, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 159–173 | Cite as

Human Rights in the Perspective of Traditional Africa: A Cosmotheandric Approach



The notion of human rights is highly controversial and contested in modern scholarship. However, human rights have been defined as ‘the rational basis… for a justified demand.’ What constitutes demand should be understood as that which is different from favor or privilege but one's due, free from racial, religious, gender, political inclinations. But since rights are basic due to the fact that they are necessary for the enjoyment of something else, we are poised to examine it from the pre-figurative, configurative and post-figurative stages of development in Africa. This enterprise anchors on the belief in cosmotheandrisation of human rights in Africa: cosmos ‘earth’, theos ‘God’ and anthropos ‘human’. These three levels of horizontal and vertical relationship guarantee the respect for human rights in traditional Africa. Through this approach, this enterprise shows that the positive approach to human rights is majorly declarative without corresponding pragmatic manifestation.


Human rights Traditional Africa Cosmotheandric Violations Pre-figurative Configurative Post-figurative 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesAdekunle Ajasin UniversityAkungba-AkokoNigeria

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