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Homo Ignoscens: Neo-colonialism, White Supremacy and the Re-Invention of Blacks in Contemporary ‘African Philosophy'

Friday 28 April 2023
Centre for Intercultural Philosophy events 2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The Leiden University Centre for Intercultural Philosophy is pleased to announce a talk by Dr. Ndumiso Dladla, visiting Fellow, Institute of Philosophy, Leiden University/Department of Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Dr. Ndumiso Dladla

Homo Ignoscens: Neo-colonialism, White Supremacy and the Re-Invention of Blacks in Contemporary ‘African Philosophy'


The lecture will conduct a historical examination of the discourse on Ubuntu with a special focus on the case of conqueror South Africa. The thesis to be defended is that the discourse on Ubuntu (in academic philosophy and other disciplines) which gained prominence during and since conqueror South Africa’s transition to democracy, is an Ubuntu without abantu (the Bantu-speaking people who are its supposed progenitors). It is also an Ubuntu without isintu (the cultural order which is the basis for the philosophy of Ubuntu). Instead, the Ubuntu, which is the cause for much “intercultural” excitement today, is a product of unequal power relations which were established at the time Blacks were invented through their conquest in the unjust wars of colonization (which included genocides as well as the enslavement of some conquered people). The Ubuntu under investigation, which thrives today at times with the aid of native assistants, is a ventriloquist’s black dummy whose will and exercise of the right to reason is paralysed by the economic subjugation of Africa and its people. At other times it is no more than a black makeup worn by Capitalism, Kantianism, Liberalism, Thomism, Humanism, Environmentalism, or whatever other Western -ism desires an African disguise. What is common among all the disguises is what they cannot conceal, and that is the systematic doubt concerning the quality of the humanness of the African. This ongoing doubt, long aided by academic philosophy, serves to deny the historical justice which is due to Africa resulting from the inhuman crimes committed against it until this day which so much of the Western world depends upon.


Ndumiso Dladla is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Jurisprudence in its Faculty of Law. He teaches social, legal, and political philosophy and also conducts research in these as well as the history of African philosophy, the philosophy of race, and Black Political Thought. He has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and a monograph entitled Here is a Table: A Philosophical Essay on the History of Race/ism in South Africa. He is a member of the Azanian Philosophical Society and visiting fellow at Leiden University’s Institute of Philosophy 2023.

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