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Ubuntu and modernity in Africa: a critical examination of Ubuntu and its challenges in modern philosophical discourses.

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The debate between Bernard Matolino and Wenceslaus Kwindingwi’s ‘The end of ubuntu’ and Thaddeus Metz’s ‘Just the beginning for ubuntu [..]’ has been a major force to be reckoned with and a serious bone of contention at least for thinkers such asMatolino; Jonathan Chimakonam; Mojalefa Koenane and Cyril-Mary Olatunji; and Leonhard Praeg. Matolino and Kwindingwiargue thatubuntuas anethical theory anda recommendedway of life has reached itsend. Theyinsist on itsrelevance asserved only by small-scale and tight-knit communities.Not onlyis this so but they also argue that ubuntu is not relevant for modern African realities.On the contrary, Metz thinks that ubuntuis still relevantas an ethical theory and a way of life.He argues thatitsrelevance isnotlimited totraditional and pre-industrial set ups. He thinks that ubuntuis open to the dictatesand dynamicsof modernity since those who reside in large-scale communitieslive up to its values. He suggeststhat scholarly inquiry into and political application of ubuntu must be construed as projects that are only now properly getting started.However, this dissertationseeks to subject thison-goingdebateand its two contributors(Chimakonam and Koenane and Olatunji)to philosophical scrutiny. Its originalcontributionto literatureis two-fold.Firstly,it arguesthat Metz’s; Chimakonam’s; and Koenane and Olatunji’sarguments are neither compelling nor should they be adumbrated as standard replies to Matolino and Kwindingwi. Secondly, it contendsthat ubuntu is not relevant for modern African societies.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.