Individual Autonomy and Development in Contemporary Africa

Falana Kehinde, Ajimatanrareje Adedamola


There are some vital questions that continuously and constantly confront us as human beings in Africa. Such questions include, who are we? How did we come to be called Africans? What about our culture, our language or our mode of dressing? What about our leadership and artistic prowess?  Do we even have autonomy at all? What is autonomy? Is autonomy all that is to life? To what extent can we say we are free as individuals? Are we really autonomous? Is it when the instinct tells someone that he is free that he can be said to be free? All these and many more questions readily comes to mind as Africans.  Lawrence Bamikole made it clear that in discussing the whole and its parts, the individual and the community should not neglect the fact that the individual makes the community. It is the ideas and formed values of the individuals that make the values and the ideas of the community.The values according to him, do not come from elsewhere as the community and its cultures are products of the individual’s brain (Bamikole 2004:104)1. For that reason, submission to the community is submission to oneself. Thus the question of individual losing their autonomy to what is communal does not arise, because what is communal is not accepted but also generated by individuals. As a result of this, conflict may not be said to arise in this regards when an individual come to realize his personality.This article talks about the individual autonomy and development in contemporary Africa. What do we mean by development? Or what is development? If there was individual autonomy in the traditional African system, how relevant is it in the contemporary world of today?

Keywords: development, individual and autonomy

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/55-02

Publication date:May 31st 2022

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