This autobiography is a series of interrelated true-life events and decisions taken by a black philosopher that highlight the human drama unfolding in the inferno of the South African apartheid system. Mabogo More details what it means to be a black philosopher in an anti-black apartheid academic world. More’s life story traces his emergence in philosophy and his pursuit of a philosophical dream, a dream that takes him from his South African black ghetto township to American and British universities and finally to the prestigious Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement award. His extraordinary philosophical autobiography, with an emphasis on Africana existentialism that takes into account issues of racism, identity, liberation, freedom, alienation, responsibility and bad faith, is supplemented by three key essays from his intellectual career representing the extraordinary contribution he has made to Africana philosophy and black existentialism.
Preface and Acknowledgements / Part I: A Philosophical Autobiography / 1. Introduction by Way of Freedom / 2. Formative Student Years / 3. Philosophy Lecturer / 4. Overseas Experiences / 5. The Returnings / 6. Black (Africana) Philosophy / 7. Philosophy and jazz / 8. Post ‘Retirement’ / 9. The Frantz Fanon Award / Part II: Essays / 10. Philosophy in South Africa: Before, Under and After Apartheid / 11. Locating Frantz Fanon in (Post) Apartheid South Africa / 12. Gordon on Contingency: A Sartrean Interpretation / 13. Black Solidarity: A Philosophical Defense / 14. Biko: Africana Existentialist Philosopher / Bibliography / Index
Looking Through Philosophy in Black is a compelling story of one man’s struggle for philosophy against the odds, willed by the author’s determination to think freedom under the heel of apartheid South Africa. Buoyed by the Black Consciousness Movement—the author was a classmate of the murdered student leader Abram Onkgopotse Tiro—Mabogo Percy More became a philosopher. Recognized today as one of the most important interlocutors of Steve Biko and Black Consciousness philosophy, More challenges us to reflect on “Being-Black-in-an-Anti-Black-World”—the ontological impossibility of being Black and being a philosopher—as he engages Africana philosophies born of struggle. Looking Through Philosophy in Black is a remarkable and engaging story of life and the human condition. Doggedly resisting philosophy’s epistemic apartheid, its racism and its colored-blindness, More asks us to contest the absurd mediocrity, downright incompetency and paucity of thinking in higher education and by extension in civil society.
Looking Through Philosophy in Black: Memoirs is not only a chronicler and definer, it is a courageous narrative that takes philosophy head-on from the locus of blackness. Mabogo P. More makes a unique and extraordinary contribution to self-writing with a lucid craft that grapples with the question of being in the world.
A compelling account of a life lived in fidelity to the urgency of freedom, More’s autobiography is marked by a profound and sustained commitment, against the odds, to philosophy as a practice of freedom. This account of the life of the mind, made against the dead weight of racism, moves from the outskirts of Johannesburg to the world via jazz, philosophy and struggle.
Looking Through Philosophy in Black is a tour de force, a work that delivers. It is a powerful existential reflection on African and Africana philosophy, and at the same time a highly revealing account of what it means to be a Black philosopher today.
Mabogo Percy More is a former professor of philosophy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is currently professor of philosophy at the University of Limpopo, South Africa. He is the author of many journal articles and his latest book is Biko: Philosophy, Identity and Liberation (HSRC Press, 2017). He was awarded the Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement award by the Caribbean Philosophical Association in 2015.