Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
Personhood in the African religious system begins with the question, “Who is a human?” In effect, personhood is the quality of acquiring the status of being human. One example of this African notion of personhood is seen in the case of the Akan people. Those who have little conception of the role that humans play in the social reality may have distorted the entire issue of the Akan's relationship to the community or the African connection to the collective group. There are those who maintain that the African view, including that of the Akan, makes being primary. In fact, the notion that ontological primacy trumps community primacy is anathema to most of these thinkers. Actually what this means is that the reality of the person is secondary and derivative and the community is basic, original, and generative. Africans have even articulated this with “it takes a village to raise a ...