Ubuntu between tradition and modernity: on A report on Ubuntu by Leonard Praeg

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Rossouw, Johann
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University of the Free State
In Part 1, I overview Praeg’s points of departure, namely critical humanism, the openness of the norms of justice, the importance of potential, his conception of modernity, a violent ontology, and the state as locus of politics. The remainder of Part 1 concerns the main arguments of his five chapters. These are the shifting meaning of Ubuntu in precolonial, colonial and postcolonial Africa; Nyerere’s ujamaa experiment in Tanzania as a case study of the dangers inherent in ignoring the colonial disruption Ubuntu; the myth of the complete break with the past allegedly represented by post-apartheid South Africa, and how the latter is haunted by Ubuntu, and Praeg’s concluding link between text worker or construction worker and Ubuntu. In part 2, I critically discuss Praeg’s account of modernity and his dualistic distinction between South African Africans and Afrikaners that need to be set aside to decolonise South Africa.
Ubuntu, Praeg, Leonhard, Critical humanism, Post-apartheid South Africa
Rossouw, J. (2014). Ubuntu between tradition and modernity: on A report on Ubuntu by Leonard Praeg. Acta Academica: Special issue: social theory, human rights and philosophy, 46(4), 70-92.