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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsDo you solemnly swear that the evidence you will give before this commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? [INAUDIBLE] Thank you very much. You may be seated. This case study shows as to how African philosophy of education can be used to cultivate justice. And remember, there are three forms of justice that we have discussed so far-- moral justice, compassionate justice, and restorative justice. So the example that we introduced to you is the South African example of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stands for is the idea that Ubuntu can be cultivated through engagement with others who have been wronged.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsAnd then the aim is to achieve justice. For example, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, which commenced in June 1994, a very long time ago-- and this was aimed to listen to the testimonies, to the stories, of both the victims and perpetrators of heinous apartheid crimes. And the purpose of the TRC was to elicit truth-telling about past atrocities. And for 18 months, it listened to the testimonies of those who wanted amnesty and those seeking reparation. Now, we have called this idea of moral, compassionate, and restorative justice Ubuntu justice. So how did the TRC use the idea of Ubuntu justice?

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 secondsSo the TRC aimed at listening to the confessions of past perpetrators with the intention of granting them amnesty and immunity from prosecution for apartheid crimes committed against humanity. The TRC did not encourage revenge and retribution, but rather offered reconciliation and forgiveness as ways to cultivate a new democratic South African society. Therefore, Ubuntu justice through compassion and forgiveness is a way of enacting a moral concern for human beings-- compassion and healing that can contribute to a culture of respect for human rights, life, and dignity for all citizens of the country.

Skip to 3 minutes and 5 secondsAnd it is this African approach to justice that was aimed not at taking vengeance against the perpetrators of heinous crimes, but recommended reparation for the victims and granted reparations to some perpetrators as well. And this is an example how African justice or Ubuntu justice as moral justice, compassionate justice, and restorative justice can be used to show how healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness can be cultivated in African society. And the very course of an African philosophy of education is to understand our problems. Because once we understand our problems, we can to work towards a path of justice for all.

Case Study: TRC as an educational response

African justice is not aimed at taking revenge, but rather recommends reparation, forgiveness and the cultivation of new beginnings.

  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa is an example through which Ubuntu justice - moral, compassionate and restorative - was practised;
  • To elicit ‘truth telling’ about past human atrocities and listening to the testimonies of those who wanted amnesty and those seeking reparation is a way through which justice can be realised; and
  • In the main, Ubuntu justice through compassion and forgiveness is a way of enacting a moral concern for human beings, compassion and healing that can contribute to a culture of respect for human rights, and dignity for all citizens of the country.

Consider the following questions …

Is the example of TRC an adequate pedagogic example to attain justice in educational settings?

Why is Ubuntu mentioned in relation to justice?

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching for Change: An African Philosophical Approach

Stellenbosch University

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