This issue of the Journal of West African History (JWAH) encompasses diverse individuals and actors functioning or performing in different African public spheres and at different historical periods. For their contributions to the independence struggles and postcolonial political theories in African political thought and philosophizing in the African public sphere, Ali Mazrui described three independence-era African presidents, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, and Kenneth Kaunda, as philosopher-kings or philosophizing rulers.1

Nkrumah, also represented by Mazrui as a Leninist czar, certainly earned his keep. In 1964, he formulated a sociopolitical philosophy he termed Consciencism.2 Consciencism is a philosophical term that articulated the way forward for postindependence Africa as harmonizing Islamic and Euro-Christian influences with traditional African ideas. The coexistence of these three strands of sociocultural and religious ideologies, Nkrumah believed, will be “in tune with the original humanist principles underlying African society.”3 Earlier, in 1958,...

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