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African Communitarianism and Human Rights

Towards a Compatibilist View

Munamato Chemhuru

That human rights are new, alien, and incompatible with African social and political reality is pervasive in much of African social and political thinking. This supposition is based on the assumption that African societies are inherently communitarian, and hence inconsiderate to the guaranteeing and safeguarding of individual human rights. However, I seek to dispel this essentialist notion in African social and political thinking. I consider how the human rights discourse could be reasonably understood in the African traditional context if the thinking that is salient in the African communitarian view of existence is properly understood. After considering the way in which human rights are guaranteed within an African communitarian framework, I give reasons why the quest for individualistic human rights in Afro-communitarian society could be considered to be an oxymoron. Overall, I seek to establish that an Afro-communitarian model is compatible with the quest for the universality of human rights.

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Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi

Existing literature on pan-Africanism often focuses on re-enforcing the ideology of pan-Africanism without much devotion to critiquing, justifying or purifying the ideology. Two positions can be applied to explain this. The first is that scholars

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Pan-African Linguistic and Cultural Unity

A Basis For pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance

Simphiwe Sesanti

One of the greatest sons of Europe, historian Basil Davidson (1970: 11 ), once remarked that whenever anything remarkable or inexplicable turned up in Africa ‘a whole galaxy of non-African (or at any rate non-black)’ peoples were dragged in to

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Pascah Mungwini

This article is a theoretical invitation to revisit the idea of pan-Africanism and to think differently about Africa beyond the discourse of afro-pessimism. It focuses on the epistemic question and argues for the need to promote an alternative

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Ezekiel S. Mkhwanazi

This article seeks to challenge and encourage the pan-African intelligentsia to remain steadfast in their resolve and commitment to rebuild Africa. The author is aware of the reflexive implications the article has on the author himself. For that

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Ajume H. Wingo

The Received View of the Roots of African Political Disarray It is generally acknowledged that Africans suffered greatly from European colonisation (e.g. Richards 1961; Robinson and Gallagher 1961 ; Young 1994). On what I will call the ‘received

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Valery B. Ferim

Attempting to codify what constitutes pan-Africanism especially in contemporary times can be elusive. This is because the concept has evolved over time and currently encompasses a variety of philosophical and ideological traditions. The elasticity

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Lauren Marx

It is often said that history is written from the victors’ perspective and Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s legacy has become something of a historical footnote by the South African political majority where he is simply described as the movement

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Bernard Matolino

Introduction In this article I seek to pursue two aims. Firstly, I seek to contest Emmanuel Ani’s reading of Wiredu regarding his support for the role of rationality in securing consensus in traditional African polities. I seek to show that as a

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Paul Nursey-Bray

Within European debates on the left about the future of the socialist project, particularly within the United Kingdom, market socialism has been enjoying a certain vogue over the last decade. It represents one of a number of approaches that have been canvassed in pursuit of a Third Way that would steer a course between the old authoritarian, state-controlled socialism of Soviet and Eastern European practice and the untrammelled excesses of a free market capitalist approach. It has claimed some influential supporters, as well as vehement critics who aver that in surrendering to the market and the law of value market socialism vitiates its socialist credentials. But the issues raised in the European context have specific contextual characteristics. European economies and social structures are what we term developed or advanced. While large disparities of wealth exist between social strata and social classes, there is an absence of the fundamental development problems and crushing poverty that are the all too familiar features of the world of Africa. It may be suggestive therefore to consider the application of market socialism within an African setting, acknowledging that there will be a shift of emphasis. While the concerns for social justice and equality that are central to the evaluation of market socialism in a European setting naturally remain relevant in the case of Africa, there is also the question of development itself. Can market socialism be considered as a prescription for the disease of underdevelopment that continues to undermine the economies, the politics and the very life of African societies? We will begin with a review of the history and nature of market socialism before returning to this central question. In general I subscribe to the view that we should avoid dealing with “Africa” in a general way, since it ignores the need to recognize country by country differences and specifics. However, on occasion, a broad brush is useful. I believe it has utility here in a comparison and contrast between European and African experiences of socialism.