SOCIAL CAPITAL AND THE IMPERATIVES OF THE CONCEPT AND LIFE OF UBUNTU IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT

Henry Mbaya

Abstract


and way of life of ubuntu. I argue that very close parallels exist in the manner that the
concept of social capital and African concept and way of life of ubuntu exist and operate.
On one hand, just as networks, co-operation, collaboration and mutuality define essential
elements that define social capital in the West, on the other hand, the African concept and
way of life of ubuntu stress interdependency, communality as is manifested in the spirit of
‘brotherhood’ and ‘brotherliness’. Similarly, just as ubuntu entails a web of relationships
in which African hospitality and mutual support characterise African life, so social
capital rests on interconnectedness, trust, the elements that drive corporate organisations
of the West. Thus both concepts, albeit in different ways, tend to promote participation in
life that enhance social welfare. Despite such similarities, however, there are differences
between the two concepts. As a Western concept social capital revolves around socioeconomic
benefits that the members of the corporate organisations yield, while ubuntu is
about African hospitality and mutual support that benefit Africans and those who interact
with them.

Keywords


Social Capital; African Concept/Ubuntu; Co-operation; Relationships and Interdependency

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/106-0-141

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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