Africa is a continent which has always been misunderstood. When one hears the name Africa, disparity and struggle comes to mind. To many Africa is a continent filled with poverty, famine, disease, and underdevelopment. This may be true in present day circumstances, however before European colonization Africa was a nation far from the shackles of disparity and struggle. During the period of pre-colonization Africa was a nation thriving with rich cultures, including African philosophy and art, and a leading pioneer in the field of commerce.
There are many diverse and distinct cultures in Africa. Each country has its own language, cultural identity, and unique history. For instance, the people of Tanzania whose native tongue is Swahili are culturally and historically different from the people of Somalia whose native tongue is Somali. African philosophy is an intriguing and insightful area, which disappointedly receives very few acknowledgements. Many do not know that there is an essence of knowledge and enlightenment in African philosophy. Plato, the famous philosopher is to have said that his â€œâ€¦alleged Theory of Ideas is borrowed from Egyptâ€ while Aristotle, his foremost student, was educated in Africa before taking over an entire library of books on the Egyptian mystery system when he entered Egypt with Alexander the Great who had been his studentâ€ (Mitchell, 11). Philosophy plays an important role in traditional African cultures. The Akan culture of West Africa is an interesting and rich culture. A strong emphasis is based on individuality and harmonization in society. In Western thought, the basic image of a person is that on an aggressive or predatory individual, however, African cultures depict individuals as social beings, and a starting place for metaphysics (Mitchell, 132-133). In traditional African societies, all life is seen as an integrated system. Nature, living things, humans, the ancesto