Original Research

Oppressive and liberative: A Zimbabwean woman's reflections on ubuntu

Molly Manyonganise
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 36, No 2 | a1438 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v36i2.1438 | © 2015 Molly Manyonganise | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2015 | Published: 18 June 2015

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Ubuntu as an African ethic has been embraced in Africa as one that defines an individual’s African-ness. Its influence has gone beyond the African borders with other continents pondering how it can be embraced in their contexts. Scholars from Africa and beyond have eulogised the indispensability of ubuntu. However, it is a fact that most academic writings on the concept by various scholars have neglected to look at ubuntu and how it intersects with gender – especially with a particular focus on its ambivalence in the lives of women in Africa. This article, therefore, seeks to make a critical reflection on the ambivalence of the concept focussing mainly on the cultural traditions of the Shona of Zimbabwe from the perspective of a womanist.


Ubuntu, Africa, women, gender, Shona, oppressive, liberative


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