Heinz Kimmerle, Rotterdam


The Philosophical Text in the African Oral Tradition

The Opposition of Oral and Literate and the Politics of Difference


1. Against the Eurocentrism of the opposition of oral and literate

                  Most of the philosophical wisdom in Africa has been handed down from generation to generation in a way which can be described as mainly oral. That is also the case with what is called "oral literature". This concept which is in use in the science of intercultural literature makes clear that it is wrong to speak of an opposition between oral and literate. There are elements of writing in a mainly oral tradition and ele­ments of orality in a mainly literate tradition. Departing from Jacques Derrida's Gramma­tology a broad concept of writing can be introdu­ced accor­ding to which wri­ting is of the same age as language in general. [1] Broken branches of a bush, pictures on the body, traces in the sand are examples for different kinds of writing. If wri­ting means to produce readable traces, it is connec­ted with human beha­viour of any kind. And as all forms of human behavi­our it is an expression of relati­ons of power. The meaning of a trace is not neutral, but connected with feelings of fear or respect, sorrow or carelessness.

   In his Grammatology Jacques Derrida has also worked out that the opposi­tion of oral and lite­ra­te belongs to the European way of thinking which is in its core oppositional. This can be shown by pointing at oppositions as soul and body, heaven and earth, good and bad, true and false, upper and lower class etc. This way of thinking generally can be called hierarchic; one of the two is always higher or more powerful. That means with regard to the opposi­tion of oral and litera­te, that it is Euro­cen­tric. This is shown by Derrida by disclosing a strange paradox in the main stream of European philosophical traditi­on. From Plato via Rous­seau to Hegel there is a clear prefe­rence of orality above literacy. Writing is only a help for the memory, not to forget what has been said orally. In accor­dance with that a culture should be preferred which is mainly oral in its forms of communication and tradition. But para­doxi­cally the valuation is vice versa. Mainly literate cultu­res are highly preferred above mainly oral ones.

                  Of course, it would not help at all to invert this hierarchy. The opposi­tion as such has to be avoided, and mainly oral cultures should be situated on the same level as mainly lite­ra­te ones. They are not higher or lower in any sense, but just different. This intervention in the way of thinking clearly is in itself politically relevant. The politics of difference turns out to be basically democratic in the sense of treating all human cultures as equals.

This intervention can be worked out more in detail with regard to African philosophy. I should like to make clear what diffe­rent forms of partly oral and partly literate traditions we can find in African philoso­phy. In doing that I will start with the written sources of Ethiopian philosophy (2). Ethno­philosophy holds a strange position in between oral language and written texts (3). Finally I want to show that in the oral tradition of sage philosophy certain elements of writing can be found (4). The broad range of orality and literacy is not given in order to belittle the importance of the transition from mainly oral forms of communica­tion and tradition in African philosophy to mainly literate ones in the academic philosophy of contemporary African countries south of the Sahara (5). On the contrary, the meaning of this transition can hardly be over­estimated and it would be a huge task to balance in detail what is lost and what is won by it.

2. Written sources of Ethiopian philosophy

In the language of the old coptic church in Ethiopia, the Ge'ez, there are handed down not only written documents of theology and ecclesiastical teaching or administration. Claude Sumner, Canadian by birth and Ethiopian by choice, has found rich sources of Ethiopian philosophy among these documents. It was a tremendous lot of work to read and translate all of them into English. Recently he has published a short version of some 150 pages from the whole corpus which contains six volu­mes. [2]

  Manuscripts with the titles "The Physiologue" from the 5th century and "Book of the Philosophers" from the 16th century clear­ly belong to a theological and philoso­phical context. If you want to classify the con­tents according to well-known philo­sophical discipli­nes, one could say that in the oldest manu­scripts besides symbolic allusions to animals and plants (Jezus, e.g., is compa­red with a phoenix or a peli­can, the love of children for their parents with the way young lapwings take care of their father) there can be found before all cosmologi­cal conceptions and ethical instructions. The "Book of the Philosophers" contains wise sayings which "are attribu­ted usually to Greek philosophers, but occasi­onally to Roman personages, to Old Testament figures and to Christi­ans". Three examples from 3.020 sayings may be enough in order to give an impression what kind of texts we are speaking about: (1) "You do not store wisdom in containers, but in your chest"; (2) "All knowledge is obtained through justice"; (3) "He who misses a brother misses the flavour of life". [3]

Both texts are "translations" from originals which came from Egypt or via Egypt from Europe. To "translate" means in this context always at the same time to "adapt" to the African situation. A process of appropri­ation takes place which forms an independent philosophical achieve­ment.

  The manuscript "The Life and Maxims of Skendes", also from the 16th century, starts with a piece of biography. A tragic conflict which reminds us of the fate of Oedipus, forms the core of this text. Skendes wants to falsify the anthropologi­cal statement of a "wise master" that all women are prostitu­tes. Therefore he tries, when he comes back home after a long absence, to seduce his own mother who does not recognize him any more. He only stops with this experiment and discloses his identity, when it is clear that he could do it. As a conse­quence of this, his mother commits suicide, and he puni­shes himself by vowing not to speak a word again. As a sage at the court of the king, however, he gets the task to give advice and to answer questions to people who come to ask him. Thus he has no choice but deal with the questions by writing down his answers. That is the reason why this sage who was accustomed to teach and to discuss orally started to write. The second part of the manuscript contains a piece of written African sagaci­ty. We find here two series of questions and answers: the first comprises 55 and the second 108 questi­ons and ans­wers. In this case it happens to be the translati­on-adaption of an Arabic original.

I shall give three examples of these kinds of questions and the answers which are well-considered, pithy, highly specula­tive and at the same time practically orientated: (1) "They questioned the wise man and said to him: 'What is the soul?' He answered: 'The soul is a heavenly fire, an immortal creatu­re like the angels, a lamp ... a good and ratio­nal fire, full of knowled­ge, an intelligence; it speaks, stimulates and teaches reason to the body.'" (2) "They questi­oned the wise man and said to him: 'What is water?' He answe­red: 'Water is more powerful than all the creatures; it is healthful; it is below the depth and above the skies; it supports the earth and also the sky; it surrounds the whole world like a crown; it is stron­ger than all creatures; it feeds all; it is the nourish­ment for all animated beings ...'". (3) "They questioned the wise man and said to him: 'What is sleep?' He answered: 'Sleep is the best of physici­ans; it is the image of death, the misery of passi­onate longings, the joy of all spririt of life, the remembran­ce of darkness, a daily remembrance.'" [4]

The most important philosophical work of this tradition, which is no translation, but quite originally Ethiopian, is a trea­tise of Zera Yacob, titled: "Hatata", which means according to Sumner "to question bit by bit, piece-meal; to search into or through, to investi­gate accurately; to examine; to inspect". It is written in 1667 and forms an Ethiopian counterpart to Descartes' Discours de la methode, which was written some 30 years earlier. Zera Yacob's text is closely connected with the early Portugese mission in Ethiopia. (In 1626 king Susenyos was conver­ted to the Roman catholic faith.) Zera Yacob tries to find his own way in judging the controversial discussions between jewish, coptic, islamic, and Roman catholic theologi­ans. The criteria of truth which he chooses are reason and nature, both of which are created by God and therefore are good. This type of investigation leads him to refute polygamy as well as celibacy and to criticize slavery as well as any form of violence. [5]

The Treatise is thought out when Zera Yacob had to hide from king Susenyos who persecuted him because of his religious convicti­on. It is written down, when one of his disciples, Walda Haywat, who later wrote a Treatise himself, asked the master to do so. "Although Walda Heywat's ideas are essential­ly those of his master, his presentation of them is remarkable for its pedagogical qualities". He stresses before all the "value of work", the "equality of human beings", and the "beauty of marriage and family life". [6]

I hope to have shown, that for and within the written sources of Ethio­pian philosophy oral forms of communication and tradi­tion are very important. It is by chance that sages as Skendes and Zera Yacob have written down their teachings, and without further investigation we can presuppose that there have been other Ethopian sages in similar situati­ons of teaching and giving advice to people who did not write down their wisdom, because there was no specific reason to do so.

3. Ethnophilosophy between spoken languages and written texts

In the same line with disciplines as ethnology and ethnography which deal with African ethnic groups, also ethnoscience and ethnome­thology and finally ethnophilosophy have emerged. As we all know, the status of ethnophilosophy has been heavily in dispute. As it deals with implicit philosop­hies, which can be found in myths, legends, rituals, proverbs or quite generally in the structure of languages and which are not worked out as philo­sophy by members of the concerned ethnic group, the philoso­phical character of them is denied by many African and non-African authors. Paulin Hountondji argues in his "Critique of ethnophi­losophy" that Placide Tempels, the father of this kind of philosophy, chooses wrong starting points and comes to illicit consequences dealing only with one African language, [7] and that the philosophical claim of a thought which does not present itself as philosophical has to be rejected. [8] Although Hountondji has modified his position in the meantime his argumentation in the mentioned book recently has strongly been affirmed by the editors of its German translation. [9]

This criticism is countered by the fact that African philoso­phy only is put on the agenda of international scientific debate by Tempels' investi­gation of the language and the thought of the Luba, a Bantu people in an area which belongs now to Zaïre and Rwanda. The weak­ness of his starting point, dealing only with one single Bantu group, is compensated strongly by the broad comparative research of Bantu languages by Alexis Kagame, [10] and the productiveness of investigating the wisdom which is contained in myths, legends and proverbs is proved repeatedly by quite a number of texts which are written by African authors. [11] These works cannot simply be put aside as being unphiloso­phical. Also another argument of Hountondji cum suis, that ethnophilo­sop­hy, being directed at traditio­nal wisdom only, escapes actual questi­ons, especially those of political philosophy, cannot be maintained. The wisdom of traditional communities is continuously adapted to the actual situation and it is also relevant for philosophical questions of present times.

  That Tempels, Kagame and Mbiti have develo­ped their research depar­ting from theological and missionary presuppositions surely is problema­tic and deserves to be criticized. But this is the critique of one aspect, not of the whole enterprise. And Tempels' basic in­sight, that in Bantu thought not "being" is the most general category, but "force", seems to be valid, indeed, for most of Africa south of the Sahara. We meet with the concept of "life force" in this basic sense, when we - with Griaule - try to listen to the Dogon sage Ogotemmêli, when we read Koloß' analysis of the world-view in Oku in the Grassland of Cameroon or when we look at the Minkisi, the power statues of the King­dom of Kongo. [12]

Another topic of the critique is that ethnophilosophy is not thought out by individual thinkers, but by a whole people or other collective groups. In that respect also H. Odera Oruka makes a difference between "Sage philosophy", which he has put on the agenda of the debate on African philosophy (see chapter 4), and ethnophi­losophy. In a collective thought no dispute between different opinions and no critical discussion would be possible which, according to him, essentially belongs to philosophy. Ethnophi­losophy would try to express the unanimous thought of a whole ethnic group which does not exist in reality. [13] This critical view strangely contrasts with the broad, differentiated and surely also critical discussions which have taken place around the project of ethnophilosophy.

However, we can only come to a decision in this difficult question, if we take into account that ethnophilosophy is constituted by two different instances: the myths, proverbs and language structures on the one hand, the authors, who make a philosophical text of them, on the other hand. Only when both instances do exist together, ethnophilosophy emerges. Myth, legends or proverbs are not already philosophy by them­selves. And also the opposi­te is true: the authors who concep­tualize ethnophilos­op­hical texts do not take them out of their own ideas. The former belong to the spoken language, which is for all kinds of philos­ophy (that is to say: not only for ethnophilosophy, for it, however, in a very specific way) a constitu­tive starting point of philoso­phizing. The latter produce written texts, which become part of the history of conti­nuous interpreta­tion and critique. Ethnophilos­ophy is constituted com­monly by spoken language and written texts. From the interaction of both instances ethno­philosophy emerges as philosophy.

For our problem it is interesting that in between spoken language and ethno­philosophical text other kinds of texts are to be found which are not directly philosophical: collections of proverbs, written versions of myths and legends or the construction of "belief systems" in anthropological literature. Ethnophilosophy can critically make use of these kinds of texts by relating them to the spoken language from which they have been drawn.

  From ethnophilosophy another step leads us to "sage philoso­phy", which has been handed down during the centuries mainly in an oral way and which is written down and interpreted nowadays in the context of academic African philosophy. I shall try to trace within the oral forms of communication and tradition certain elements of textuality.

4. Textual elements in the oral tradition of "sage philosophy"

"Sage philosophy" has become known by H. Odera Oruka. He himself is the son of a wise man (sage) of the Luo: Oruka Rang'inya. But he has also got an education in Western philos­ophy in Sweden and the USA. According to me it is his special merit to have recognized that the thoughts of his father and the teachings at Western Philosophy Depart­ments essentially are the same thing. Who knows whether, without this personal coin­cidence, the philosophical status of traditional African wisdom would ever have been discovered at all. If "sage philosophy" once is recognized as philosophy, certain well known philoso­phical authors can be regarded as sages. Odera Oruka gives three examples for that: Mahat­ma Gandhi, Vladimir I. Lenin, and John Rawls. [14]

It is remarkable that the institution of the sages in African societies has not been noticed by all the research which is done by cultural anthrolpo­logy through about 150 years. Oruka determines clearly that the sages are different from elders, priests, medicine men or prophets, although there may happen to be personal unions. Ogotemmêli, the Dogon elder, who has confidentially told his wisdom to Griaule, accor­ding to Odera Oruka is not a sage, nor are the "onisegun", Yoruba people dispo­sing of medical wisdom, who have been interviewed by B. Hallen and J.O. Sodipo. [15] The article of M. Tshiamalenga Ntumba on African Wisdom with the Luba and the book of A. Hampaté Bâ on Tierno Bokar, the "sage of Bandiagara", who was at the same time an islamic scholar, make clear that we should not use a too narrow concept of a sage. [16] Besides that, it is a wrong statement of Odera Oruka, that Kwame Gyekye in his book on The Akan conceptional Scheme did not really give the teachings of Akan sages, because he did not cite them perso­nally. [17] For Gyekye does not only give their names, he also informs about the place and date of the discussions which he has had with Opanin Apenkwa, Opanin Kofi Adu, Ankobeahene and other Akan sages. He does so in the notes, which are printed back in the book, and not in the text itself. [18]

A last difficulty which I have with the presentation of sages by Odera Oruka is the sharp difference which he makes between "folk sages" and "philosophical sages". On the one hand it is true that not all philosophy is of the same status. Wiredu has rightly pointed at the fact that you may not compare highly elaborated Western philosophical thought with African folk wisdom. [19] Nevertheless, the border line between folk wisdom and philosophical sagacity cannot always easily be drawn. Why, for instance, is Peris Njuho Muthoni, a wise woman of the Kikuyu, a folk sage, while Stephen M'Mukinda Kithanje is classified as a philosop­hical sage of the Meru people. The criteria which Oruka is applying are taken over from Western philosophy, which he has got acquainted with in Sweden and the USA.

Thus the classification of the sages shows us which type of philosophy is chosen as a yardstick. Oruka and his research team have written down what the sages have said answering questions which were put to them in order to find out what the sages had to say with regard to certain main topics of philosophy as they are taught at Western universities. This procedure is used with care, I must admit, as we can see from some remarks in the dissertation of Anthony Sunday Oseghare. There we read: "The philosop­her does not ... permit himself to dominate the conversati­on and even more importantly, is very clearly dispo­sed to allow argu­ments of the sage to influence his own views and opinions." [20] But no endeavour is made to grasp and take as a starting point the situation in which the sages traditional­ly have formulated their thought and their teaching. I should like to circumscribe this critique by saying that the specific textuality of the forms of communication and tradition of sage philosop­hy is not taken seriously.

How the situation in which the sages have thought and lived, has looked like practically, we can derive from some remarks in the Intro­duction of Oruka's book. Sages belong to the guards of a society who help this society to survive in theoretical and practical respect. They defend and maintain its existence under the hard conditions of interso­cietal conflicts and mutual expolitation. A short description of this situation we find, too, in the article of a Nigerian philosopher, Jim I. Unah, who refers to a text of a colleague of his own faculty in Lagos, Campbell Shittu Momoh, but strangely enough not to Odera Oruka. Momoh rightly puts a question mark by the charac­terization "traditional" thought for the philosophy of his ancestors, because this notion is meant already in an evoluti­o­nist and a devaluating sense. Unah writes literally: "Ancient African philos­ophy deals with ... the strenuous attempts of African elders to ponder over the mysteries of the universe, the hostility of the environment, the difficulty of living with fellow beings, human and non-human, the desire to esta­blish and live in a stable society, the necessity to communi­cate freely with others, and to know and master the environ­ment either through cooperation or by conquest." [21] Gyekye's presentation of the teaching of the sages shows us, that these persoms often have been asked to give advice, and that they have given it finally in the form of a proverb, so that we can regard them as the authors of a certain kind of proverbs.

In my book on African Philosophy I have derived from such descrip­tions that the situation of formulating and handing down sagacity has been one of teaching and giving advice. I have characterized "certain ways of stage-mana­ging ... of the situation of tel­ling and teaching" in sage philosophy as textual elements in an oral tradition. This is described more in detail as follows: "To break and eat together a colanut belongs as well to the situation of asking for advice as the pause of silence before the announcing of an important decisi­on ... Repeating the same formulas has been as important in this connection as giving shape to new ideas." [22] We could add to this, that a young man becomes a sage not only by learning the contents of sagacity, but also by taking over the whole attitude and way of life of his master.

It is obvious that I have used a broad concept of text when speaking of textual elements in the oral tradition of sage philosophy. We have seen in the beginning of this contribution that such a concept of text belongs to a new conception of writing as it is worked out by Derrida, and that this concep­tion allows us to overcome the Eurocentric opposition of cultures who know writing and others who do not.

5. The transition from mainly oral to mainly written forms of com­munication and tradition in African political and acade­mic philosop­hy since about 1960

The leaders of the struggle for independence have written down and published as articles and books a certain kind of politi­cal philoso­phy. A lot of their speeches which they have deli­vered at conferences, party meetings etc. are also printed and broadly distributed. All these texts function as sagaci­ous reasoning for the sake of a whole people or even the totality of colonized peoples in Africa. These authors acted as sages and made their sagacity known to a broad public by writing it down and publishing it. I am thinking of persons as Jomo Ken­yatta, Léopold Senghor, Amilcar Cabral, Sékou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah or Julius Nyerere. It is a categorical mistake to read their texts as docu­ments of academic political philosophy. These persons are sages and it is the specific situation of their teaching and advising that they utter themselves mainly in a written way. One can easily see that they com­bine in their sagacity Western political ideas of socialism and libe­ralism with traditi­onal African thoughts of communalism and solidari­ty. Through the conditions of this situation, pieces of Afri­can sagacity have become parts of the literature of the world, and they also belong to this context.

We get a very different type of literature when we look at articles and books functioning in connection with the Depart­ments of Philosophy at African univer­sities. These are for 90 percent texts from Western philos­ophical origin. In this connection we could better speak of "phi­los­ophy in Africa" than of "African philosophy", although, of course, the selec­tion which is made and the way in which it is used in teaching and in research, is already an Africanization of Western philosophies. Besides the teaching of Western philosophy at the Univer­sity of Ghana in Legon, for instance, there is 1 of the 12 philosophical courses dealing with African phi­loso­phy, and at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria 2 of the 35 courses. These two exam­ples can give an impression of the general situation.

If one questions this strange proportion, an explanation can be found in the fact that traditional or ancient African philosophy has not been academic in a Western sense of the word and that it has to be transfor­med in order to make it fit into the academic context. On the other hand one could expect that the use of ancient African philosophy in the academic context will not leave this context unchanged. We have seen that the way in which ethnophilosophy is judged and sages are inter­viewed by academic African philo­sophers is depending on a Western view of philosophy. In doing so, the distinguishing marks of Western aca­demic style are not really applied in a critical way, although one of these marks them­selves says that you have to be criti­cal, even radically critical. Thus an African academic philo­sopher who is missing a critical attitude with a "traditio­nal" sage and is calling him or her a "folk sage" for that reason, could be asked whether he or she is using the notion "criti­cal" in a radi­cal way.  A. Hampaté Bâ recognizes the enormous difficulties which he is facing when he tries to write down what the oral teachings of Tierno Bokar have been. He stresses that much of the diversity and the force of these teachings, which they have had in the context of mainly oral communi­cation, gets lost, when they are written down and printed in a book which can be read at any place and any time. And he is also conscious of the tragic situation that these teachings would be lost forever, if they were not preserved in such a deficient way. [23] On the other hand there are advantages of the written version. They make these teachings preservable and comparable in a nearly univer­sal manner. What had been kept in an individual memory, beco­mes part of a stock of knowledge which can grow exponentially.

  If the opposition of oral and written is dissolved, we have to speak of several mixed forms. African philosophy comprises texts in alpha­betical writing (in the Ethiopian philosophy), a strange coincidence of spoken languages and a reflection upon them in written forms (in ethnophi­losophy) and textual elements in mainly oral traditions (in the philosophy of the sages). Since philosophy is an academic subject in Africa, positi­ons are changed. Written ways of communication and tradition are prevalent now. It belongs to the task of an intercultural dialogue in philosophy, that we try to use Derrida's concept of writing not only to show textual elements in mainly oral traditions, but also oral elements in mainly written forms of communication.

  So we can say that written texts as such have rhetorical aspects, which are expressed in a more or less direct way. The style of writing signifies whether a text has been used for an academic lecture, a busi­ness conver­sation or a publc speech. Written texts are also determined by the occasion in which they were formulated. "Holiday greetings from the seaside or from the mountains are different from a scientific treatise, a shopping list belongs to another occasion than a lyrical poem," although these different ways of writing should not be regarded as unchangea­ble. There might be occasions in which they are mixed or sever­al of them used in the same connection. Personal letters can play a role in a scien­tific context or in historical documen­tations. Also ironical intentions can be the cause for mixing up different ways of writing or using them besides each other. "Therefore it is not in the first instance the knowled­ge of readable signs which is culturally relevant, but the correct feel­ing which style of writing is apt to the occasion. That is the way how oral elements are mixed with written forms of communi­cation." [24]

  It will always be profitable for a philosophical text, if the writer disposes of different styles or if he is able, as in the case of Nietzsche, to write in between diffe­rent styles. [25] Thus, certain dimensions of a language as irony and parody or other forms of disclosing contrasts can be introduced more broadly into the philosophical discourse. If we look at Nietz­sche, philos­ophers of today are still in a process of learn­ing. The dialogue of Wes­tern philosophers with African phi­losophy, which puts the relation of oral and writ­ten tradition and with that the question of style on the agenda, can lead to an acceleration of this process. In any case this dialogue will make a contribution to conceptualize more openly what to understand by a philosophical text, to discover in it new possi­bilities how to express philosophical issues in a more differentiated manner. I hope, this lecture gives an example for the advantage which Western philosophers can draw from a dialogue with African philos­ophy. Even more important would it be, if by now the hierarchical view on the philosophies of different cultures is getting abandoned, and the eyes are going open for differences which are situated on the same level.


1     J. Derrida: De la grammatologie. Paris 1967, p. 164/165.

2     C. Sumner: The Source of African Philosophy. The Ethiopi­an Phi­losophy of Man. Stuttgart 1986.

3     Loc.cit., p. 30/31.

4     Loc. cit., p. 113, 119.

5     Loc. cit., p. 38/39 and 123-132.

6     Loc. cit., p. 41.

7     P. Tempels: Bantu Philosophy. Paris (Présence Africaine) 1959.

P.J. Hountondji: African Philosophy. Myth and Reality. London 1983.

G.R. Hoffmann and Ch. Neugebauer in: P.J. Hountondji: Afrikanische Philoso­phie. Mythos und RealitÄt. Berlin 1993, p. 219-240

10  A. Kagame: La philosophie Bantu comparée. Paris (Présen­ce Africaine) 1976.

11   J.S. Mbiti: African Religions and Philosophy. London 1969; K. Gyekye: An Essay on African Philosophical Thought. The Akan Conceptual Scheme. Cambridge 1987; G.J. Wanjohi: The Philosophy of Gikuyu Proverbs. An Epistemological Contri­buti­on. In: H. Oosterling/F. de Jong (eds), Denken unterwegs. Philo­sophie im Kräftefeld sozialen und politischen Engage­ments. Amsterdam 1990, p. 383-394.

12   M. Griaule: Conservations with Ogotemmeli. An Introducti­on into Dogon Religious Ideas. Introduced by G. Dieterlen. London 1965; H.J. Koloß: Feyin und die Lehre vom Keyus. Zum religiäsen Weltbild in Oku. In: Baessler-Archiv. Neue Folge. Bad XXXV, 1987/88, p. 383-453; Astonishment and Power. Kongo Minkisi and the Art of René Stout. Exhibition in the National Museum of African Art in Washington, April 28, 1993 - January 2, 1994.

13 H. Odera Oruka: Sage Philosophy. Indigenous Thinkers and Modern Debate on African Philosophy. Leiden/New York/Koben­havn/Köln 1990, p. XXI/XXII.

14   Loc. cit., p. XVIII.

15  B. Hallen/J.O. Sodipo: Knowledge, Belief and Witchcraft. Analytic Experi­ments in African Philosophy. London 1986.

16  M.T. Ntumba: Afrikanische Weisheit. Das dialekti­sche Primat des Wir vor dem Ich-Du. In: W. Oelmüller (ed.), Philo­sophie und Weisheit. Pader­born/München/Wien/Zürich 1988, p. 24-38; A.H. Bâ: Vie et enseignement de Tierno Bokar. Le sage de Bandiagara. Paris 1980.

17  Oruka, loc.cit., p. XXV/XXVI.

18  Gyekye, loc. cit., p. 226-229.

19   K. Wiredu: How Not to Compare African Traditional Thought With Western Thought. In: Philosophy and an African Culture. Cambridge 1980, p. 37-50.

20   A.S. Oseghare: The Relevance of Sagacious Reasoning in African Philosophy. Phil. diss. Nairobi 1985, p. 105.

21    J.I. Unah: Disguised Denials of African Philosophy. In: Journal of African Philoso­phy and Studies. Vol. I, nr. 1/2, 1988, p. 51/52.

22 H. Kimmerle: Philosophie in Afrika - afrikanische Phi­losophie. AnnÄherungen an einen interkulturellen Philosophie­begriff. Frankfurt a.M. 1991, p. 60-66, see 65.

23   Bâ, loc. cit., p. 128.

24  Kimmerle: Philosophie in Afrika, loc. cit., p. 65/66.

25  Derrida: Spurs. Nietzsche's Styles. In: Eperons. Les styles de Nietzsche. Edition in four languages (French, Itali­an, English, German). Venice 1976.

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