Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions

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The question of African communalism and the antithesis of democracy

Isaiah A. Negedu, Solomon O. Ojomah


In this paper, we argue that communalism is not uniquely African. It comes in different forms of social and psychological thinking which can be found in any culture and society whether capitalistic or socialistic where the notion of social belongingness through reasoned reflection transcends the desire for personal gratification. We claim that some values of communalism such as altruism, mutual cooperation, complementarity etc., can be useful in shaping a viable system of democracy for Africa, not because communalism is unique to Africa, but because it is not. We contend that part of the challenges of democratic practice in Africa is the inclination to extreme form of individualism embedded in its capitalist roots. We show that the structure of democracy can evolve to adapt to changes mediated by communal values. Using the methods of hermeneutics and conversational thinking, we will argue that democratic practice in Africa can profit from communalism and should be restructured to admit relevant communal values.

Keywords: African, Communalism, African Communalism, Democracy, Communalistic Democracy

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