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By Kai Horsthemke (auth.)

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Example text

I believe (contra Krüger, Lubbe & Steyn 2009: 35), if we want to avoid what might be called the fallacy of the collective singular,3 the use of the plural (African religions) seems to be preferable or more appropriate. Even though many African commentators, unlike Westerners, appear to prefer the singular (and to use capital letters for ‘African Religion’; see Krüger, Lubbe & Steyn 2009: 35), the best way to avoid any essentialising moves and to acknowledge the immense diversity on this vast continent is to refer to ‘African religions’.

To ‘think effectively’ means to have knowledge (wisdom and skills), to be tolerant and willing to enter into dialogue and to possess moral maturity (Wiredu 2004b: 17, 18). For Wiredu, this normative conception of effective thinking is inspired by the following: indigenous (African) knowledge systems (Wiredu 2004b: 24), traditional African faith in consensus (Wiredu 2004b: 21) and the conceptual and normative priority of community over individuality (Wiredu 2004b: 20). African philosophy, therefore, ‘must combine all these considerations, which ...

1 Second, should the singular or plural be used? In response to the first question, it might be pointed out that African religions have, until recently, existed in fairly isolated parts of the world. They do not belong to the major ‘families’ of religions such as those that originated in the Near East or to the so-called Eastern religions (Krüger, Lubbe & Steyn 2009: 33). Unlike these religions, traditional religions in Africa have no founders: they are ‘believed to have evolved slowly through many centuries as people responded to situations of their lives and reflected upon their experience’ (Ugwuanyi 2011: 112).

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