You are on page 1of 15

THE BANTU CONCEPT OF TIME

Francis Gillies

The impetus for the present interest in the traditional
African concept of time is the work of Professor John Mbiti,
whose writings cover African religion and Christian
theology (1) . Mbiti's main assertion - one which has many
socio-economic, political and theological implications -
is that the traditional African 'has virtually no concept
of the future' (2) . My aim in this article is to argue
that, by situating the discussion about 'time in traditional
African thought' (3) within a wider philosophical, theo-
logical and anthropological framework, it is possible, using
Mbiti's evidence, to reach conclusions about the nature
of traditional African time-consciousness different from
his ; namely that the time-consciousness of the traditional
African is fundamentally future-oriented .

GENERAL CRITIQUE OF MBITI'S APPROACH

Before considering Mbiti's detailed analysis of African
time-consciousness, it may be useful to situate his method
against a wider background of concepts of time .

First, Mbiti is a member of the Kenyan Akamba tribe,
which is Bantu (4) . His detailed research into the nature
of African time has been confined to the Bantu . For this
reason, it is more accurate to describe his research
findings as pertaining to Bantu concepts of time .

Secondly, Mbiti is primarily an Anglican theologian .
It is this characteristic - that of Christian theologian -

© RKP 1980 0048-721X/80/1001-0016 $1 .50/1

16

and which is 'not an ontological reality in its own right but is composed of actual events which are experienced' (10) . but attempts to analyse and interpret the interaction of traditional religion with developmental forces (in this case Christianity) showing the implications of this interaction for political. few. which has 'virtually no future' (8). Husserl tells us that 'as soon as we make the attempt . because as a good theologian.the juxtaposition of two concepts of time from two cultural traditions to both of which he belongs . as a form of existence in its own right (5) . Western time is opposed traditional Bantu time. economic and social development in Africa . Again. Mbiti asserts that in Western time-consciousness the future exists . The Bantu concept of time 17 which makes his writings of interest and application to a wider audience than those engaged in the field of religion. his approach of juxtaposing traditional Bantu time with a too narrow concept of Western time leads him to conclusions which require some modification . However. because it requires the identification of the ontological world with the existential one .but rather the contents of his method. (a) Time in western consciousness is described by Mbiti as 'an ontological reality'. Thirdly. Mbiti presupposes that there is unanimity (a) amongst Western philosophers about the nature of time and future. on the question of Bantu time- consciousness. Western time is said by Mbiti to be linear. if any. and (b) amongst Christian theologians about the nature of time and future as expressed in eschatological theology . present and future(6) . Such a description of Bantu time is one which could equally as well have come from the pen of a Western phenomenologist trying to describe Western time-consciousness . Notice here that this is not a criticism of Mbiti's method . which is 'simply a composition of events' (9). Western philosophers would agree with that. To this linear. ontological. namely restricted assumptions about the nature of Western time-consciousness and the future. From Augustine to Husserl we find constantly reiterated the complaint that it is impossible to define time . which is experienced by Western consciousness as an entity. contained within one theological tradition . he does not restrict himself to a purely descriptive approach to traditional religion. possessing a past. yet Mbiti's argument about the lack of a future concept in Bantu time is based on the assertion that future events have not yet occurred. therefore there is no future (7) .

However. a present of things present. nor of time as an ontological reality in the way in which Mbiti understands it. upon conversion to Christianity. for example. we are involved in the most extraordinary difficulties. to put Objective time and subjective time-consciousness into the right relation . but who also declares that it is incorrect to say. 'there be three times. based on the acquisition of eschatological consciousness by African Christians . the Akamba. I know. present and future'. And it was Augustine who insisted that the word 'time' can be used only in relation to past and future (otherwise it is not 'time' we are speaking of but something else). past. . he makes correct assertions about the way the Bantu understood eschatology but draws the wrong conclusions from this about the nature of Bantu time . the relationship between the objective world and our consciousness of it. on the one hand. Neither Augustine nor Husserl are proponents of linear time. but correct to say. because of their lack of future-consciousness. the perennial problem in Western philosophy between. Mbiti identifies himself with that school of Christian theology which he describes as 'intensely eschatological'(13) . and. Indeed. is not different from that encountered by Mbiti but is mirrored in his research into Bantu concepts of time . to develop a socio-critical theology within Africa. and a present of things future' (12) . 'there be three times : a present of things past. . I don't know"' (11) . One of Mbiti's test cases. on the other. in fact. by adopting an unhistorical approach to the interpretation of Christian theology. is the way in which the Akamba of Kenya. into a 'pie-in-the-sky'. His work and writings demonstrate his desire. between objective time and internal time-consciousness. contradictions and entanglements . . futuristic type of religion (15) . (b) Eschatology in Christian time-consciousness is. for the nature of Bantu time. . and rightly so. understood the Christian eschatological message (14) . but if I am asked to explain it. but both of them are central to the Western philosophical discussion on time-consciousness .18 Francis Gillies to account for time-consciousness. turn the future dimension of Christianity and its relation- ship with the present. According to Mbiti. presented with an eschatology which could only be under- stood in this way? Mbiti's understanding of eschatological .one may still say with St Augustine : "if nobody asks me what time is. reflected in the way in which the Bantu under- stood eschatology . similarly. But were the Akamba not.

In other words. preached and practised a Christianity which was both this-worldly and other-worldly. if Mbiti's conclusions are correct. at another level Christianity is transformed into an other-worldly religion . then the conversion of the Bantu to Christianity would be an insuperable task. but as the nerve of history . Mbiti overlooks certain interpretations of eschatology which offer a different concept of the nature of the future . how else could they have under- stood the Christian eschatological message except as futuristic Indeed. together with the work carried out amongst them by Christian missionaries. Perhaps early missionaries. On top of this. that is a socio-critical theology' (17). For example. at one level of Bantu time. in which human history unfolds. Nor is the future. contradicting the theological motto that 'grace perfects nature'. because. which is gradually being topped up by natural and social history. for whom also 'all theology is eschato- logy' (16). Now. particularly in the field of education. Christian eschatological grace would do violence to Bantu nature . otherwise no development could have taken place . Is not this a reflection of the theological position and its interaction with society in Europe at the turn of the century In addition. if the Bantu peoples have virtually no concept of the future. seems to indicate a future perspective both on the part of the missionaries and of the Bantu . within this form of eschatologizing. in this case. in the theology of Jiirgen Moltmann. for the type of futuristic eschatology which Mbiti finds among the Akamba . The Bantu concept of time 19 consciousness was not readily available to English or Scottish missionaries at the turn of the century . clearly. considered as part of time as an onto- logical reality. Rahner. Without Christian initiatives. the development of East and Central Africa is unthinkable . and in that of Johannes Metz. with their concept of an 'ethical Jesus'. Perhaps if Mbiti had considered the concept of 'future' within eschatology as neither linear nor ontological. and this would account. the concept 'future' is not treated as a part of linear time. the conversion of the Bantu. at the level of eschatology. there is an indication of 'future-consciousness' upon which missionaries actively built. indeed. for whom 'every eschatological theology must become a political theology. but as the reality which penetrates and influences every . motivated by the concept of a 'better future'. but as a category separated from time exercising an influence on the whole of human development . calls God the 'Absolute Future' (18) .

and clock-time . does suggest a myth about the personal future . (i) Traditional Bantu time has virtually no concept of the future Mbiti has two arguments for the virtual absence of a future dimension . he would have interpreted his research findings differently . and it is necessary to distinguish in them the difference between the chrono- logical future and the imagined future . This statement is qualified by Mbiti : 'there are roundabout ways of speaking about events beyond that period' (20) . Against this wider background of concepts of time and future in Western philosophy and Christian eschatology. (ii) Traditional Bantu time is simply a composition of events . 'Two years from now' could be understood as contradicting the statement that traditional time has 'virtually no future'. characteristic of Greek thought. 'African myths are directed to the past and deal with items like creation. that is without a future. The second argument advanced by Mbiti is that within traditional religion. basing an interpretation on linguistic evidence alone . but this view has often been strongly criticized (22)_ Opposed to the Greek concept of time is the Jewish concept. . The first is that verb tenses in the Kikamba language have no future tense apart from a tense describing the near future : 'there is no concrete verb tense to express something happening beyond two years from now' . the concepts of time and future are used at different levels. From Mbiti's writings it is possible to distinguish three characteristics of traditional Bantu concepts of time : (i) Traditional Bantu time has virtually no concept of the future . and the existence of roundabout ways of saying things ought to make us careful about .20 Francis Gillies present (19). inseparable from the rhythm of nature. (iii) Traditional Bantu time moves backwards into the past . the linguistic one. the basis in the Western world of calendrical . is based on the Bantu's consciousness of chronological time. however. is generally regarded as cyclical. The coming of death. it is time to look more closely at Mbiti's detailed research . the first men. The first argument. There are no African myths about the future' (21) . In these two arguments. This time as Chronos. the separation of God from men and the coming of death . 'old Father Time'.

he harvests. It is a universal category in man . . objective world. (My emphasis . not linear time . planting and so on. in the future. . and cannot therefore constitute a part of time . Certainly. He plans. for instance (29). is not an indication that they did not possess this type of future consciousness but only that they had no need to systematize the category. It is a fundamental biological category. like that of day and night . this category 'future'. to the chronological future . it is not an affirmation about future time . Calendars reflect cyclical. Again. he has a large family which. in its repetition is infinite : 'People expect the years to come and go in an endless rhythm. of course it falls within the rhythm of natural phenomena' (25) . . harvesting . planting.) This clearly is an affirmation of the future. dry season. at this level of the meaning of time. . the traditional African has an identical concept to Western man . to have a meaning and become a reality .since the future cannot be felt it has no meaning' (24) . in Mbiti's understanding. . . . .They expect the events of the rain season. rain season again. . will co-operate with inexorable nature to provide for him in old age and so on . Obviously the category 'future' here needs to be separated from 'time' . The foundation of this future-directed consciousness is biological hunger . in its interaction with the empirical. as Mbiti argues on ontologically linear time . . This form of time is in the category of 'inevitable or potential time' (26) . Chronological time-consciousness has its basis in the inevitability of the rhythm of nature. yet Mbiti's argument for the virtual absence of the future in Bantu time relies on the Western model . dictated by hunger (28) . The concept of the infinite future in Western time is founded upon chrono- logical time. but. The unit of measurement of this inevitable-chronological time is the annual cycle. . to continue for ever' (27) . 'since what is in the future has not been experienced. Every society possesses it . in more detail . The fact that African societies did not develop numerical calendars. . not. It is this fundamental anthropological category which directs consciousness. he plants seeds. future. but it has to be experienced to become a reality : ' . Now.unless. discernible in Bantu time is essentially the same as the concept of an 'infinite future' in Western time . Such a juxtaposition of Greek and Hebrew concepts of time has also come in for heavy criticism (23). The Bantu concept of time 2L which has been called linear . which. it cannot make sense.time must be experienced in order to make sense.

and is possibly the overriding factor in his daily consciousness . mediated to consciousness through the experience of chronological inevitability . Although the West has 'socialized' nature. taking place within chronological time.'a land flowing with milk and honey' . future. in any religion. This imagined future. that the imagination creates 'an alternative future' . The myths within Judaism for example the creation story . in fact. They are the products of a people's imagination introduced to explain something which cannot be explained empirically . and Mbiti's analysis demonstrates this. my next year's holiday arrangements. However. Myths about the future. future. the myths about the future in Judaism . needs to be distinguished from the concept of the chrono- logical future . There is a difference in the contents of planning between traditional Africa and the Western societies. since the traditional Bantu still lives at subsistence level.22 Francis Gillies It is this identical category.are similar to the myths within traditional African religion . my personal planning of the future. are all based. only a difference of degree . as well as society's planning of the future. the future probably exercises him more than it does his Western counterpart. on the concept of the chronological future . It is within the experience of slavery and exploitation. This leads to Mbiti's second argument that there are no myths about the future in traditional Bantu religion . The imagined future occurs within chrono- logical nature. Mr Brezhnev's five-year plans. My present pension contributions. The concept of the future introduced here. are based on the concept. which leads . The Exodus events are good examples of this . are closely connected with historical events in the past . concerning the future . however. What Mbiti judges to be an essential difference is. The time span is irrelevant.are not strictly myths in the way that the creation story is a myth . but the source of planning. but it comes to birth as the result of the attempt to break or transform the inevitability of the world of natural time. because a future which is 'two years' hence remains a static category impinging on every present . despite the numerical time differences between them. and accompanying social structures . It is possible to argue that there are no myths. Understood in this way. which exercises the primacy in Western society . the biological necessity of providing for the future. is identical . certainly within Judaism and Christianity.

However. which are well researched and documented (31) . and it seems to me he is correct to argue that there is no hint of this form of messianism incorporated within traditional religion .'To be is to be . that is they have no daydreams . 'there is no belief in progress . for example. There are two ways to approach Mbiti's assertions here . Besides. which are incorporated within the religion . . the Bantu have no concept of a better. Now. but they are inseparable from historical events. Mbiti's writings show that the Bantu did not incorporate any historical events within his religion which would give rise to myths about the future. was based on a dream he had from God (34) . The first is to contradict him by arguing that there are myths about the future in traditional Bantu religion. Mbiti himself has argued for a 'theology of dreams . The Bantu concept of time 23 to action. creates within the objective possibilities of chronological time. However. . but they are dreams which influence the way in which people plan for the future : Amin's expulsion of the Asians. in the light of the seriousness with which Africans take some of their dreams' (33) . historical time . The imagined future need not be Utopic. and indeed under the influence of the category future of chronological time. Now the 'myths' of alternative futures contained within the Jewish and Christian religions are products of the imagination working under the constraints of the future. or happier personal future : 'traditional Africans do not build castles in the air'. but simply activated in response to the alienating nature of the present and the immediate future . Here Mbiti is speaking of night dreams. all such myths either are fairly late developments or there is disagreement about whether they are 'pure' or contain an admixture of the Christian myth of the parousia (32) . Mbiti is not concerned with 'other-worldly' myths but with how the messianic kingdom influences human behaviour in the present. . The second approach involves denying Mbiti's assertion that all of traditional life is religious . the Exodus and the resurrection of Christ. not daydreams.the future cannot be expected to usher in a radically different state of affairs' (30) . On the other hand. again. Mbiti argues that even at the level of the daydream. . the simplest form of the imagined future. but that does not mean that there were no historical events motivated by an imagined future different from that inevitable future of chronological time . and need not be incorporated within traditional religion.

Although Kagame argues that the ontologizing of time is more defined in the West. but simply by the hope of something better in the future? How was Ethiopia possible. . Mbiti also argues that time is not only experienced. individualized. but is also produced or 'created' by Bantu . This seems analogous to the concept of 'materia prima' as the basis for existential individuation : time here is individuated by being 'stamped' with the event or action . writing on the concept of Bantu time. However. neutral entity. Does not this suggest. which expresses itself through historical time. as Kagame suggests. it is experienced only along with event . To deny the imagined future is to deny the basis of hope. and to assert that Bantu consciousness is hope-less . time is an ontological reality? On the other hand. Perhaps. he maintains that Bantu time is ontological : 'In traditional Bantu culture. time is a colourless. or the kingdom of Ghana. Does not the history of traditional Africa reveal a secular history. This is precisely the way in which Husserl understands the relationship between the objective world (including objective time) and our perception of it : it requires consciousness to objectify it but it can be objectified only because it is potentially objectifiable (39) . drawn out of its anonymity' (36) . operates with an interacting form of potential time as well as potential matter . stamped. disagrees with Mbiti . reveals itself within traditional Bantu time-consciousness. the latter is marked. Alexis Kagame. (ii) Traditional African time as a composition of events What do we mean when we say that time is a composition of events? Presumably it can be taken to mean something like.(35) and to argue that traditional Bantu existence is both religious and secular . no time'. as long as it is not marked or stamped by some specific event . in terms of descriptive psychology. with a concept of historical time-consciousness generated not by Utopian optimism or Messianic hope. because it is capable of being experienced. because time is inseparable from event . . 'the metaphysical justification for merging place and time into a single category' (38) rests upon a form of perception which. 'no event. Now Mbiti describes Bantu time as 'something which has to be experienced in order to be real' (37) . that. This suggests that time in traditional Bantu thought is not an ontological reality . although not within traditional religion . or Zimbabwe? The imagined future.As soon as the action or the event impinges on time.24 Francis Gillies religious in a religious universe' . .

obviously.is a commodity which must be utilised. is equated with the absence of internal time-consciousness. No consciousness of an event. 'creation' of the event . no human praxis. seems to interact with event in order to make the event meaningful . . . Therefore the traditional Bantu's internal time-consciousness arises from his experience of transforming and unifying the separate- ness of objects and chronological time in the natural world . . but is both produced by. This is the way in which Husserl. consciousness through the interaction of consciousness with the objective world . is that in traditional society time is not bought and sold . is being used again at a different level of meaning here . . but human labour (praxis) and commodities (the continuation of praxis).time . Merleau-Ponty (42) and the later Sartre (43) understand the relationship between consciousness and being . sold and bought' (44) . which is composed by events. Time. It is not time that is being bought and sold. and mediated to. The objective world becomes the phenomenal world in the event-time structure. of course. The implication. and time. Witness also Kagame's agreement with this (45) . and this certainly is part of traditional African society just as much as it is part of Western society. nor exclusively rational. it would seem that time is created along with perception of. Mbiti gives a daily timetable to illustrate the inseparability of time and event (41) . Knowledge in this context is neither exclusively empirical. or when it is conceived as the result of human praxis (when the creator of the event and the observer are the same) . through the dialectic between consciousness and the objective world (and objective time) . Therefore. This indicates that Bantu consciousness operates 'intention- aliter'. that is his knowledge of the time-event structure depends upon his creation of that structure through human praxis. One must agree with Mbiti's statement that in 'Western or technological society . . This indicates that the traditional Bantu's theory of knowledge is not passive but active. that is the objective world takes on meaning only when it is understood as being in motion (an event caused by somebody other than the observer). Sunrise is the time for milking cattle : the cattle (objective world) and sunrise (objective-chronological time) are given meaning only through the human activity of milking . even although the economic structures are totally different .The Bantu concept of time 25 consciousness (40) . that is his knowledge arises from his creation of event .

does seem to be an ontological reality. and the fact that it is an ontological reality does not contradict the fact that it is experienced only along with event . On the other hand. then I enter the zamani period . . (iii) The time-consciousness of the Bantu moves into the past There are two concepts of time within traditional Bantu thought . for short periods. or even to interfere with the future. This surely indicates that although the primacy certainly belongs to the zamani. The chronological course of the world only adds to the past : 'each year comes and goes. the immediate future and my own experiential past . although it is an immediate . the spirits of the zamani are called upon to protect.the "golden age" lies in the zamani and not in some infinite future' (48) . even at this deeply religious level. and even to restore life to a dying child . for example to protect crops and family. in traditional Bantu time-consciousness. The sasa period extending back- wards beyond my own experience is absorbed within the zamani period (Swahili). but is a period full of activities and happenings . 26 Francis Gillies Time. because they are troubled by the ancestral spirits . The zamani is transmitted to the sasa period through remembrance and communication of the events which occurred in the zamani period : 'a person experiences time partly in his own individual life and partly through the society which goes back many generations before his birth' (46) . the activities and happenings of the zamani are extremely important in traditional Bantu thought and practice . Endlessness or "eternity" is something that lies only in the region of the past' (47) . The zamani is often invoked by the chief as a means of social control . What is of interest here is the interaction of the religious world of ancestral expiation with the secular world of the material future. The present time (the Swahili sasa) or the 'now period' encompasses the present. but continues as long as I am remembered by the living . Certainly. adding to the time dimension of the past . therefore. . The zamani is the seat of the ancestors and exercises great control over the present : Bantu children still obtain leave from their boarding schools to return. Moreover. When I finally disappear from living memory. which stretches backwards infinitely . to their villages. My individual sasa does not end at my death. the objective possibility for the event-time structure. the future is not absent from the Bantu's time dimension even within this religious area . the zamani period is 'not extinct.

I am only pointing directions. for our understanding of historical consciousness within Africa. decipher as essential differences would. present in Bantu daily consciousness and in Bantu time as an ontological reality. Joshua Kudadjie rejects Mbiti's contention that the African world is almost completely a religious world : it is both sacred and secular (49) . Mbiti's research findings can be given a modified interpretation from that given by him . However. If the future as I have described it is a major constituent of Bantu time-consciousness. more importantly. be only differences of degree . CONCLUSION My motivation for writing this article is a shared feeling with Mbiti that African Christian theology should become a critical theology. because the natural primacy of the future in practical Bantu time- consciousness would be a 'natural' foundation for Christian eschatology . This future dimension. because if the future is the fundamental anthropological category which is subject simply to differing forms of conditioning. would seem to make the task of constructing a critical theology more compatible with traditional time-consciousness. for the relationship between economic base and ideological superstructure within traditional Africa . and it could immediately be objected that both Mbiti and myself are making use of a form of Christian . not making analyses. This seems to indicate again that traditional African consciousness is both religious and secular . In this context too. then it is possible to discover a future dimension in Bantu time-consciousness within the three characteristics of Bantu time given by Mbiti . within the fields of anthropology and the study of religions. then it has wide implications for our understanding of traditional religions. then what we at present. the form of my argumentation should make less difficult the task of African theologians whose purpose is to incorporate the fundamental elements of traditional religion within Christian theology. in fact. The Bantu concept of time 27 future only . If my interpretation of Mbiti's research is correct. because it confirms rather than contradicts eschatological consciousness which is the basis of a critical theology . and the African Christian Church a critical Church . it has wide implications for the way in which we understand cross-cultural interaction. Moreover.

16 . 5 J . p .. Paris 1976. 11 E . 117 . Metz. The Hague 1964. 198 . S . in P . Ricoeur (ed . 20 J . The Confessions of St Augustine. Nbiti. p . Moltmann. 12 St Augustine. 115 . against which to measure Bantu time-consciousness . 21 . The Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness. Mbiti. 17 J . op . Herder 1963. 19 E . Parratt. Autumn 1977 . S . NOTES 1 J . p . . cit .. S . 7. 17 . African Religions and Philosophy. 14 J . p . I have confined myself within the limits of the interaction of Bantu time-consciousness with Christian eschatological consciousness. S . 1967 . Mbiti. 4 J . Nairobi 1971 . 'New Testament Eschatology and the Akamba of Kenya'. op . cit . S . 17 . R . p . cit . S . S . p . Mbiti. 18 . London 1967. 6 J . 21 J . ibid . 'New Testament Eschatology and the Akamba of Kenya'. S . S . Mbiti. S . 'Gott ist die absolute Zukunft' . 22 G . Mbiti. ibid . which is itself conditioned. 9. ibid . 18 K . p . op . p . London 1961. Parratt. Lloyd. 10 J . passim . p . Vol .. p . 17 . A Philosophy of the Future. 7 J . 18 . Bloch. cit . Barr. 117 . ibid .). Religion. S . op . passim .. London 1966. p . B . London 1969 . Biblical Words for Time. 16 J . 2 J . p . Rahner. African Religions and Philosophy. 15 J . Mbiti. ibid .. E . cit . 21 . African Initiatives in Religion.. S . 8 J . op . For this latter reason. Theology of the World. Theology of Hope. Mbiti. Cultures and Time. ibid . 8. Nmiti. S . p . cit . 9 J . Barrett (ed . 'New Testament Eschatology and the Akamba of Kenya'. 13 J . Mbiti.. and leave to others the task of analysing any wider implications . Mbiti. p . Vol . op . in D . passim . Mbiti. Mbiti. 19 . in Africa. 'Views on Time in Greek Thought'... ibid . 'The African Concept of Time'. 'New Testament Eschatology and the Akamba of Kenya'. 3 The phrase is taken from an article title : J . African Religions and Philosophy. 23 J .28 Francis Gillies consciousness. Gegenwart des Christentums. London 1962. Husserl.).

37 J . op . op .. 'Does Religion Determine Morality in African Societies '. Parrinder.. op . Hebrewisms of West West Africa. 49 J . NewYork193 . op .. 29 J .. p . 21 . p . London 1967 . 38 . The Sonjo... London 1969 . . p . cit . p . p . S . 'God. African Religions and Philosophy. S . 32 R . R . Williams. for example. Mbiti. op . 21 . cit . p . African Religions and Philosophy.. in J . p . 36 A .Merleau-Ponty. p . Mbiti. op . 35 J . Kagame. S .. 47 J . expect a parousia . African Religions and Philosophy. Mbiti. 99 . cit . The Phenomenology of Perception. p . p . 48 J . cit ... p . Mbiti. cit .. 26 J . cit . 124-33 . Mbiti. op . Religion in a Pluralistic Society. Gray. p . cit . S . cit . A Philosophy of the Future. Bloch. The Sonjo of Tanganyika. op . op . 45 A . 23 .. S . op . Mbiti. S . Mbiti. S . ibid . 'The Empirical Apperception of Time and the Conception of History in Bantu Thought'. ibid . S . passim . in Religion in a Pluralistic Society. 20 . 46 J . Mbiti. cit . Mbiti. African Religions and Philosophy. 31 See. 'New Testament Eschatology and the Akamba of Kenya'. S . 40 J .. African Religions and Philosophy. African Mythology. G . Mbiti. ibid . 19 . 43 J-P . S . 34 J . ibid . London 1963 . 262 . 25 J .. 19 . 19 . 17 . Kagame. p . Pobee (ed .. 23 . Sartre. ibid . cit ..The Bantu concept of time 29 24 J . African Religions and Philosophy. Mbiti. p . J . S . Mbiti.. Dreams and African Militancy'. 38 A . p . S . op .. 42 M .. cit . 27 J . p . 39 E . ibid . 19 . op . p . cit . Mbiti. pp . African Religions and Philosophy. 60-77 . 41 . cit . J . S . 44 J . Gray. 30 J . Critique of Dialectical Reason. F . 92 . 28 E . African Religions and Philosophy. op . cit . Mbiti. S . Kudadjie. 41 J . cit . S . in Cultures and Time. S . 21 . 33 J . op . Mbiti.. Husserl. pp . op .). 99 . London 1975 .. p . cit . op .. 21 . S . F . Mbiti. a small tribe in northern Tanzania. Kagame.

30 Francis Gillies FRANCIS GILLIES is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Religious Studies at the College of St Mark & St John. Malawi (until July 1980) . At present he is on secondment to the department of education. 'The Eschatological Structures of Christianity and Marxism' . Zomba. . University of Malawi. Department of Education. University of Malawi . Gillies. Plymouth His doctoral thesis (University of Sussex) concerned. PO Box 280. Dr F .