“Rural Development” and the Search for an African Development Paradigm

“Rural Development” and the Search for an African Development Paradigm

Sebeka Richard Plaatjie (University of South Africa, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2306-3.ch001

Abstract

This chapter departs from the premise that African problems demand not African solutions but solutions founded on the principles of African culture and philosophy. The chapter analyzes hegemonic Euro-American-centric ideas of development and rural development from the perspective of the African philosophy of ubuntu. This chapter per the author dismisses the idea of “rural development” because it argues that “rural” is an oxymoron in African culture and philosophy and thus a discourse of a colonial heritage. The chapter understands “rural development” as a narrow Euro-American-centric construction founded on the principles of economism and classism of the Western philosophical ethic and which, according to the chapter, needs decolonization through ubuntu. The chapter further suggests pathways towards an African “rural development” paradigm.
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African Philosophy

African philosophy has been a subject of much public and academic debate in recent times. Key amongst the contentious issues raised in the debate by scholars of the Western philosophical tradition, is whether African philosophy exists. To pose this question differently, the question is whether Africans are at all philosophical beings, to begin with, and whether they are inherently capable of doing philosophy.

It is thanks to Ramose’s incisive book African Philosophy through Ubuntu, and especially the chapter on The struggle for reason in Africa that this question is summarily put to rest, and its naked racist foundation is explicitly exposed. The fact that philosophy is a derivative of ontology and epistemology, simply suggest that all human beings are inherently philosophical beings. This is because all human beings have the capacity to rationalize the world in which they live in. This further suggests that African philosophy and the philosophy of ubuntu in particular, have long been in existence, side by side with Western philosophy (Ramose 2003).

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