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Koers

On-line version ISSN 0023-270X

Abstract

LETSEKA, Matsephe M.  and  VENTER, Elza. How student teachers understand African philosophy. Koers (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.77, n.1, pp. 1-8. ISSN 0023-270X.

The question 'What constitutes African philosophy?' was first raised with the publication of Placide Tempels's seminal work Bantu philosophy in 1959. Tempels's book inevitably elicited considerable critical response from African philosophers, which culminated in a wide range of publications such as Wiredu's (1980) Philosophy and an African culture, Hountondji's (1983) African philosophy: Myth and reality, Oruka's (1990) Sage philosophy: Indigenous thinkers and modern debate on African philosophy, Shutte's (1993) Philosophy for Africa, Masolo's (1994) African philosophy in search of identity and Gyekye's (1995) An essay of African philosophical thought: The Akan conceptual scheme. It has been over 60 years since the publication of Tempels's book and there continues to be serious debate about African philosophy. This article sought to contribute to the debate on the various conceptions of African philosophy, but with a focus on the challenges of teaching African philosophy to Philosophy of Education students at an open distance learning institution in South Africa. This article discussed the tendency amongst undergraduate Philosophy of Education students to conflate and reduce African philosophy to African cultures and traditions, and to the notion of ubuntu, and sought to understand the reasons for students' inclination to treat African philosophy in this way. It examined students' background knowledge of African philosophy, their critical thinking skills and whether their official study materials are selected and packaged in a manner that, in fact, adds to the challenges they face. Finally, the article explored the ways in which Philosophy of Education lecturers can adapt their pedagogy to provide students with a better understanding of African philosophy.

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