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Social transformation through restorative justice processes — – A case study of Traditional Leaders in Ixopo.

Schoeman, Marelize
June 4, 2015

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)


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