Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 36 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Storying <i>Ubuntu </i>as a rainbow nation</b>]]> South Africa is often referred to as the 'Rainbow Nation'. This term was coined by Desmond Tutu during the advent of democracy in the country. Tutu stated: 'They tried to make us one colour: purple. We say we are the rainbow people! We are the new people of the new south Africa!' This article seeks to answer the question as to whether the Rainbow Nation is a true reflection of Ubuntu in South Africa or whether it is just idealism <![CDATA[<b><i>Vhuthu </i>in the <i>muta: </i>A practical theologian's autoethnographic journey</b>]]> A practical theologian constructs his autoethnographic and interactive narrative with Venda people and others. His own journey is integrated with those of church and community members. These joint lived experiences were shared in the households and families of the relevant co-participants. The concept of Vhuthu in the muta is explored in relation to its potential and problematics by means of autoethnographic stories, relevant literature, art, poems and linguistics. The article appreciatively and critically reflects upon Vhuthu and its possible value for practical theology. <![CDATA[<b>Trying for better circumstances (Zama Zama): Exploring <i>ubuntu </i>amongst marginalised women in an informal settlement</b>]]> This article explores possible experiences of ubuntu in the Zama Zama informal settlement. Postfoundational practical theology and the narrative approach function as paradigm and methodology. Themes and/or discourses like poverty, violence, xenophobia and the role of the local church were identified, but ubuntu is not always visible as a lived reality amongst the members of the community. The church is an exception. Women play a leading role in the congregation and it is in the church where ubuntu values are visible and experienced. <![CDATA[<b>Oppressive and liberative: A Zimbabwean woman's reflections on <i>ubuntu</i></b>]]> Ubuntu as an African ethic has been embraced in Africa as one that defines an individual's African-ness. Its influence has gone beyond the African borders with other continents pondering how it can be embraced in their contexts. Scholars from Africa and beyond have eulogised the indispensability of ubuntu. However, it is a fact that most academic writings on the concept by various scholars have neglected to look at ubuntu and how it intersects with gender - especially with a particular focus on its ambivalence in the lives of women in Africa. This article, therefore, seeks to make a critical reflection on the ambivalence of the concept focussing mainly on the cultural traditions of the Shona of Zimbabwe from the perspective of a womanist. <![CDATA[<b><i>Ubuntu </i>and the body: A perspective from theological anthropology as embodied sensing</b>]]> The author asks whether the notion of ubuntu truly exists within contemporary South African society and how the experiencing of South Africans' embodiment can be connected to ubuntu - especially amongst black people. The notion of ubuntu is briefly explored within law and theology. The author has recently proposed a model for a contemporary theological anthropology as 'embodied sensing' which functions within the intimate relationship of the lived body, experiencing in a concrete life-world, language, and the 'more than'. It is from this perspective that the notion of ubuntu is explored. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring <i>ubuntu </i>discourse in South Africa: Loss, liminality and hope</b>]]> This article explores the current state of the social value of ubuntu. The notion of ubuntu seems to offer possibilities for nation building and social cohesion in post-Apartheid South Africa. However, this is contested by scholars who argue that the concept is vague and open to abuse. Interviews reveal that, whilst core elements remain, the meaning of ubuntu has been eroded, and is subject to distortion and even abuse. Ubuntu exists tightly interwoven with un-ubuntu. The notion of liminality is introduced to understand the current state of both ubuntu and South African society in transition. A liminal space offers possibilities for the creative re-imagining and recovery of ubuntu as a social value that can drive social transformation in South Africa. The lens of discursive leadership offers insight into the ways in which leaders can stimulate and shape ubuntu discourse and facilitate the construction of new meaning in society. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The article forms part of broader research into perceptions of difference and threat, and prejudice on the part of South Africans towards foreigners. Ubuntu is a social value that should challenge prejudice and xenophobia and shape social relationships. Research in a rural and urban context in the Eastern Cape suggests that ubuntu discourse has been eroded and is in need of reinvigoration. <![CDATA[<b><i>Ubuntu </i>and the quest for land reform in South Africa</b>]]> In this article, I ask the question how we can relate ubuntu to South African land reform from a practical-theological point of view. I will look at researchers' efforts to understand ubuntu and how these efforts do and do not integrate into the conversation around land reform. Referring to land reform, I will focus on two private narratives as opposed to dominant public narratives. An in-depth discussion on legislation and research on perspectives of land ownership therefore falls outside of the ambit of this article. In conclusion, I will argue that the relationship between a landowner and his or her dispossessed coworkers can be the fertile soil which ubuntu requires to find sustainable local answers to land reform. <![CDATA[<b>Ancient Egyptian <i>Ma'at </i>or Old Testament deed-consequence nexus as predecessors of <i>ubuntu?</i></b>]]> The Ancient Egyptian concept of Ma'at shows some analogies to the concept of ubuntu. Both concepts seem to presuppose that people in a given society are willing to act for each other. In Bible exegesis, the concept of Ma'at has attracted interest in connection with the Old Testament deed-consequence nexus (i.e. good consequences follow good deeds). The article looks at significant parallels between ubuntu, Ma'at and the deed-consequence nexus. Its aim is to outline questions that have been discussed in the context of those two ancient concepts and that could be helpful for future research on ubuntu. <![CDATA[<b><i>Ubuntu </i></b><b>and the journey of listening to the Rwandan genocide story</b>]]> In the face of collective trauma such as genocide, apartheid, mass killings and xenophobia, ubuntu requires of us to show solidarity with our fellow human beings. To my mind, one of the highest forms of doing so is to open up spaces of authentic listening to the stories of those who have experienced these atrocities. In the genocide narratives of the commemorative project Rwanda: Écrire par devoir de mémoire (Rwanda: Writing as a duty to memory), travelling and writing become a mode of listening and transformation. However, this theme is articulated very differently in the many texts which form part of the project. This article concentrates on one such representation of the transformative voyage that the writers propose, namely the highly symbolic work of Koulsy Lamko. <![CDATA[<b>Narratives of difference and sameness</b>]]> As an Afrikaner man doing research on ubuntu, what are the possibilities for meaningful research? In this article, some aspects of the difficulties and possibilities that may be encountered in such a research programme will be explored. Within a postmodern worldview, and framed within postfoundational practical theology, social-constructionism, a narrative hermeneutic metaphor and autoethnography will be used as tools to explore some difficulties and possibilities of such a research undertaking. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring 'nostalgia' and 'imagination' for <i>ubuntu</i>-research: A postfoundational perspective</b>]]> This article is an effort to put some of the paradoxical and confusing concepts of ubuntu on the table. Both the terms 'nostalgia' and 'imagination' provide us with language that can help us to talk about this complex of ideas and perspectives. On the one hand, the clouds of nostalgia surrounding ubuntu will be acknowledged and used. On the other hand, the difficulties and challenges brought about by nostalgic language have to be explored with imagination. Options for the conducting of empirical research in order to create a thicker understanding, including nostalgic language, will then be discussed. I will firstly reflect on the role of nostalgia as the atmosphere within which concepts of ubuntu find breathing space. Then the two types of nostalgia, namely restorative and reflective nostalgia will be discussed. The choice for reflective nostalgia will be argued and explained and this will hopefully provide an imaginative basis for the development of the research project on such an evasive concept as ubuntu. In conclusion some methodological guidelines, based on the postfoundational approach, will be drawn. <![CDATA[<b>Discovering and exploring <i>ubuntu</i>-language in the dialogue between the Dutch Reformed Church and the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa</b>]]> Discussions with members of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) in Ohrigstad illustrate the possibilities of ubuntu-language in overcoming racism and prejudice. After proposing a number of meanings and values related to ubuntu, this research explores the role of ubuntu-language - and at times the lack thereof - in the concrete relationship between these two faith communities as an expression of recent South African history. Ubuntu-language seems to offer unique outcomes in this relationship in strengthening identity, unleashing vitality, celebrating diversity, awakening solidarity, revealing humanity, bolstering individualism and enhancing Christianity. <![CDATA[<b>Ubuntu feminism: Tentative reflections</b>]]> The starting-point for the article is to provide a brief background on the Ubuntu Project that Prof. Drucilla Cornell convened in 2003; most notably the interviews conducted in Khayamandi, the support of a sewing collective, and the continued search to launch an Ubuntu Women's Centre. The article will reflect on some of the philosophical underpinnings of ubuntu, whereafter debates in Western feminism will be revisited. Ubuntu feminism is suggested as a possible response to these types of feminisms. The authors support an understanding of ubuntu as critique and ubuntu feminism accordingly as a critical intervention that recalls a politics of refusal. The article ends by raising the importance of thinking about spatiality through ubuntu, and vice versa. It may seem strange to title an article Ubuntu feminism when feminism itself has often been identified as a European or Western idea. But, this article will argue that ubuntu offers conceptions of transindividuality and ways of social belonging that could respond in a meaningful way to some of European feminism's own dilemmas and contradictions. Famously, one of the most intense debates in feminism was between those who defended an ethic of care in a relational view of the self, on one side, and those feminists who held on to more traditional conceptions of justice, placing an emphasis on individuality and autonomy, on the other side. The authors will suggest that ubuntu could address this tension in feminism. Thus, in this article the focus will not simply be on ubuntu, in order to recognise that there are other intellectual heritages worthy of consideration, other than those in Europe and the United States. It will also take a next step in arguing that ubuntu may be a better standpoint entirely from which to continue thinking about what it means to be a human being, as well as how to conceive of the integral interconnection human beings all have with one another. This connection through ubuntu is always sought ethically, and for the authors it underscores what we have both endorsed as ethical feminism. In this essay it is considered how ubuntu feminism could refuse the demands of patriarchy, as well as the confines of liberal feminism. The authors are interested in thinking about ubuntu in general as critique, as a critical response to the pervasiveness of a liberal legal order. Their aim is also to explore tentatively ubuntu and spatiality - how could one understand ubuntu in spatial terms, and more pertinently, how could ubuntu and ubuntu feminism relate to spatial justice? Before turning to the theoretical discussion, some of the on-the-ground history of the Ubuntu Project will be reviewed, including the Project's attempt to build an Ubuntu Women's Centre in Khayamandi in the Western Cape, South Africa.