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Westerse, meganistiese horlosietyd versus die organiese, natuurlike tydsidee van tradisionele Afrika: Hoe kan die konflik opgelos word?

B.J. van der Walt

In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi; Vol 36, No 2 (2002), 293-308. doi: 10.4102/ids.v36i2.510

Submitted: 06 August 2002
Published:  06 August 2002


Western, mechanistic clock-time versus the traditional African organic, natural concept of time: How should this conflict be solved?

This article is an effort to resolve the tension and conflict between (traditional) African and (modern) Western concepts of time. In order to do so, the salient characteristics of African and Western concepts about time are explained. Because the way in which time is measured reveals a lot about one’s viewpoint about time, special attention is given to time measurement in both Africa and the West. In the case of the West the historical development and character of mechanical clocks are investigated. The result of the investigation is summarised in a comparative table. The conclusion is that both Western and African perspectives on time are, albeit in different ways, one-sided. They have to be broadened and enriched by an intercultural and Christian-philosophical perspective. Time should neither be our enemy or boss (as in the case of the West) nor are we the masters of time (Africa). Time is a gift of God to be enjoyed, as well as a task we as stewards should use responsibly.

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Author affiliations

B.J. van der Walt, Vakgroep Filosofie, Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir CHO, South Africa


African Concept Of Time; Organic; Natural; Concept Of Time; Western Concept Of Time; Mechanistic; Clock Time


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ISSN: 1018-6441 (print) | ISSN: 2305-0853 (online)

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