J.S. Mbiti claimed that Africans understand time as a component of events that must be experienced. He went on to say that such ontology can lead to an understanding of African intellectual conceptions.

This essay attempted a critical investigation of Mbiti’s perspective on Africans’ conceptions of time, with the goal of demonstrating that Mbiti’s perspective on Africans’ conceptions of time is not necessary for understanding African philosophical notions.


An in-depth investigation of the concept of time in African civilizations was used, as well as philosophical arguments.


African Religions and Philosophy by Mbiti, African Philosophy in Search of Identity by Masolo, Time in Yoruba Thought by Ayoade, From an Ontology to an Epistemology by Oke, and An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conception Scheme by Gyekye were all examined and analyzed.

The findings of this essay included the following: first, that Mbiti’s claim that Africans lack the concept of an extended future is false; second, that different time conceptions exist on the African continent; and third, that understanding Mbiti’s African conception of time does not necessarily imply understanding of African philosophical concepts.

This essay stated that there is an idea of an extended future in Africa, and Mbiti should not have drawn this conclusion solely on the basis of his knowledge of Kikamba culture, which led to the fallacy of rapid generalization with reference to African time conceptions.

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