By Ogova Ondego
Published November 15, 2013
A three-day symposium on African Philosophy runs in Nairobi, Kenya, November 19-21, 2013. The event, is in honour of Prof Henry Odera Oruka (1944 – 1995) who was one of the pioneers of modern African Philosophy and became famous mainly because of his works on sage-philosophy, is expected to discuss the relevance and role of African philosophy today.
The meeting is co-organised by Goethe-Institut and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of the University of Nairobi.
“The idea of a symposium on African Philosophy resonates very well with the Goethe-Institut’s efforts to promote the integration of Africa’s oral-based cultures into the knowledge society,” says Eliphas Nyamogo.
Nyamogo, who heads the Library and Information Services at Goethe-Institut, adds: “Goethe-Institut recognizes that many African societies place great emphasis on oral communication as a primary means of conveying information and transferring knowledge. Indigenous knowledge about societal structures and interaction, alternative medicines, agriculture, myths and stories and initiation rituals has been transmitted from one generation to another in oral accounts and is often not recorded in writing.”
Nyamogo says Goethe-Institut has in the past initiated and supported various projects intended to integrate Africa’s orally-shaped communities into “the global knowledge society, by building a bridge between oral and written knowledge systems. Some of the projects are designed to involve the active participation of people from the orally-based communities in the collection, verification, documentation and integration of oral information repositories into global information networks.”