Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (Nigeria)
Abstract. The aspirations of post-colonial political elites in Africa can be summed up as the quest for development. This quest since independence, involves, in part, the pursuit of a common citizenship, shared nationality and common interests and values, the evolution of which provide the bedrock for mutual co-existence and the commitment of all to the common good. It also involves the establishment of institutions that will guarantee peace, justice, and fairness. However, the process of realizing these goals of broadening the scope of socio-political interactions have been vitiated by our colonial experiences and consequently unleashed certain centrifugal forces that have made the quest for community development in most African states a daunting task. The divisive tendencies of the colonialists created communal identities which provided a new symbolic and ethnocentric focus for each group where none existed and thus complicated the task of welding diverse elements in each colony into a coherent whole. This became the source of the proliferation of many life threatening conflicts which has impeded the process of community development in Africa. But why has these conflicts persist in spite of the several attempts to meet them? This paper argues that the above account fails because it ignores the values Africans place on human worth given expression in their communal context. The attempt here is to explore South Africa`s indigenous unifying social ethic of Ubuntu in arriving at a humane society that has a participatory value; founded on co-operation, charity, reconciliation and justice rather than the individualism of the West. This paper will, therefore, employ the analytic-descriptive method to examine the above in a manner many scholars have ignored in an attempt to develop a viable sense of community in Africa. Hence, it is expected that this paper will initiate a perspective that will challenge extant interpretation of this discourse.
Keywords: Africa; colonialism; ethnicity; community development; reconciliation; Ubuntu
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