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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Ubuntu': the missing link in the rights discourse in post-apartheid transformation in South Africa
Author:Thomas, Christopher G.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Renaissance Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:social and economic rights
constitutional courts
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/18186870902840333
Abstract:This article explores the potential of 'ubuntu' as a jurisprudential principle in South African courts, questioning and challenging its absence in the adjudication of socioeconomic rights cases by the highest interpreter of the country's Constitution, the Constitutional Court. A human rights discourse has been central to both the anti-apartheid struggle of South Africa and the country's post-apartheid transformation. But in the drive to extend constitutionally mandated social and economic rights to all South Africans, the approach has had shortcomings. The current neoliberal economic policy framework constrains policy choices and, in some instances, restricts fair adjudication of rights by the courts. The revival of notions of African Renaissance and indigenous ethnophilosophies, notably 'ubuntu', which shares the primacy of human dignity of a rights discourse, offers new perspectives. The article looks at the limitations of the human rights discourse and at how 'ubuntu', as a principled basis for judicial decisionmaking, can contribute to the evolution of the rights discourse in South Africa and lead towards greater realization of constitutional rights for all. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]