Afrophone Philosophies

ISBN 978-3-89645-251-1

Afrophone Philosophies

Reality and Challenge

Author: Alena Rettová.

Series: TIAS Topics in Interdisciplinary African Studies Volume 7

447 pp.
2 figures, appendix
Format: 150 x 215 mm
690 g
€ 69.80

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Publisher: Zdeněk Susa, Středokluky (Czech Republic) 2007.

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The point of departure of this publication is philosophy – more precisely African philosophy and the question of the possibility of using African languages in philosophical discourse. The book sees Afrophone literatures as a prominent locus of philosophical discourse in African cultures. Thus, it investigates literary works in six African languages (Ndebele, Shona, Lingala, Swahili, Bambara, Yoruba) and reads them with respect to their contribution to philosophy.

Aspiring towards an intercultural exchange, the author has tried to bring various literatures and cultures closer to a mutual exchange of ideas. Individual chapters show Swahili writers in dialogue with Western thought, existentialist novels in the Swahili and Shona languages, Ndebele ethnic and cultural identity as portrayed by Ndebele intellectuals and by Shona writers, Ndebele and Bambara historiographies, various approaches to Yoruba, Shona, and Ndebele oral literatures, and analyses of Swahili, Shona, and Lingala imaginative writing.



Acknowledgements – Note on translations and quotations – Introduction

Part I:             History, Method, Programme

Chapter 1:
Towards Afrophone philosophies

Part II:            Tradition and Identity

Chapter 2:
Inkos’ uLobhengula yasinyamalala: The attitude to tradition in Ndebele theoretical writing

Chapter 3:
Mɔgɔ tɛ i ka jiri dannen bɛɛ den dun: Modern historiography in African languages

Chapter 4:
MaDzviti akauya unoita sei? The image of the Ndebele in Patrick Chakaipa’s Karikoga Gumiremiseve

Chapter 5:
Isinamuva liyabukwa: Proverbs and philosophy

Chapter 6:
Ki ohun kan ki o ma ba pa ohun mọ lẹnu: Behavioural interpretation of oral literature

Part III:           Reality and Ontological Experimentation

Chapter 7:
Tulikuwa watatu, EGO, ID na SUPEREGO: Metaphysics, epistemology and ontology in Euphrase Kezilahabi’s Nagona and Mzingile

Chapter 8:
Manje, sekudya kwatinoitawo sadza, zvimwe chete nehupenyu: Existentialism in Swahili and Shona literatures

Chapter 9:
Safari hii tusiwe na pupa ya kushusha utambuzi: The creation of a world in W.E. Mkufya’s Ziraili na Zirani

Chapter 10:
Twaienzi dhahiri: Defining “reality” in William E. Mkufya’s Ziraili na Zirani

Part IV:          Fiction and Philosophy

Chapter 11:
Tamkeni Akirikifuk: Imaginative writing and philosophy

By way of an afterword


Appendix 1: Karikoga Gumiremiseve

Appendix 2-7: Ziraili na Zirani


About the author:

Alena Rettová holds a PhD from Charles University, Prague, and is now Professor for African and Afrophone Philosophy at the University of Bayreuth/Germany.

Under these links you will find publications by the author, among them her introduction to the works and the life of the Congolesian writer and musician Sando Marteau, and further studies of intercultural philosophy:

Accompanying material:


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