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Addressing the developmental challenges in rural South Africa through <i>ubuntu</i> philosophy: the case of Sedikong sa Lerato cooperative

Akwasi Arko-Achemfuor


The African philosophy of ubuntu has been practised over centuries and contributed to its development in diverse way over the years. The concept dwells on the humanity of people and respect for human life. In recent times, the influence of Western and other cultures has negatively impacted on this beautiful cultural attribute. There are people who still believe that the philosophy of ubuntu can be applied to address some of the socioeconomic challenges confronting Africa today. The Sedikong sa Lerato Cooperate in Limpopo Province of South Africa is applying this philosophy in addressing the challenges of unemployment, poverty, inequality, health and other problems that are threatening South Africa’s democracy. Using a qualitative approach, this article investigates how the philosophy is being applied. Interviews, focus groups and observations are the instruments used as data collection tools in this research. The findings from the research show that the application of the ubuntu philosophy is helping in addressing the challenges of unemployment, health, poverty, inequality and psycho-social support for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). It is recommended that the use of this philosophy be encouraged in other communities in South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent to address the developmental challenges that confront communities.

Keywords: Development, philosophy, poverty, unemployment, ubuntu