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The Ubuntu Practitioner: Social Work Perspectives

In most communities and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, ubuntu has been and is being practiced as part of African ethics. In a significant number of literature, African ethics is described as a set of values distinctively associated with largely black African people residing in sub-Saharan Africa. These values are based on ethical beliefs, moral judgements, or ideas such as prioritising communal relationships, rather than individualism prevalent in the West. In other words, while notions such as a sense of community may also be found 2 in Western societies, the salient philosophies in the West do not conceive of such ideas as core in prescribing duties in the way societies south of the Sahara do. Ubuntu includes the values of communality, respect, dignity, acceptance, sharing, co-responsibility, humaneness, social justice, fairness, personhood, morality, group solidarity, compassion, joy, love, fulfilment, and conciliation. Ubuntu was widely popularised by the likes of President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Demond Tutu. The philosophy has over the years influenced the way communities in Africa have resolved problems affecting both individuals and the community as a collective. In 2020, ubuntu was brought into the social work discourse through the IFSW and IASSW Global Agenda Theme for 2021: Ubuntu: I am because we are: Strengthening social solidarity and global connectedness. This book is a collection of lived experiences and evidence of “good practices” across the world.

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Journal article - open access
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