16 Feb

Molefi Kete Asante on Philosopher Maulana Karenga

Posted By Politybooks

Molefi Kete AsanteMaulana Karenga is an important American cultural philosopher and one of the leading proponents of the cultural reconstruction thesis for African Americans. His key writings, based upon his studies of African cultural and philosophical history, treat the classical bases for re-interpreting the social behavior of people whose cultures have been crushed by oppression. In effect, Karenga is an ethicist, having studied ethics as one of his two doctorates, but he is also an activist who has found his intellectual and creative values in the realm of political organization. Karenga is the author of many books and monographs, but his major tome is Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt.  He is also the author of scores of important articles advancing the Kawaida, traditions, thesis that creating a dignity-affirming life is a key component for fully realizing the human potential.
          Karenga’s works, especially in African moral philosophy, whether Yoruba, Ancient Egyptian, or Zulu, are always grounded in his belief that Africana Studies represent the best route to a resurgence in ethical decisions in the communities broken by hegemonic racism. In recognizing the possibilities in reconstructive freedom, Karenga commits himself to serudj-ta, that is, repairing the damage that has been done to African and African American people. No contemporary African American thinker has impacted the popular culture and language of the American society as thoroughly as Karenga. Indeed, his creation of the holiday Kwanzaa, now celebrated by nearly thirty million people around the world, has made him an enormously significant cultural presence.  While some authors have written about Karenga’s personal life and activist work, the book, Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait, is the first work to seriously deal with his ideas.