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Ubuntu and the Challenges of Multiculturalism in post-apartheid South Africa

Louw, Dirk J
June 4, 2015

Source: Sovenga South Africa: Department of Philosophy, Unversity of the North.

According to Dirk Louw, the African concept of “ubuntuâ€? (meaning “humanity,â€? “humanness,â€? or even “humanenessâ€?) indicates a basic respect and compassion for others. It is based on the perspective that individuals are people in an essential way because of their relationships with others. With all of this in mind, Louw explores ubuntu as a response to multiculturalism in South Africa. The decolonization of Africa – with the dismantling of apartheid as a recent example – has led to a greater acknowledgement of the plurality of cultures on the continent. In the face of a plurality of cultures, people often move toward either absolutism or relativism in their assessment of others. Louw aims to show how ubuntu can lead to an assessment of others that transcends absolutism without resorting to relativism.


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