Volume 7, Issue 2, 2010
Ronald Olufemi Badru
Reparations for Africa
Providing Metaphysical and Epistemological Grounds of Justice to the Descendants of Dehumanised Generation
The paper adopts philosophical research methodologies of conceptual clarification, critical analysis, and extensive argumentation. It attempts to jointly employ African metaphysical and epistemological grounds to address the problem of finding appropriate justification for reparations for Africa on the issue of past slavery and slave trade. The paper states that the crux of the problem is how to formulate a coherent theoretical framework, which provides a strong connection between the direct victims of slavery and slave trade and their descendants in Africa, on the basis of which the latter could justifiably claim for restitutive justice against the wrong done to the former. Western traditional accounts usually define reparations such that the concept only intelligibly applies to moral relations among contemporaries, not between the departed and the living. This reasoning, therefore, forecloses any moral relations between the departed and the living, making it morally unjustifiable for the latter to claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the former. However, this study re-thinks the concept of reparations, using two core areas of African philosophy. African metaphysics recognizes that an experiential being is ontologically connected to the other, that is, any other experiential being and spirits, inclusive of ancestors. This relationship also invariably closes the epistemological gap between the experiential and non-experiential worlds, making them a unity within African cosmology. Situated within the present study, the foregoing shows that the living could justifiably claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the departed, the direct victims of slavery and slave trade.