In spite of his visionary work and enduring legacy, Karl Marx was a product of his time and of Europe as a rising colonial empire with ambitions of conquest and domination, and the larger framework of his analysis was bound by the evolutionary thinking of that time. Most western scholars of Marxism have, thus far, ignored non-Western (including African) contributions to Marxism as they have been appropriated and reshaped in the context of decolonization and postcolonial struggles. The author revisits the contribution of non-Western Marxism to the discourse of liberation and colonialism, and most specifically Black/African Marxism, through a close reading of an autobiographical text written by the late Sudanese Marxist, Abdel Khaliq Mahgoub, in the course of elaborating why he became a Marxist. Mahgoub was very clear in differentiating between Western philosophy and Marxism. He was not interested in the “problem of culture for culture’s sake,” but as a body of knowledge that can be used in analyzing societal problems. For him, “Marxism is a distinguished epistemology in both its coherence and consistency in its unsurpassed capacity for the holistic analysis of multiple dimensions of culture and society, universal values, politics and aesthetics, literature, philosophy, and economy.” Mahgoub’s constant search for answers to the application of socialist ideals and their adaptabilities to Sudanese realities led him to the production of a large body of texts, which have ranged in subject from internal programmatic writing for the party to translation of aesthetic and literary works, concern with international Marxist theories, and the challenges of Marxism in African contexts.

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