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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


KRONENBERG, Frank; KATHARD, Harsha; RUDMAN, Debbie Laliberte  and  RAMUGONDO, Elelwani L. Can post-apartheid South Africa be enabled to humanise and heal itself?. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2015, vol.45, n.1, pp.20-27. ISSN 2310-3833.

This paper posits that for occupational therapy and occupational science to be able to address complex social issues, a radical reconfiguration of the dominant historical rationalities that govern their theorising and practices is required. This position is informed by the rationale for and the philosophical and theoretical foundations of a doctoral study currently being undertaken by the first author, entitled: 'Humanity affirmations and enactments in post-apartheid South Africa: A phronetic case study of human occupation and health'. The paper commences with the description of the problem - a historicised dual occupational diagnosis. The first diagnosis considers post-apartheid South Africa (1994-2014) as embodying and embedded in a vicious cycle; 'divided-wounded-violent', and held hostage by an enduring history of dehumanisation. The second diagnosis considers occupational therapy and occupational science, which the paper argues are not yet adequately positioned and prepared, both theoretically and practically, to serve as enabling resources for society to interrupt vicious cycles of dehumanisation. In order to address the problem we need practical knowledge to possibly enable our society to humanise and heal itself. This paper proposes an alternative two pronged philosophical foundation - Phronesis and Ubuntu - to advance such knowledge. The synergistic use of critical contemporary interpretations of Aristotle's intellectual virtue Phronesis (practical knowledge) to guide theorising about knowledge production; along with the African philosophy of critical humanism called Ubuntu to guide theorising about the core concepts of human occupation and health as well as their interrelationship.

Keywords : Critical; Phronesis; Ubuntu; human occupation; health; humanity.

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