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The Crisis of Identity in Africa: A Call for Subjectivity

by Thomas Kochalumchuvattil

Jun 1, 2010
This article points to the African crisis in identity and considers the role of the Ubuntu philosophy in the recovery of the African identity and self respect while at the same time arguing that it is insufficient in itself to consistently bring about the growth of freedom and responsibility that are the marks of true personhood. The prevalence of communalism in African society is identified as the main barrier to the process of subjective becoming. This argument is developed in the second section where communalism is presented as being rooted in the African's cosmic vision. In the third section, one finds that the lack of recognition of self-hood is attributed to the excessive objectification or over-determination of the cultural community. The fourth section briefly introduces Kierkegaard's call for subjectivity as a guiding framework to overcome oppressive communalism in the African situation.