Time in African and Western thinking

‘Sunrise’. Pencil drawing by Birgit Boogaard (2017)

In January 2017, I was invited to join a ‘Filosofie Cafe’ organised by the Foundation for Intercultural Philosophy and Art in Zoetermeer.  The topic of my lecture was ‘Time in African and Western thinking’ (in Dutch).

Based on the work of prof. Heinz Kimmerle, we looked at differences and similarities of time perception in African and Western thinking. I combined theories of Heinz Kimmerle and his colleagues in African philosophy, with practical insights, experiences and stories from my period in Mozambique. I illustrated my story ‘Toen de zon opkwam‘ with a drawing of an old and wise Mozambican man (see left), whom I had interviewed during my research.

The main question was what we, Africa and the West, could learn from each other. The result was a very lively and engaged debate about time perception in our own lives.




“Het Westen kan van Afrika leren dat tijd niet uit identieke elementen bestaat en dat men met de natuurlijke ritmes rekening moet houden”

Heinz Kimmerle

In: Wereldfilosofie. Wijsgerig denken in verschillende culturen (2010, p.184)