Ubuntu in South Africa: Hopes and disappointments – a pedagogical perspective
Keywords:Crime, Education, Human dignity, Jurisprudence, South African Constitution, Ubuntugogy, Ubuntu
The indigenous sub-Saharan African philosophy of ubuntu that comes down to the expression: “I am a human being because of being with other human beings”, developed over centuries. This philosophy, embodying the notion of deep respect for all human beings, is rooted in a humane inclination towards kindness and sound relationships among all people. Before its adoption as a principle in the South African Interim Constitution of 1993, ubuntu had never been referred to, or codified in any statutory format. Since then, however, although not mentioned in the final Constitution of 1996, the humane undertones of the ubuntu philosophy have often surfaced in South African jurisprudence, particularly in cases involving citizens’ Constitutional right to human dignity (section 10). This paper examines the phenomenon that the actual modern-day practical, day-to-day life in South Africa does not seem to attest to application of the ubuntu ideal of maintaining and improving the human condition. After examining a number of possible reasons for this phenomenon, ubuntugogy is presented as a possible remedy for this condition. This paper reports on an interdisciplinary analysis involving philosophical, societal, anthropological, legal and pedagogical perspectives. A mixed method research methodology in the form of a social science based interpretive-constructivist qualitative approach combined with a legal approach was followed.
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