Book Chapter

Frames of Ubuntu: (Re)framing an ethical education


Swanson DM (2014) Frames of Ubuntu: (Re)framing an ethical education. In: Smits H & Naqvi R (eds.) Framing Peace: Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as "Radical Hope". Complicated Conversation, 44. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 49-63.

First paragraph: In 2009, South Africa, a nation of democratic post-apartheid natality (Arendt, 1958), still clinging to a fragile afterbirth of national reconciliation, saw a conflagration of xenophobia directed at African foreigners-migrants and refugees-to this country. Despite Thabo Mbeki's earlier attempts at catalyzing pan-Africanist unity in the form of an African Renaissance (see Diop, 2000), colonially invested divisions on the basis of nationalities and language difference, if not specifically race on this occasion, became flash points for brutalization against a constructed "Other." In the mournful wake of this xenophobic violence that saw tens of people burnt alive, while hundreds more were hacked and maimed with pangas, the question of what it meant to be (South) African, to belong to a brotherhood or sisterhood that transcended race, difference, and "otherness," was brought urgently and brutally into question. Attacked because they were considered foreign, migrants and refugees from conflicts and war in Zimbabwe, Congo, Ethiopia, and Somalia, the South African utopia set up by the new democratic post-apartheid dispensation, based on a moral fundamental of inclusiveness, collapsed in a cloud of dissenting smoke from fires of fury and frustration. The nation-building project of Mandela and Tutu that underwrote an indigenous philosophy of Ubuntu (see Swanson, 2007) and humanity to heal the wounds of the past, to forgive, and celebrate the "rainbow nation" as an act of reconciliation, forgiveness, and peace, split its prisms of light and hope to lay shattered in despair and horror.

Other; xenophobia; Ubuntu; forgiveness; peace; reform; transformation; democracy; Education/democratic education; Hope/democratic/hope; violence/symbolic violence; injustice; inequality; neoliberalism; leaking; narrative; spirituality; precarity; vulnerability; frames of resistance; frames of Ubuntu

Title of seriesComplicated Conversation
Number in series44
Publication date31/12/2014
PublisherPeter Lang
Publisher URL…oncordeid=312241
Place of publicationNew York
ISSN of series1534-2816