The Metaphysics of Time and Temporal Experience in Africa: A Cultural and Philosophical Perspective

  • Denis Muhamba St. Augustine University of Tanzania
  • Innocent Sanga, PhD St Augustine University of Tanzania
  • George Ndemo, PhD Jordan University College
Keywords: Metaphysics, Time, Philosophy, Africa, Perspectives
Share Article:


This paper explores the metaphysics of time and its relevance to Africa from a cultural and philosophical perspective. The paper argues that the Western concept of time, which is based on linear and objective concepts, is not the only way to explain time and temporal experience to all cultures and civilizations. By examining traditional African perspectives on time, the paper demonstrates the importance of considering cultural and philosophical differences in the study of time and temporal experience. The paper concludes that the Western concept of time must be supplemented with an understanding of the diverse and complex ways in which time is experienced and understood in Africa


Download data is not yet available.


Asante, M. K. (1990). African Time Consciousness: A Philosophical Exploration. Africa World Press.

Asante, M. K. (2017). The philosophy of Afrocentricity. In The Palgrave Handbook of African Philosophy (pp. 231-244). Palgrave Macmillan.

Babalola, S. F., & Alokan, O. A. (2013). African concept of time, a socio-cultural reality in the process of change. Journal of Education and Practice, 4(7), 143-147.

Bascom, W. R. (1969). Ifa Divination: Communication between Gods and Men in West Africa. Indiana University Press.

Bergson, H. (1999). Duration and Simultaneity: Bergson and the Einsteinian Universe. In J. Mullarkey (Ed.), Duration and Simultaneity (pp. 33-45). Manchester University Press.

Bhaskar, R. (2009). Plato etc: problems of philosophy and their resolution. Routledge.

Bledsoe, C. H. (2010). Contingent lives: Fertility, time, and aging in West Africa (Vol. 2). University of Chicago Press.

Brown, K. (2012). The Akan Cosmology. In K. Brown (Ed.), African Philosophy, Culture, and Traditional Medicine (pp. 55-71). Springer.

Bunnag, A. (2019). The concept of time in philosophy: A comparative study between Theravada Buddhist and Henri Bergson’s concept of time from Thai philosophers’ perspectives. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 40(1), 179-185.

Cerulo, K. A. (1997). Reframing sociological concepts for a brave new (virtual?) world. Sociological inquiry, 67(1), 48-58.

Descartes, R. (1641/1996). Meditations on First Philosophy. In J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch, & A. Kenny (Trans.), Meditations on First Philosophy (pp. 1-29). Cambridge University Press.

Fabian, J. (1983). Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object. Columbia University Press.

Finnegan, R. (1985). African Folktales: Traditional Stories of the Black World.

Forde, D. (1954). African Worlds: Studies in the Cosmological Ideas and Social Values of African Peoples. Oxford University Press.

Hodges, M. (2008). Rethinking time’s arrow: Bergson, Deleuze and the anthropology of time. Anthropological Theory, 8(4), 399-429.

Jung, C. (1959). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. In H. Read, M. Fordham, & G. Adler (Eds.), The Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 9, Part 1, R.F.C. Hull, Trans.) (pp. 3-41). Princeton University Press.

Kant, I. (1998). Critique of Pure Reason. Cambridge University Press.

Mbiti, J. S. (1969). African Religions and Philosophy. Heinemann.

Mbiti, J. S. (1990). African Religions and Philosophy. Ports mouth, New Hampshire.

Mbiti, J. S. (1999). Ancestors as Culture Heroes: A Study of African Traditional Religion. Ports mouth, New Hampshire.

Muhamba, D., & Ndemo, G. (2022). A Philosophical Reflection on the Relevance of Heidegger’s Notion of Innovation to Unemployment Crisis in Africa. East African Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 5(2), 45-57.

Munyanganzi, J. (2000). African Philosophy and the Question of Time. African Journal of Philosophy, 19(1), 1-14.

Okeja, U. B. (2012). Normative justification of a global ethic: A perspective from African philosophy. Lexington Books.

Talavera, I. (2014). The fallacy of misplaced temporality in Western Philosophy, natural science, and Theistic religion. In Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table. Forum on Public Policy.

Viljoen, H., & Painter, D. (2003). African perspectives. In J. Louw-Potgieter & D. Painter (Eds.), Personology. From individual to ecosystem (pp. 528-549). Pearson Education South Africa.

Wiredu, K. (2008). African Philosophy of Time: A Cultural and Philosophical Analysis. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 21(2), 181-191.

25 April, 2023
How to Cite
Muhamba, D., Sanga, I., & Ndemo, G. (2023). The Metaphysics of Time and Temporal Experience in Africa: A Cultural and Philosophical Perspective. East African Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 6(1), 272-281.