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Original Research

Ubuntu is homeless: An urban theological reflection

Stephanus F. de Beer

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 36, No 2 (2015), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v36i2.1471

Submitted: 12 May 2015
Published:  28 September 2015


This article is reading ubuntu in the light of homelessness in the cities and towns of South Africa. It suggests that ubuntu itself is homeless and displaced as a way of being human together. Instead of the mediation of dignity and justice through an ubuntu-solidarity, street homeless people and others living vulnerably and in precarious circumstances are violated and excluded through a displacement of ubuntu-values. It also suggests a growing disconnect between the philosophy of ubuntu and its actual embodiment in the local urban political economy, local faith communities and local universities. Acknowledging the aspirational edge of ubuntu, the article then concludes to envision going beyond mere abstractions in the said spheres – the political economy, faith communities and local universities – in order to seek for concrete expressions of ubuntu-solidarity, asserting and mediating respect, dignity and justice.

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Author affiliations

Stephanus F. de Beer, Centre for Contextual Ministry, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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