Bryan Mukandi


The following pages engage a hermeneutic approach to African philosophy, focusing on the work of Tsenay Serequeberhan. At the heart of the discussion is the question of where to locate such an approach in the existing philosophical literature. Does this way of working render African philosophy a European enterprise? Giving an affirmative response, the writings of Paulin Hountondji, which draw upon Husserlian phenomenology, are taken up as an alternative response to questions raised here about the meaning and methods of hermeneutics. Ultimately, however, this perspective is also set aside. Instead, suggestions are put forward for the markers around which a contemporary African metaphysics, which is both restorative and creative, might be pursued.

Keywords: hermeneutics; colonialism; time; motion; geography

Full Text:



Al-Saji, Alia. 2013. Too Late: Racialized Time and the Closure of the Past. Insights 6(5): 2-13.

Beatty, Paul. 2017. The White Boy Shuffle. London: Oneworld Publications.

Armah, Ayi. 1988. The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. Oxford: Heinemann.

Boni, Tanella. 2018. The Future has an Appointment with the Dawn. Trans.Todd Fredson. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Boulous Walker, Michelle. 2017. Slow Philosophy: Reading Against the Institution. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Deacon, Destiny. 2000. Over the Fence. Print from Polaroid original 800 × 1000mm, Edition of 15 + 2 A/Ps. Sydney: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

Descartes, René. 1984. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume II. Trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff and Dugald Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 1978. Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 1981. Dissemination. Trans. Barbara Johnson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 2009. The Beast and the Sovereign: Volume I. Trans. by Geoffrey Bennington. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Fanon, Frantz. 2008. Black Skin, White Masks. Trans. Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press.

Fletcher, Judith. 2008. A Trickster’s Oaths in the “Homeric Hymn to Hermes”. The American Journal of Philology 129(1): 19-46.

Grau, Marion. 2014. Refiguring Theological Hermeneutics: Hermes, Trickster, Fool. New York: Palgrave|Macmillan.

Griffith, David. (Director and Producer). 1915. The Birth of a Nation [Motion Picture]. United States: David W. Griffith Corp.

Hountondji, Paulin. 2002. The Struggle for Meaning: Reflections on Philosophy, Culture, and Democracy in Africa. Trans. John ContehMorgan. Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies.

Masolo, Dismas. 2010. Self and Community in a Changing World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Marechera, Dambudzo. 1990. The Black Insider. London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Marechera, Dambudzo. 1993. The House of Hunger. Oxford: Heinemann.

Marriott, David. 2000. On Black Men. New York: Columbia University Press.

Mbembe, Achille. 2015. Critique de la raison nègre. Paris: La Découverte. Mungwini, Pascah. Indigenous Shona Philosophy: Reconstructive Insights. Pretoria: UNISA Press.

Neville, Bernie. 1992. The Charm of Hermes: Hillman, Lyotard, and the Postmodern Condition. Journal of Analytical Psychology 37: 337-353.

Ngo, Helen. 2017. The Habits of Racism: A Phenomenology of Racism and Racialized Embodiment. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Njoku, Francis. 2005. Ethnophilosophy and Hermeneutics: Reviewing Okere’s Critique of Traditional African Philosophy. In African Philosophy and the Hermeneutics of Culture: Essays in Honour of Theophilus Okere. Eds. J. Obi Oguejiofor and Godfrey Igwebuike Onah. Munster: Lit Verlag.

Nkrumah, Kwame. 1970. Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Nnoruka, Sylvanus. 2005. The Paradigmatic Status of Western Philosophy in Okere’s Philosophical Hermeneutics, in African Philosophy and the Hermeneutics of Culture: Essays in Honour of Theophilus Okere. Eds. J. Obi Oguejiofor and Godfrey Igwebuike Onah. Munster: Lit Verlag.

Okere, Theophilus. 1983. African Philosophy: A Historico-Hermeneutical Investigation of the Conditions of its Possibility. Lanham: University Press of America.

Ramose, Mogobe. 1999. African Philosophy Through Ubuntu. Harare: Mond Books.

Ramose, Mogobe. 2003. “African Renaissance”: A Northbound Gaze. In: The African Philosophy Reader: A Text With Readings. Eds. P.H. Coetzee and A.P.J. Roux. London: Routledge.

Ramose, Mogobe. 2016. Towards the Betterment of Human Relations. Dialogue and Universalism 4: 69-85.

Serequeberhan, Tsenay. 1994. The Hermeneutics of African Philosophy: Horizon and Discourse. New York: Routledge.

Serequeberhan, Tsenay. 2015. Existence and Heritage: Hermeneutic Explorations in African and Continental Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Van Bladel, Kevin. 2009. The Arabic Hermes: From Pagan Sage to Prophet of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

West, Cornel. 2002. Prophecy Deliverance!: An Afro-American Revolutionary Christianity Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Wright, Alexis. 2006. Carpentaria. Artarmon: Giramondo Publishing Company.


  • There are currently no refbacks.