Source: (2012) Paper presented at the 1st International Symposium on Restorative Justice and Human Rights. 2-7 June 2012, Skopelos Island, Greece.

Restorative justice is in line with the African ethic and humanistic philosophy of ubuntu, which encompasses issues of human dignity and respect within the understanding that an individual’s humanity is interconnected with the dignity and humanity of others. The same values and principles that underpin restorative justice are embodied in the African philosophy of ubuntu. In South Africa restorative justice principles are entrenched in our laws and judicial system but westernisation and industrialisation resulted in acculturation, eroding traditional values and created a state of anomie. In this paper it is proposed that restorative justice processes can be used to revive an ubuntu worldview thereby promoting social transformation. Traditional leadership in rural communities is entrenched in the history of South Africa and other African countries. Such leaders act as governors of their communities and are tasked to ensure the social welfare of the community. They also serve a judicial function, thus play an important role in justice and crime prevention in a community. A case study done in the Ixopo, Amakosi area, South Africa will be used to illustrate how the training of traditional leaders in restorative justice principals is used to counteract the erosion of moral and social codes in society. (author's abstract)