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Azenabor, Godwin. The Idea of African Philosophy in African Language
2000, Indian Philosophical Quarterly. 27 (3): 321-328.
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Added by: Sara Peppe and Björn Freter
Abstract: The necessity of writing African philosophy in African languages has been proposed more than once. But, expressing African philosophy in indigenous languages of Africa does not make it more authentic. Authentic African philosophy is the philosophy that takes into account African culture and life. Moreover, the problem of using indigenous languages deals with the fact that the above-mentioned languages are scarcely taught in schools and have almost no place in education. Regarding this, the Nigeria case is paradigmatic.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Godwin Azenabor considers the problem of African philosophy in the African language by examining both the concepts of African philosophy and language. The author underlines that the fact that African philosophy should be written in the African language derives from the idea that other philosophies are written in their respective languages. This led the author to think that translating African philosophy into other languages may not depict the true picture of African philosophy, with African philosophy lacking in authenticity. The author focuses on the fact that African indigenous languages are not taught in schools, and scholars do not master the indigenous languages as much as to write in indigenous languages for education purposes. This occurs in Nigeria, where official institutions and education bodies use colonial languages. Plus, the problem of language is rooted in the idea that most African languages are local while philosophy aims to be international. The author also explains why Africans use colonial languages, i.e., to remove communication and understanding barriers. And Azenabor concludes that the language used does not determine the authenticity of African philosophy. Plus, what makes a philosophy African is that it is applied to the conceptual problems of African life and encompasses its tradition.

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