Identity in Leopold Sedar Senghor as a Tool for African Development
Keywords:Identity, negritude, development, globalization
Identity from the point of view of ontology, means the actual presence of ‘that which is which is recognized through its manifest nature. No two things are the same, thus the uniqueness in things. The logic here is that no human race escapes the ontological role of identity and difference. This is why each is recognized and respected in its perspective, diverse, natural and cultural terms. However, the successive historical trends of slavery, racism, colonialism and neo-colonialism have been seen as factors eroding the primordial and authentic African identity. In recent time, the existential reality of globalization has added a greater challenge to the question of identity in Africa. Within this emerging background, Leopold Sedar Senghor decried Africa’s loss of identity and championed a course to reclaiming it through his philosophy of Negritude. Senghor’s conception of Negritude is for the revival of the African cultural identity distorted by the historical trends of Western invasion. This then became the core of philosophical vision of Negritude as a philosophy of socio-cultural identity and affirmation of being. The pertinent question is, why is there this search for African identity? Does it imply that Africans have no identity or was this identity distorted by some historical trends of Western imperialism? Thus, the main objective of this paper therefore is to expose and explore Senghor’s idea of identity which is rooted in his concept of Negritude as a tool for African development.