WHAT DOES COMPASSION, OR UBUNTU, MEAN IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICA?
Dr Mamphela Ramphele, co-founder ReimagineSA
Saturday 27 January 10.00–11.00 am; 12.00–13.00 pm COURSE FEES R220; Staff and students R110
Africa as the cradle of humankind and the first human civilisation developed its philosophy of life on Ubuntu – the interconnectedness and interdependence of human beings within the web of life. Colonial conquest and extractive economic systems undermined this notion of what it means to be human, leaving humanity across the globe wounded and divided by the ‘divide and conquer’ regimes imposed on the world.
Humanity faces multiple crises: inequities and conflicts; climate change; pandemics; geopolitical threats. Humanity is called to confront these crises as reflections of the brokenness of our sense of who we are and how we live together in harmony within the web of life. South Africa is unfortunately a poster child of all these crises. Every crisis is an opportunity. How do we return to the safe spaces for conversations about who we are as humans, and relearn anew how to focus on the essence of being human: Dignity, fairness/equity, compassion/ Ubuntu? Our country has a great opportunity to acknowledge that it has gone astray in search of having instead of celebration of the richness of being. We can re-embrace our humanity and thereby become a beacon of hope of a world with a human heart.
- What does it mean to be human?
- How can humanity re-embrace the essence of being human?
Ramphele, M. 2017. Dreams, Betrayal and Hope. Cape Town: Penguin Books. Biko, H. 2021. Black Consciousness – A Love Story. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball.
Legrand T. 2021. Politics of Being – Wisdom and Science for a New Development Paradigm. UK: Ocean of Wisdom Press.