As I look at the value system of
Humanism is a feature of Western thought that can be traced back to the Greeks. Its core idea is that human beings possess a value and dignity in themselves. Linked to this is an emphasis on the rational faculties, and the belief that we possess agency the ability to change the world. There is another form of Humanism called Ubuntu, which is a Zulu word that is the foundation of African societies. The misconception about African Humanism is that its values were brought to it, when in fact they emerged from the African continent. In the process of creating an alternative value system to counter the one imposed on them through colonialism and imperialism, African thinkers and political leaders have appealed to an African Humanism.
African Humanism is more or less synonymous with African Socialism, since leaders attempted to reconcile the humanist principles of traditional African societies with the need to modernize their economies. The organization of African societies was seen as communal rather then individualistic, where Western societies, in contrast, are based on the individual. African Humanism is rooted in mutual respect for one's fellow kinsman and sense of position and place in the larger order of things—the social order, the natural order, and the cosmic order in lived dependencies.
African thinkers place the stress on people's communal responsibilities and obligations in a community society. Members of a community society are expected to show concern for the well being of one another, to do what they can to advance the common good, and to participate in community life.
Are these not the Working Class values, in the kind of society we as revolutionaries are trying to bring about?? We also embrace the concepts of respect for other human beings, and of treating all people with dignity, regardless of social status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. The South African writer Es'kia Mphahlele says that a collective memory, or collective unconscious, tunes the working class in to African Humanism at the cognitive level. It is a sense of community that has enabled people to survive both Apartheid and modernization.
And I must add that in order to build a true socialist and democratic society, workers need to reject the individualism that capitalism pushes, in favor of a more collective life that comes from Ubuntu African Humanism.
"Right & Wrong depend on what you have done for your fellow-being, not on abstract notions of sin against God"
References:Humanism in Africa-Indigenous Foundations via internet search
African-American Humanism:An Anthology
COMMENTS & OPINIONS TO:MuataG@aol.com