Original Research

In defence of communitarianism philosophy: The contribution of moderate communitarianism to the formation of an African identity

Walter P. Maqoma
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a1984 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.1984 | © 2020 Walter P. Maqoma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2019 | Published: 01 April 2020

About the author(s)

Walter P. Maqoma, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


In a struggle to rediscover their identity beyond colonialism, Africans have sought to find a philosophy, which characterises their unique identity, beyond the anthropological horizons and Eurocentric perspectives of humanity, imposed upon them by the colonisers who defaced the personhood of an African. In this process, African philosophers have discovered that at the core of African philosophy is communitarianism philosophy. Thus, the personhood of an African is constituted by communal reality, which is influenced by communalism and communitarianism. In making a distinction between the two forms of communitarianism – radical communitarianism and moderate communitarianism – this article makes a case for moderate communitarianism as an essential contributor to the formation of an African identity.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Moderate communitarianism engenders an understanding, which takes the individuality of a person seriously, and locating that individual within a community which influences his/her identity; thus involving an integration of individual thought and communal tradition. Thereby, recognizing the dialectic of both the individual thought and communal tradition. Individual thought confirmed by insights that were a production of individual ingenuity and communal thought is known to be the concepts that are derived from traditional knowledge, and the moderation of both accounts for a balanced form of communitarianism, through the dialectic of both individual and community, which contributes to the formation of an African identity. Moderate communitarianism reflects the accurate thought of African philosophy, and accounts for a common feature within the diversity of different African communities. Therefore, moderate communitarianism is an essential contributor to the formation of an African identity!


philosophy; theology; anthropology; humanity; community


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