Volume 7, Issue 1, 2010
The Importance of Subjectivity in Overcoming Ethnical Conflicts in Africa
a Philosophical Reflection
Africa’s widespread problems are well publicized and none receives more attention than that of periodic outbreaks of ethnic violence. Past events in Rwanda, and in the ongoing conflict in Darfur-Sudan, linger in the memory while the outbreak of postelection violence in Kenya is a more recent example of the seemingly endless capacity of Africa to generate ethnic unrest. The problems of Africa have become the subject of intense philosophical debate and reflection in an effort to find a just and sustainable future for the continent. This contribution to the ongoing debate will argue that the root cause of ethnic violence (and indeed many of Africa’s other problems) is a lack of subjectivity and that the insights of Søren Kierkegaard, with regard to the role of subjectivity in intersubjective relations, will not only give us a perspective on the origins of these problems, but through education, offer a way forward to a more optimistic future.