Okolo's Conception of Personhood and the Question Of Human Rights: An African Perspective

  • Leo Chigozie Ozoemena
  • Anayochukwu Kingsley Ugwu
  • Ikeagwuchi Ikechukwu Ukwuoma
Keywords: Personhood, African, Being-with, Individual, Right, Freedom


The African personhood has taken many dimensions some of which could be normative, social cum communitarian, etc. Okolo has equally participated in the discourse by upholding a communitarian view depicted in the term 'being-with'. By this, the community and the individual and the influences one draws from another become a central focus of what is to be African. That suffices that Okolo believes that all there is to be truly African person is the socio-ontological attitude of 'being-with' which expresses nothing but the communitarianism of the African person. The question now is: what is the fate and position of the individual's right and freedom in the existential attitudinal disposition of 'being-with' others in the community? Do the community have a limit in influencing the attainment of an individual's personhood? In addressing these questions, this paper argues that Okolo's perception of (the African) personhood alienates individuals from their inalienable human rights hence it is derivative in nature from the community. Following this, the paper recommends that Africans should critically analyze their cultural values which intrinsically influence their perceptions in order to ensure a holistic development that acknowledges the uniqueness of individuals and their rights. The expectation from this paper is an exposition of Okolo's weaknesses vis-à-vis his personhood conceptualization. The paper shall adopt conceptual analysis and contextual clarifications as methods to critically evaluate Okolo.