Paper presented during the Annual Conference of the Philosophical Society of Southern Africa, 16 - 18 January 2008. Hosted by the Department of Philosophy, University of Pretoria. ABSTRACT: In the Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel provides his main discussion of the theme of recognition as it appears in the relationship between self and other. Recognition within his framework carries a certain amount of ambiguity. Recognition carries a sense of hope but simply if one can live with the domination that accompanies human relations. This means that recognition can be defined in terms that are detrimental to the other as conveyed in the master / slave dialectic that Hegel provides. The dynamic underpinning of this dialectic is taken up by Fanon in his critique of Western colonialism. Fanon’s critique is also a blow for the idea of mutual, reciprocal recognition because the master / slave dialectic was implicit in human relations in the colonies. Fanon provides a picture of this relation in terms of race, and recognition becomes a problematic notion in light of the Western conception of race. I would like to contend that Fanon’s work does not necessarily have to find its conclusion in a suspicious (and violent) notion of recognition. There is the possibility of an optimistic moment in his work where engagement with the other rests on mutual and reciprocal recognition.