In failing to repair relations and right land dispossession as Ubuntu demands, there is yet to be meaningful reconciliation with Black people
Under a 1986 newsletter headline, “Ubuntu, Abantu, Abelungu”, Black Sash, the anti-apartheid organisation founded as the vanguard of white liberal women’s opposition in South Africa, reported surprising findings from a white fieldworker in their programme against forced land removals – Black people of the land do not consider white people to be people. That is, we do not consider them to be Abantu. Instead, they are abelungu.
“Ubuntu, Abantu, Abelungu” appeared a few years before the late archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu thrust Ubuntu – the African philosophy best understood through the proverb found in Bantu languages across the continent, “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu ngabanye bantu” (a person is a person through other people) – into the global imagination as he presided over post-apartheid South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission (TRC).
Panashe Chigumadzi is the author of These Bones Will Rise Again and a doctoral candidate at Harvard UniversityContinue reading...