PROBLEM OF IDENTITY IN KWAME NKRUMAH’S CONSCIENCISM:

ABSTRACT (problem of identity nkrumah consciencism)

The problem of identity in African philosophy Consciencism has been a psychological trauma facing the African mind about her predicament; the problem arose out of Africa’s trio experiences of racial discrimination, slavery and colonialism. These factors gave rise to the crisis of identity in Africa, showing that the African were psychologically invaded and that led to the problem of identity. This research work therefore, exposes the background to the problem using Nkrumah’s Consciencism and exposit that the problem which led to the crisis of identity in Africa is not culture but also social political, economical, religion and most especially philosophical. These left Africans with a schizophrenic identity and make it difficult for the African to understand himself. Analytical method will be applied using Kwame Nkrumah’s consciencism as a case study to reconcile the African traditional heritage with imperialist heritage, but ‘Consciencism’ created more problems than it claims to address by employing strong communist tenets in a bid to reconcile the problem of African Identity.problem of identity nkrumah consciencism

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY       

Africans been traumatized, brutalized, and misinterpreted, the above unpalatable condition or appendage of the African world cannot confidently be divorced from her past historical experience. The indelible mark of slavery, colonialism and neo colonialism could to a greater extent be held responsible for such an unfortunate situation. In fact in the words Emeka Ekwurum “Africa and Africans everywhere still live in the deep wounds of centuries of slave trade, colonization, looting and raping of values and cultures by the Western world.”1 Consequently, many African thinkers (such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Leopold Senghor, Tom Mboya and Others) spurred by a burning desire to liberate the African mind and make the African personality free in its entirety, came up with striking philosophical propositions. “Their main agitation was to achieve freedom in all sphere of existence for the African people… mental, political, cultural, religious, economic, social, administrative and psychological.”2 Notable among the Nationalist ideological philosopher is Kwame Nkrumah with the thrust of his philosophy being “Philosophical Consciencism”.

Nkrumah’s Consciencism is a theory about transformation “it is how to make Africa’s basic or traditional social heritage to prevail notwithstanding the various cultural currents that have been introduced into Africa from foriegn countries.”3 Philosophical Consciencism is anchored on the monistic thesis of materialism and thus for Nkrumah “the cardinal ethical principle of Philosophical Consciencism is to treat each man as an end in himself and not merely as a means.”4 Nkrumah employed marxism as providing the impetus for building up their nearly independent African countries to be stable and free of all foreign dominations. But how far did he actualize the above task, in view of the nature of this discourse.

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1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

African nations at the threshold of independence and after most African nations have been extricated from overt colonial tutelage, Africa’s historical heritage having been characterized by slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism was equally bedevilled by religious and political elements. The problem to fashion a philosophical theory or statement that will counter the negative effects of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism and invariably launched the entire African people to authentic wholeness of their identity. The thought provoking questions arising from Nkrumah’s Consciencism are: on what foundation was the conceptualization of Nkrumah ‘Consciencism’ based? When analysed comparatively with other philosophical frame works for African liberation and holistic emancipation, can it stand the test of time? How tenable and practical is Nkrumah’s Consciencism vis a vis African identity?

1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY

The aim of this research work is to critically evaluate Nkrumah’s Consciencism in relation to identity, and the role it purports to play in African crisis of identity. This work is meant to evaluate his assessment of the African historical heritage and synthesize them to an authentic political and philosophical theory that is apt to the African world.

1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY

This philosophical discourse is concerned basically with the critical evaluation of Nkrumah’s Consciencism in line with African identity. The book ‘Consciencism’ written by Nkrumah and published in 1964 will be consciously exposed, assessed and recourse to identity crisis will be made in the course of this research.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

A research of this magnitude is significant to the extent that it effectively assess a particular human condition and equally proffers solution to it.Since the thrust of consciencism is socio-political, the importance of this research is anchored on the fact that it aims at evaluating the complexities of African socio-political heritage and thereby grant future African thinkers, the enabling foundation to propound a more realistic and practical theory that will lead to authentic African liberation.

1.6 METHODOLOGY

This work employs the philosophical tool of analysis in evaluating Nkrumah’s ‘Consciencism’ to realize the set objectives. The study shall derive much of its material from books, journals and internet sources. Finally, the researcher shall draw from the wealth of elders who are the repository of African traditional history. The author as an African researcher will also have his experience to clear on this research having been part of the goings on in Africa. In order to do a thorough work on this research, it will be divided into five chapters. Chapter one is the introduction. Chapter two consists of literature review. Chapter three discusses the exposition of Nkrumah’s consciencism by looking at philosophy and society, society and ideology, materialism as the basis of consciencism, consciencism and egalitarianism, consciencism and colonialism, consciencism and capitalism, consciencism and socialism. Chapter four is Nkrumah’s consciencism and Africanidentity crisis: The contributions of Nkrumah’s consciencism to African liberation, the weakness of consciencism to African liberation, the problem of African identity. Chapter five is evaluation and conclusion.                                     

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1.7   DEFINITION OF TERMS

The essence of setting of bound to the terms we shall come across in this work is for clarity and proper understanding of the concepts.

AFRICAN

The word ‘African’ could mean different things, it could refer to people of a particular skin colour and ethnic origin. “Second largest continent, extending from the Mediterranean Sea; bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and by the Indian Ocean and the Red sea; bisected by the Equator.”5 It could refer to those whose political thinking was continent wild, rather than confined to one country. African hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century European countries colonized most of Africa. Most modern states in Africa originate from a process of decolonization in the 20th century. Africa contains 54 Sovereign countries and vast majority of African states are republics that operate under some form of the presidential system of government. However, few of them have been able to sustain democratic governments on a permanent basis, and many have instead cycled through a series of coups, producing military dictatorships. Africans hold some of their inherited cultural traits to be of great value; it is these values which give them a distinct cultural personality and enables them to make some contribution to world knowledge, history and civilization. According to Chukwudum Barnabas Okolo in his essay, what is to be an African? Essay on African Identity, makes further identification of communalism with African essential (problem of identity nkrumah consciencism)

feature, which okolo uses the term “Being-with”6, to characterise the African way of ontological existence. For him, existence for the individual is ‘we-existence’ this is viewed as a defining quality of the self in Africa. For purpose of this research “African” will be limited to people of a particular skin colour and ethnic origin.

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CONSCIENCISM

Thus, Nkrumah is often charged of “insufficiency and vagueness on the one hand and inconsistency and ambiguity on the other.”7 It will be apt to begin by definition of the term conscience. Etymologically, “Conscience refers to the Greek word, ‘Syneidesis’, and the Latin ‘Conscientia.’ Which means knowledge with, especially with ethical significance.”8According to Chuba Okadigbo, its historical and conceptual development goes as far back as the early writings of Stoics and the corresponding literature of early Greek thinkers. However the Oxford dictionary refers to it as humans having an action is morally required or forbidden.”9 while the Penguim Dictionary of Philosophy defined conscience as “the faculty of judging morally one’s own actions.”10 Democritus was equally acknowledged as “having viewed remorse that men experience after doing some evil and as the cause of joy and hope for people who lead just lives.”11 Chuba Okadigbo noted the position of Christian authors “that conscience is the law of reason implanted in man by God,”12 and drew the following conclusion:problem of identity nkrumah consciencism

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