Source: (1996) South African Journal of Human Rights. 12:641-648.

Early in May 1996 a conference of black academics was convened at the University of Venda to discuss the need for a coherent philosophy of education which would assist the process of Africanisation of South African universities. The political power may now be in the hands of the African majority, the said, but institutes of higher education are still dominated by cultural and educational values imported from Europe. This attempt to find indigenous sources of academic endeavour is not limited to the universities. In the first case to come before the full panel of the Constitutional Court, S v Makwanyane, the judges sought to establish a specifically South African jurisprudence based on the untranslatable concept of ubuntu. Their enthusiasm in this exercise, however, has not been manifest in any subsequent judgment, and until the recent decision on the constitutionality of the amnesty laws, ubuntu has received barely a mention. Will ubuntu be resuscitated, or was it stillborn? If so, what are the reasons for its early demise? (excerpt)