Self-realizing a lived existence in service of emancipation: Tsenay Serequeberhan’s activist hermeneutics


  • Justin Sands North-West University



Serequeberhan, hermeneutics, decolonisation, culture, existence, Gadamer


Through his own activistic hermeneutics, Sereque­ berhan crafts a philosophy which allows African(a) persons pathways to self­-realization and self­-eman­cipation from Western cultural imperialism. He does this through a unique reading of Heidegger to arrive at a hermeneutics of existence, and through Gadamer to posit a specific historicity which he calls ‘our heritage’. This article first charts how Serequeberhan articulates these concepts, and then explores their prescriptive, activist intent. The upshot of this is a stronger appreciation of Serequeberhan’s work and how it provides a fresh approach through which we can better understand existence in a globalized, post­colonial, late capitalist society. For Western readers especially, it offers a framework to better describe the relationship between, the self, others, and the historical interactions between them in a world fraught with enclosure and harmful ideologies.


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