Boubou Hama (1906–1982) was an anti-colonialist activist, scholar, and Niger's first President of the National Assembly. He founded the Musée National Boubou Hama du Niger, which was named after him in 2008.

I am currently annotating my translation of Boubou Hama's 1974 philosophical treatise, Le Retard de l'Afrique, which was published by Presence Africaine. In Le Retard de l’Afrique, Hama accepted certain colonial myths in order to subvert them. He revived 1940s Orientalist approachesto explain that ancient India had reached the pinnacle of human achievement with regards to the spirit. He acknowledged that the industrial West had made unprecedented progress in developing humanity’s material potential. On the surface, the book’s title accepted the racist, primitivist, Hegelian myth that Africa was behind the West—a few rungs below on an imagined social Darwinist evolutionary ladder. Yes, Africa is behind, Hama said—but behind on an industrialized, dehumanizing path that would lead to humanity’s decline. According to Hama, it was precisely Africa’s lateness that made it capable of saving humanity.

Boubou Hama