Reimagining Ubuntu in schools: A perspective from two primary school leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Abstract

Communalism, otherwise known as ‘Ubuntu’ in African literature, has come to signify the philosophical and ethical thought capable of transforming behaviours/lives and restoring the continent’s cultural identity. This potent energy is explored in this article with a critical discussion of the conceptual, cultural and operational statuses of Ubuntu. While inhumanity across Africa has prompted some to question its viability, others – including the author of this article – see, in these testing times, an opportunity to reinvent the concept. Using narrative data from two urban primary head teachers based in Kinshasa/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the article highlights unique Ubuntu operational patterns of understanding others’ needs, negotiating and prioritising needs, assessing available resources, attending to others’ needs, and raised expectations and commitment to organisational goals. This process, it is noted, can successfully take place in the context of genuine dialogue; a compromise that not only prevents ‘bogus needs’ and looks beyond limited resources, but also serves the interests of both individuals and schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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