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Leonhard Praeg Probes the Possibilities of a Politics Premised on Shared Humanity in Report on Ubuntu

Report on UbuntuNew from UKZN Press, Report on Ubuntu by Leonhard Praeg:

Twenty years after the end of apartheid rule, the claim that democratic South Africa is founded on the ‘spirit of law’ (nomos) of our shared humanity is questionable, to say the least. Some would argue that all talk of Ubuntu (or African humanism) should be dismissed as a passing fad of an exhausted nationalism. But a different response to the present is possible, one that proceeds from a temporary suspension (epoché) of the nationalist matrix and all the dead-end questions that have resulted from it, in order to reposition Ubuntu in the more cosmopolitan terms of a critical humanism that must always remain irreducible to the politics of the day. This is a project that has to return to, in order to retrace, the founding claim that a politics premised on our shared humanity is, after all, perhaps possible.

“Fasten your seatbelts: an ultra-forceful, ultra-provocative and ultra-erudite mind is at work in this book – the journey is complicated and upstream, with a number of brilliant insights along the way.” — Albie Sachs, former Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa

“This is a necessary, important and unprecedented philosophical intervention into a debate that, for all the political posturing, has shown itself unable to think the politics of Ubuntu. Praeg’s text redresses that lack by interrogating, it would seem, every element, every possible contingency, every possible variegation, of the term. He is relentless in pursuit of rescuing Ubuntu from inanity and political nonsense and, moreover, instilling in it an intellectual integrity.” — Grant Farred, professor of Africana Studies, Cornell University, US

About the author

Leonhard Praeg is associate professor in the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. His previous publications include African Philosophy and the Quest for Autonomy: A Philosophical Investigation (2000, Rodopi), The Geometry of Violence: Africa, Girard, Modernity (2007, SUN Press) and Creating Destruction: Constructing Images of Violence and Genocide (co-edited with Nancy Billias, 2011, Rodopi).

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