Original Research

Ubuntu as care: Deconstructing the gendered Ubuntu

Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 39, No 1 | a1790 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v39i1.1790 | © 2018 Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 August 2017 | Published: 14 May 2018

About the author(s)

Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


In this article, I explore the concept of Ubuntu in a context of caregiving with the aim of deconstructing the gendering of caregiving in a context of pastoral care. Using a qualitative approach, this article draws from the empirical findings of primeval praxis of Ubuntu from a study conducted on the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) funded ‘Archaeology of Ubuntu’ project. Empirical findings were evaluated through African women theology. Findings of this article highlight that Ubuntu in a context of caregiving is not exclusively feminine because men also display strong tendencies of care in African traditional communities. This suggests that pastoral care in an African context should not be gendered because findings of the article confirm that the Zulu elders from KwaZulu-Natal generally linked Ubuntu to communal care where men and women partnered in extending caregiving to those in need.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Although the article is written from a socio-anthropological perspective, it integrates African traditional presumptions of gender and care ethics that are significant in extending pastoral care by reviewing literature from sociology, anthropology, gender, feminist studies, practical theology and systematic theology.


Care Ethics; Ubuntu; Archaeology of Ubuntu; Gender; Web of Life


Total abstract views: 3690
Total article views: 3875

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.