THE PLACE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE TRADITIONAL AFRICAN SOCIETY: A PHILOSOPHICAL APPRAISAL

Oliver Onah, Hyginus Ezebuilo, Theodora Ojiakor

Abstract


The idea of African communalism is well-known in the academic circle, as it were. The concept of communalism suggests that Africans emphasize community living. It is also often understood to suggest that the individual is swallowed up in the community and has no distinct life. This then raises the question of the place of the individual in the traditional African society. Is the individual suppressed in the society? Are his rights and privileges sacrificed at the altar of communalism? These and similar questions form the concern of this study. This work evaluates the place of the individual in a typical African society from the background of the Igbo traditional society. It does this by subjecting to critical analyses various literature on the Igbo/African society with regard to the place of the individual. The conclusion is that, contrary to contemporary arguments to the effect that communalism stifled individual growth, communalism added to the quality of life of the individual in the traditional society. Hence, so many contemporary threats to life and security in the contemporary society could be overcome if the crass individualism of contemporary time could be tempered with elements of traditional communalism.


Keywords


African Communalism, academic circle, community, Igbo traditional society and sacrifice

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