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This content is taken from the Stellenbosch University's online course, Teaching for Change: An African Philosophical Approach. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Your Magesties, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished guests, comrades, and friends– today, all us do, by our presence here and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds All of this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today. The reason why we think and act according to ethical thought and practice is because the aim is to achieve justice. Now, on the African continent, we have identified at least three notions of justice. So in relation to the clip of Mandela, Mandela’s concern for the achievement of justice is linked to the idea of morality meaning moral justice can be achieved on the basis of equality, freedom, and the idea of justice for all. And for him, this implied liberating people from poverty, deprivation, and suffering, gender and other forms of discrimination and inequality.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds So when we think and act according to an African philosophical understanding of education, in our minds and in our actions should be the idea of moral justice. And this means that what we do should be geared towards the elimination or eradication of poverty although that is not always possible. We have to address human suffering. And more importantly, we should address the issue of gender inequality and gender discrimination because that’s the idea of African philosophy of education advocated by the famous Nelson Mandela. For nation building, for the birth of a new world, let there be justice for all.

Skip to 3 minutes and 32 seconds Never and never again shall it be that this is beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity.

Moral justice and the pursuit of equality, freedom and inclusion

During this week we focus on the rationale of an African philosophy of education, namely, educational justice. We examine three notions of justice - that is, moral, compassionate and restorative justice and show as to why these interrelated ideas of justice can be linked to education. Thereafter, we make an argument for Ubuntu justice as a form of justice that draws on the afore-mentioned three aspects of justice with the aim to organise educational experiences in just ways.

In this video we introduce the notion of moral justice. Nelson Mandela’s concern for the achievement of moral justice lies in his appeal for equality, freedom and justice for all.

Inequality and poverty can only be addressed if people make it their moral concern that justice for all implies that all people ought to be treated equally and that their freedom has to be recognised. In this way, moral justice is the same as exercising one’s moral responsibility towards others. And, for Mandela, this implied liberating people from ‘poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination’ – all related to the achievement of moral justice.

In light of the notion of moral justice espoused in the video, consider the following question …

Why should education be connected to justice?

Then, also use the comment section to engage with others or invite others to comment on your understanding of justice in relation to educational experiences.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching for Change: An African Philosophical Approach

Stellenbosch University