HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 41 no. 2 (2012)

Humanities and the Dilemma of African Modernity

Adeshina L. Afolayan

Discipline: Education, Humanities



This essay tries to place the humanities in Africa squarely within the process of articulating an “agonistic imaginary” that is crucial in creating an African modernity. The humanities, in spite of the growing crisis in African university curricula (within the context of African development, that is), could and should serve as an intellectual catalyst towards the creation of a pedagogical atmosphere. Such an atmosphere is necessary for conceptualising an imaginary around which an African modern existence can emerge. In the words of Aloni (1997, 93), a humanistic education will therefore serve as “a formative and self-defining process that is driven by a natural need for self-actualization.” It must be “facilitated by reliance on inner motivation, self-respect, self-regulation, stimulating environment and supportive and dialogical human relations.”