatures. Drawing on both Western and African philosophical traditions, with their concepts and conceptual frameworks, provides these new articulations with the necessary distance to secure a creative reflexion of the literary texts, developing their theme and showing them in a broader context of intellectual history. This book examines literatures in six African languages, from several regions within Bantu Africa (Swahili, Lingala, Shona, Ndebele) and from West Africa (Bambara, Yoruba). With the exception of Yoruba, where (although we know the language to some extent) we used texts collected and translated by other researchers, we have always relied on original texts written (and mostly also published) by their authors.
Comment: A great survey of general approaches to African philosophy in many languages, at the cutting edge of modern research. Great for classes on philosophy and literature or on introductions to global thought best discussed alongside the primary texts it discusses.