Original Research

Ubuntu and the quest for land reform in South Africa

Herman Holtzhausen
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 36, No 2 | a1431 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v36i2.1431 | © 2015 Herman Holtzhausen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2015 | Published: 19 June 2015

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In this article, I ask the question how we can relate ubuntu to South African land reform from a practical-theological point of view. I will look at researchers’ efforts to understand ubuntu and how these efforts do and do not integrate into the conversation around land reform.Referring to land reform, I will focus on two private narratives as opposed to dominant public narratives. An in-depth discussion on legislation and research on perspectives of land ownership therefore falls outside of the ambit of this article. In conclusion, I will argue that the relationship between a landowner and his or her dispossessed coworkers can be the fertile soil which ubuntu requires to find sustainable local answers to land reform.


Ubuntu; Compassion; Land Issue; Ethnographical


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1. Discerning a theological agenda for spatial justice in South Africa: An imperative for sustained reconciliation
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