Volume 5, Issue 2, 2016
The African Predicament and a Case for Singer’s ‘Samaritanism’: An Existentialist Interpretation
Africa has always been viewed as a land of the world’s greatest potential. It has been described ad nauseam as a land of abundant natural and human resources, the cradle of civilization and the bastion of man’s natural spirituality. In spite of this apparent superlative richness, the present African condition is also well documented as a paradox. If Africa is this resource rich, why is it so backward and economically poor? In line with the existentialist notion of solicitude and care, this paper argues for a case of global ‘Samaritanism’, that is, an unsolicited care for the other that is nonetheless morally obligatory by virtue of a shared world and common existence. Drawing insight from the submission of Peter Singer, this paper posits that, if we have the capacity to intervene and prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought morally to do it. This paper’s contribution to existing knowledge rests on the extension of Singer’s principle of ‘Samaritanism’ (hitherto restricted to doling out goods and money) to include solicitude and actionable intervention on life-threatening human conditions of whatever kind.