New Horizons


This paper proposes Ubuntu ethics as a means for reconciliation in societies experiencing racial conflict. Rooted in Christian ethics and theological anthropology, the ethics of Ubuntu played a role in healing the wounds of apartheid in South Africa by bringing Black and white populations to the same table in order to facilitate a process of reconciliation via reparations. Ubuntu ethics begins with the notion that reconciliation has to move from a recognition of the wrongdoing and sinfulness of the perpetrators. Generally, this process involves naming the relationship between the historical oppressor and their descendants. After recognition, the notions of restorative justice and interconnectedness, integral to Ubuntu ethics, represent a concrete path foward. This paper will show that these notions necessitate that reparations, some sort of financial acknowledgement of systemic injustices, be a core element of seeking authentic reconciliation, and that the United States Christian tradition, like the South African tradition, can be a facilitator in this process. As an international student reflecting on the American context, I ardently believe that Ubuntu ethics can add value to the discussion on racial reconciliation in the U.S.



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