Volume 28, 2008
Philosophy in Africa
A Contemporary African Philosopher
African philosophy in the twentieth century is largely the work of African intellectuals under the influence of philosophical traditions from the colonial countries. Among them are few names such as Amilcar Cabral, Franz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius Nyerere etc. This paper is an attempt to analyze the political
philosophy of Nkrumah, first President of Republic of Ghana in West Africa. The paper argues that from the African political and economic point of view Nkrumah advocated a socialist system created out of the enculturation of African humanist values with the inherited European political culture and social traditions to liberate unite and integrate Ghana and rest of Africa. Following an interdisciplinary approach this paper assesses Nkrumah’s thought both as an individual, intellectual and as a politician. His book ‘Consciencism’ describes the more political than socio-economic approach to class contradictions in African society. In his ‘Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare’ he talked of three objectives i.e. nationalism, pan-Africanism and socialism. He offered the African liberation
movement a strategy of socialist revolution. Nkrumah who had earlier embraced Gandhian non-violence positive action later adopted the Fanonian lines of revolutionary violence recommending the use of universal method i.e. armed struggle to defeat colonialism.. Nkrumah played an important part in spreading the ideas of socialism in Africa. He had a holistic politico-cultural thought that was reflected in many of his speeches and works. Though critics in his thought have found profound contradictions or confusions but none can obscure the main achievements. Remembered as ‘the redeemer’ by the Africans, he provided the charisma they needed for a leading statesman against any form of imperialism.