Ubuntu and the Reconstitution of Community

Ubuntu and the Reconstitution of Community

Edited by James Ogude
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/16/2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-04210-1
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Ubuntu is premised on the ethical belief that an individual's humanity is fostered in a network of human relationships: I am because you are; we are because you are. The essays in this lively volume elevate the debate about ubuntu beyond the buzzword it has become, especially within South African religious and political contexts. The seasoned scholars and younger voices gathered here grapple with a range of challenges that ubuntu puts forward. They break down its history and analyze its intellectual surroundings in African philosophical traditions, European modernism, religious contexts, and human rights discourses. The discussion embraces questions about what it means to be human and to be a part of a community, giving attention to moments of loss and fragmentation in postcolonial modernity, to come to a more meaningful definition of belonging in a globalizing world. Taken together, these essays offer a rich understanding of ubuntu in all of its complexity and reflect on a value system rooted in the everyday practices of ordinary people in their daily encounters with churches, schools, and other social institutions.

Author Bio

James Ogude is Senior Research Fellow and Director at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria. He is author of Ngugi's Novels and African History: Narrating the Nation.



These essays offer more focused treatments of ubuntu with reference to relatively specific topics and issues. A first-rate and vibrant discussion.


 (Barry Hallen, author of The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Discourse about Values in Yoruba Culture)

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Table of Contents


Introduction / James Ogude

1. The African Bantu Concept of Ubuntu in the Christian Theology and Praxis of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and its Implications for Global Justice and Human Rights / Aloo Osotsi Mojola

2. Crafting Ideal Conditions: "Ubuntu" and the Challenges of Modern Society / D. A. Masolo

3. The Art of Personhood: Kinship and Its Social Challenges / Bhekizizwe Peterson

4. The Philosophy of Ubuntu and the Notion of Vital Force / Niels Weidtmann

5. Rethinking Ubuntu / Dirk J. Louw

6. Ubuntu and Oruka's Humanitarian View of Punishment / Oriare Nyarwath

7. Ubuntu and Buen Vivir: A Comparative Approach / Anke Graness

8. Ubuntu and Christianity / Augustine Shutte

9. Ubuntu, Reconciliation in Rwanda and Returning to Personhood through Collective Narrative / Anna-Marie de Beer

10. Utu/Ubuntu and Community Restoration: Narratives of Survivors in Kenya's 2007 Post-election Violence / James Ogude and Unifier Dyer