Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The Search for Universal Responsibility: The cosmovision of Ubuntu and the humanism of Fanon

  • 112 Accesses

  • 1 Citations

Abstract

Isayvani Naicker explores Africa's cosmovision of Ubuntu, which offers as its starting point that humanity is deeply linked to nature through the life of the community. In order to elaborate the usefulness of Ubuntu as a vision for collective engagement, Naicker examines the writings of postcolonial thinker Frantz Fanon, as well as British ecological and ontological discourses, in order to propose an alternative vision for a collective responsibility to the modern climate and environmental discourse.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

  1. 1.

    The COP also serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).

  2. 2.

    At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro there were 2,400 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs); 17,000 people attended the parallel NGO Forum. The sessions in Copenhagen attracted over 24,000 participants, including some 10,590 government officials, over 13,000 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and 3,221 accredited members of the media. The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun last year had over 11,800 participants.

  3. 3.

    See Bernasconi (1996); Turner and Alan (1986); Gibson (1999, 2003); Gordon (1995), for a discussion on Fanon's new humanism.

  4. 4.

    The Sotho/Tswana version is ‘motho ke motho ka batho’, meaning that a person grows and gets empowered through the help of others.

  5. 5.

    The South African Governmental White Paper on Welfare recognizes Ubuntu principles of caring for each other's well-being in a spirit of mutual support where ‘Each individual's humanity is ideally expressed through his or her relationship with others and theirs in turn through a recognition of the individual's humanity. Ubuntu means that people are people through other people. It also acknowledges both the rights and the responsibilities of every citizen in promoting individual and societal well-being’ (Government Gazette, 2 February 1996, No. 16943, p 18, paragraph 18).

  6. 6.

    http://www.africafocus.org/docs07/wcc0708.php, accessed 26 January 2011.

References

  1. Adam, David (2010) ‘Climategate Scientists Cleared of Manipulating Data on Global Warming’, The Guardian, 8 July.

  2. Bernasconi, Robert (1996) ‘Casting the Slough: Fanon's new humanism for a new humanity’, in Lewis R. Gordon, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting and Renee T. White (eds.) Fanon: A critical reader, London: Blackwell.

  3. Bhaskar, Roy (1975) A Realist Theory of Science, Leeds: Leeds Books.

  4. Bhaskar, Roy (1979) The Possibility of Naturalism: A philosophical critique of the contemporary human sciences, Sussex: Harvester Press.

  5. Brown, Mark B. (2009) Science in Democracy: Expertise, institutions, and representation, London: The MIT Press.

  6. Fanon, Frantz ([1952]1967) Black Skin, White Masks, New York: Grove Press trans. Charles Lam Markmann. Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris: Edition de seuil.

  7. Fanon, Frantz ([1961]1968) The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press trans. Constance Farrington. Les Damnes de la Terre. Paris: Maspero.

  8. Forsyth, Timothy (2003) Critical Political Ecology: The politics of environmental science, London: Routledge.

  9. Gibson, Nigel C. (1999) Rethinking Fanon: The continuing dialogue, New York: Humanity Books.

  10. Gibson, Nigel C. (2001) ‘The Oxygen of the Revolution: Gendered gaps and radical mutations’, in Frantz Fanon's A Dying Colonialism’, Philosophia Africana 4 (2): 47–62.

  11. Gibson, Nigel C. (2003) Fanon: The postcolonial imagination, Cambridge: Policy Press.

  12. Gordon, Lewis R. (1995) Fanon and the Crisis of European Man: An essay on philosophy and the human sciences, New York: Routledge.

  13. Harvey, David (1996) Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Oxford: Blackwell.

  14. Latour, Bruno (2004) Politics of Nature: How to bring the sciences into democracy, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  15. Lawson, Tony (2003) Reorienting Economics, London: Routledge.

  16. Leach, Melissa, Gerry Bloom, Adrian Ely, Paul Nightingale, Ian Scoones, Esha Shah and Adrian Smith (2007) Understanding Governance: Pathways to sustainability, Brighton: STEPS Centre.

  17. Neumann, Roderick P. (2005) Making Political Ecology, London: Hodder Arnold.

  18. Sayer, Andrew (2000) Realism and Social Science, London: Sage Publications.

  19. Smith, Neil (1984) Uneven Development: Nature, capital and the production of space, Oxford: Blackwell.

  20. Turner, Lou and John Alan (1986) Frantz Fanon, Soweto and American Black Thought, Chicago: News and Letters.

  21. Wynne, Brian (1991) ‘Knowledges in context’, Science, Technology and Human Values 16 (1): 111–121.

Download references

Additional information

Elaborates Ubuntu as a vision for collective engagement along with the writings of postcolonial thinker Frantz Fanon

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Naicker, I. The Search for Universal Responsibility: The cosmovision of Ubuntu and the humanism of Fanon. Development 54, 455–460 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1057/dev.2011.84

Download citation

Keywords

  • responsibility
  • ontology
  • governance pathways
  • individualism
  • science