African Philosophy of Education Reconsidered
On being human
By Yusef Waghid
Routledge – 2014 – 148 pages
Much of the literature on the African philosophy of education juxtaposes two philosophical strands as mutually exclusive entities; traditional ethnophilosophy on the one hand, and ‘scientific’ African philosophy on the other. While traditional ethnophilosophy is associated with the cultural artefacts, narratives, folklore and music of Africa’s people, ‘scientific’ African philosophy is primarily concerned with the explanations, interpretations and justifications of African thought and practice along the lines of critical and transformative reasoning. These two alternative strands of African philosophy invariably impact understandings of education in different ways: education constituted by cultural action is perceived to be mutually independent from education constituted by reasoned action.
Yusef Waghid argues for an African philosophy of education guided by communitarian, reasonable and culture dependent action in order to bridge the conceptual and practical divide between African ethnophilosophy and ‘scientific’ African philosophy. Unlike those who argue that African philosophy of education cannot exist because it does not invoke reason, or that reasoned African philosophy of education is just not possible, Waghid suggests an African philosophy of education constituted by reasoned, culture-dependent action.
This book provides an African philosophy aimed at developing a conception of education that can contribute towards imagination, deliberation, and responsibility - actions that can help to enhance justice in educative relations, both in Africa and throughout the world. This book will be essential reading for researchers and academics in the field of the philosophy of education, especially those wanting to learn from the African tradition.
‘This is a work from an African philosopher whose status and authority are growing internationally. It argues for a new approach to African philosophy of education, showing how it can be transformed from its previous cultural and rational roots into a new approach to problems of education, social justice and education policy-making from a communitarian stand-point. Waghid argues for an education and social justice policy approach underpinned by understanding and application of the values of "Ubuntu" (African humaneness and interdependency) as pathways for our onward journey towards justice and reconciliation. This is view and a recommendation which should be more widely shared among wider international communities. Its resonance at the present time would be widely welcomed and applicable around the world.’ - D N Aspin, Formerly Dean, Faculties of Education, Monash University, Australia and King’s College London, UK
Introduction: African Philosophy of Education as a Practice 2: In Defence of a Communitarian View of African Philosophy of Education 3: Religion, Ethics and Aesthetics in African Metaphysics and Epistemology 4: Towards a Different Understanding of African Education: Reconstituting the Place of Ubuntu 5: On Enacting Ubuntu, Democratic Citizenship Education and the Enlargement of Moral Imagination: Learning and Teaching in South Africa 6: On Education and Human Rights in Africa: Restating the Claims of Cosmopolitan Justice 7: On Educational Change and the Illusion of Inclusion: Against Exclusion on the African Continent Postscript: Terrorism and the Challenges to African Philosophy of Education
Yusef Waghid is Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.