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Title: Ubuntu philosophy and African indigenous knowledge systems: insights from decolonization and indigenization of research.
Authors: Bhuda, Thulisile Monicca.
Marumo, Phemelo.
School of Development Studies
Keywords: Ubuntu philosophy.;African indigenous knowledge systems.;Decolonization.;Indigenization.;Research.
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Ife Centre for Psychological Studies/Services
Abstract: Ubuntu is a philosophy, worldview, natural ethics, and way of knowing that originated in Africa. Ubuntu is a viable alternative to the Western world's prevailing individualistic and utilitarian ideologies. It is, therefore, best understood as a social ideology that conveys the basic interconnection of human presence and is subordinate to care and collective values, harmony and friendliness, respect, and responsiveness. Using Ubuntu philosophy in the research with indigenous peoples entails adopting a social-ethical perspective that is inclusive of all people because Ubuntu philosophy emphasizes good relationships between researchers and indigenous communities. In research, the challenge is that, most scholars who are non-indigenous use a Western lens to undermine Ubuntu as a powerful instrument amongst African indigenous communities as a tool to educate, guide and maintain positive human interactions and relationships. Higher education research pedagogical practices in South Africa continue to draw from the Western Eurocentric views, which undermine and dismiss indigenous philosophies such as Ubuntu as false assumptions and a simple illegitimate African thinking. This paper usesdesk research that aims to discuss the importance of using the Ubuntu philosophy in research with indigenous communities about their indigenous knowledge. The paper reviews ways Ubuntu philosophy can be applied in research with indigenous communities. The paper discusses that a research with indigenous communities that is guided by the principles of Ubuntu decolonizes the existing Western systems which has been applied in research on African Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Therefore as a philosophy applied in research, Ubuntu serves as a tool to decolonize and indigenize research which is a call by many indigenous scholars. The study argues that Ubuntu philosophy, which is an Africa indigenous knowledge system and way of life for African people, when embodied with esteem and dignity it deserves, has the potential of restoring indigenous values, heritage and cultures through research.
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