Ubuntu as human flourishing?

An African traditional religious analysis of ubuntu and its challenge to Christian anthropology

Authors

  • C Banda North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17570/stj.2019.v5n3.a10

Abstract

From a Christian anthropological perspective, the article seeks to answer the question: what does ubuntu mean when analysed from the anthropocentric nature of African traditional religions (ATR)? This leads to another question: how does the ATR informed meaning of ubuntu challenge Christian anthropology in Africa in the light of the prevailing context of human suffering and poverty? These related questions are answered by critiquing the common tendency in modern scholarship on ubuntu of linking the concept with the Nguni proverb umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. A plea is made that ubuntu should instead be interpreted according to the anthropocentric nature of ATR that leads to an existential view of ubuntu as human flourishing. The article concludes by looking at how Christianity in Africa should develop an anthropological perspective that promotes human flourishing by enabling African human agency and enhancing a holistic engagement of the socioeconomic and political factors that hinder human flourishing on the continent.

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Published

2020-01-20

Issue

Section

General Articles • Algemene Artikels