Towards the next phase of Ubuntu

‘Caring for vulnerable people in late modern society: towards the next phase of Ubuntu’ is the full title of the inaugural address recently delivered by Prof. Dr. Andries Baart at Vaal Triangle Campus of North-West University in South Africa.

In his inaugural address Baart first highlights the problem of vulnerable elderly people in present-day South Africa. He then explains his Theory of Presence and how he intends to apply it to the Optentia programma of North-West University.

What is Ubuntu?

While preparing for his address prof. Baart carefully examined studies about Ubuntu and as the next step in his address he analyses Ubuntu as the underpinning worldview of social policy. He identifies strong and weak points. One of the problems with Ubuntu, he points out, is the fact that the concept of Ubuntu is not really open for criticism. He claims that a theory has to be refined and adapted in order to continually improve and develop it further. In its current format the concept of Ubuntu is not suitable to achieve that. Baart offers this critique of Ubuntu in order to find common ground with Ethics of Care.

Ubuntu powered by Ethics of Care and Presence

According to Baart the next step will be an Ubuntu that is driven by the Theory of being present and the Ethics of Care. It has to be ready to address the social challenges of the most vulnerable South Africans in a society that is becoming increasingly modern. He claims that the Ubuntu of 1994 and the Ubuntu of 2016 differ immensely. The political and socio-economic environments in South Africa have undergone great changes. This also offers opportunities for Ethics of Care to be strengthened by Ubuntu.

Here you can listen to the full address:

Before the start of his address prof. Baart was interviewed by his South African colleague prof. Jaco Hoffman. This 15 minute interview can be seen here:

In this interview Hoffman requests Baart as founding father of Theory of Presence to explain it further.

About the author: Eveline Bolt

Eveline Bolt

In August 2012, Eveline Bolt (1959) graduated from Tilburg University. Focus in her work is quality of care for elderly and homeless people and her pre-master and masterthesis focused on these subjects. Ethics of care is thereby the entrypoint for her research, development and training activities. In the town she lives in, she is part of the board advising the city council on issues in the area of care and community development.

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