International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 275

Full Length Research Paper

‘You have no past, no history’ : Philosophy, literature and the re-invention of Africa

Michael Andindilile
  • Michael Andindilile
  • University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 January 2015
  •  Accepted: 25 April 2016
  •  Published: 31 August 2016


Africa has been a victim of misrepresentation since the advent of colonialism. This paper, which is largely based on textual analysis, examines how African philosophy and literature intersect in an attempt to bring about a better understanding of Africa in both the West and Africa itself. The study argues that the intersection of literature and philosophy in African literary discourse we witness is an inevitable consequence of the historical events (including colonialism) that conspired to condemn the continent—as a body—to subjection in the Western world of thought, and the response that this reality solicited from Africans facing the challenges of the Western engineered modernity. The study examines the writing of some of the pioneering modern African writers who have tried to undermine ideas propagated by philosophers such as Hegel—in a typical Eurocentric tradition—to undermine Africa, a continent they hardly understood. The objective is to show that through literature, African writers were able to reveal more about African thought than what has been readily acknowledged.

Key words: Africa, African literature, African philosophy, intersection, African discourse.