Suggested readings on African deep thought, African-centered social theory, and Pan-African liberation

 Below is a list of suggested readings on African thought, ancient and modern.

 

Deep thought (philosophy)

Armah, Ayi Kwei. 1973. Two Thousand Seasons. Popenguine, Senegal: PerAnkh.

Carruthers, Jacob H. 1984. Essays in Ancient Egyptian studies. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press.

Carruthers, Jacob H. 1999. Intellectual Warfare. Chicago: Third World Press.

Carruthers, Jacob H. 1995. MDW NTR: Divine Speech. London: Karnak House.

Fu-Kiau, K. K. Bunseki. 2001. African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo: Principles of Life and Living. Broolyn, NY: Athelia Henrietta Press.

Gbadegesin, Segun. 1996. African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Gyekye, Kwame. 1995. African Philosophical Thought. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Kamalu, Chukwunyere. 1998. Person, Divinity, & Nature. London, England: Karnak House.

Karenga, Maulana. 1989. Selections from the Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press.

Karenga, Maulana. 1999. Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press.

Karenga, Maulana. 2004. Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics. New York: Routledge.

Obenga, Theophile. 2004. African Philosophy: The Pharaonic Period: 2780-330 BC. Popenguine, Senegal: Per Ankh.

 

Education/Socialization

Du Bois, W.E.B. 1973. The Education of Black People: Ten Critiques, 1906-1960. edited by Herbert Aptheker. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Fu-Kiau, K. Kia Bunseki, and A.M. Lukondo-Wamba. 1988. Kindezi: The Kongo Art of Babysitting. Baltimore: Imprint Editions.

Hilliard, Asa G. 2002. African Power: Affirming African Indigenous Socialization in the Face of the Culture Wars. Gainesville, FL: Makare Publishing Company.

Okrah, Kwadwo A. 2003. Nyansapo (The Wisdom Knot): Toward an African Philosophy of Education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Shujaa, Mwalimu J. 2003. “The Widening Gap between Education and Schooling in the Post 9/11 Era.” Journal of Negro Education 72 (2):179-189.

Woodson, Carter G. 1990. The Mis-Education of the Negro. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

 

Healing

Ani, Marimba. 2004. “To Be Afrikan: Toward the Healing, Rebirth and Reconstruction of Afrikan Civilization: Maat/Maafa/Sankofa.” In State of the Race, edited by Jemadari Kamara and Tony Menelik Van Der Meer, 137-165. Boston: Diaspora Press.

Armah, Ayi Kwei. 1978. The Healers. Popenguine, Senegal: Per Ankh.

Fu-Kiau, K. Kia Bunseki. 1991. Self-Healing Power and Therapy. Baltimore: Imprint Editions.

Maasi, Shaha Mfundishi. 2008. Essential Warrior: Living Beyond Doubt and Fear. Baltimore, MD: MD&H Publications, LLC.

Somé, Sobonfu E. 2003. Falling Out of Grace: Meditation on Loss, Healing and Wisdom. El Sobrante, CA: North Bay Books.

 

History

Carruthers, Jacob H. 1985. The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution. Chicago: The Kemetic Institute.

Carruthers, Jacob H. 2007. “Kush and Kemet: The Pillars of African Centered Thought.” In Contemporary Africana Theory, Thought and Action, edited by Clenora Hudson-Weems, 43-57. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

Price, Richard. 1996. Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

 

Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and revolutionary struggle

Armah, Ayi Kwei. 2010. Remembering the Dismembered Continent. Popenguine, Senegal: Per Ankh.

Baruti, Mwalimu A. Bomani. 2006. Notes Toward Higher Ideals in Afrikan Intellectual Liberation. Atlanta: Akoben House.

Delany, Martin. 1993. The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States Politically Considered. Baltimore: Black Classic Press.

Garvey, Amy Jacques. 1986. The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. Dover, MA: The Majority Press.

Karenga, Maulana. 1980. “Kawaida: An Introduction.” Kawaida Institute of Pan-African Studies, Los Angeles.

Martin, Tony. 1976. Race First: The Ideological and Organization Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Imporvement Association, The New Marcus Garvey Library. Dover, MA: The Majority Press.

Nkrumah, Kwame. 1963. Africa Must Unite. New York: Praeger Publisher.

 

Proverbs and stories

Bâ, A. Hampaté. 1988. Kaidara. Translated by Daniel Whitman. Washington, DC: Three Continents Press.

Opoku, Kofi Asare. 1997. Hearing and Keeping: Akan Proverbs. Pretoria, South Africa: Unisa Press.

Owomoyela, Oyekan. 2005. Yoruba Proverbs. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

 

Psychology

Kambon, Kobi Kazembe Kalongi. 1992. The African Personality in America: An African-Centered Framework. Tallahassee: Nubian Nation Publications.

Kambon, Kobi Kazembe Kalongi. 2003. Cultural Misorientation: The Greatest Threat to the Survival of the Black Race in the 21st Century. Tallahassee: Nubian Nation Publications.

 

Social, political, and economic organization

Fu-Kiau, K. K. Bunseki. 2007. Mbôngi: An African Traditional Political Institution. Atlanta, GA: Afrikan Djeli Publishers.

 

Spirituality

Adofo, Dalian and Verona Spence. 2017. Ancestral Voices: Spirit is Eternal. United Kingdom: Longbelly Entertainment.Amen, Rkhty. 2012. A Life Centered Life Living Maat.

Ani, Marimba. 1980. Let the Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora. New York: Nkonimfo.

Mbiti, John S. 1969. African Religions and Philosophy. London: Heinemann.

Weeks, James. 2019. Meditations Across the King’s River: African-Inspired Wisdom for Life’s Journey. Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press.

Mad (il)logics

I have found debating conspiracy theorists to be rather futile given their disregard for evidence-based arguments and preference for hyperrelativistic claims. What’s more, I have observed that any evidence deployed that debunks the conspiracy theory becomes evidence of the conspiracy itself.

Africans Kung Fu Fighting

Recently I stumbled upon this video. It shows a group Africans who journeyed to China to study the martial arts. I’ve seen other videos like this, including one where an African decided to create a Shaolin Temple in his community in Africa.
While I appreciate that these sisters and brothers are training, I do worry that the idea of “martial arts” as an Asian cultural practice necessarily devalues our engagement with our own martial heritage, which is often endangered. Clearly the practice of Capoeira in Brazil is well organized, but this is not universally true of African combat arts. Many are quite marginal and the preserve of an aging group of practitioners.
 
I say this as someone who practices both African and Asian arts. To my thinking, our engagement in the martial arts, as people of African-descent, should include some engagement with, even if on the level of historical and philosophical knowledge, the rich martial heritage of African people as a way of centering our ancestors’ development of combative systems to confront the reality before them.
 
In my presentation at ASCAC last week I discussed three ways of engaging with the African martial arts. These include:
1. Studying and internalizing the history and philosophy pertaining to the African arts.
2. Incorporating specific elements/techniques of the African arts into one’s existing practice.
3. Practicing the African arts.
 
To my thinking we can both study the martial arts of the world, while also being mindful of our own legacy and its value.

Focusing on the masses rather than elites

At some point we will realize that the number of Black millionaires and billionaires has very little bearing on the condition of the African/Black masses worldwide. Our redemption will not be found via success within the existing system, but in our ability to create a just one to replace it.

A vision of the world

In order for a people to liberate themselves, they must be capable of envisioning a world free of their oppressors. Their collective imaginary must consist of a vision of a future where they are a sovereign people. Too few of those regarded as our leaders possess this capacity.

A suffocating myopia

In the grips of a suffocating myopia, some of us celebrate our atomization as a people and the seemingly “progressive” hyperrelativism of this society as if these were sufficient to carry African people into the future under our own aegis as a sovereign people on the basis of our culture.

Ideologies

Ideologies, by their very nature, delimit engagement with the phenomenal world.