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Decolonising Knowledge:: Can Ubuntu Ethics Save Us from Coloniality? (Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi?)

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The #RhodesMustFall (RMF) protests at South African universities (2015–2018) were the publicly visible manifestation of deep epistemic problems in the higher education (HE) sector, particularly around questions of whose knowledges are validated and whether these are reflective of students’ lived realities. This exploratory research attempted a snapshot of the state of curriculum transformation of the linguistic language disciplines in South Africa and to identify areas that require more attention. The authors focus on curriculum underpinning the teaching of linguistics and language-related disciplines. The study takes place at HE institutions in South Africa against the backdrop of substantial academic and public engagement around epistemic access in the HE sector. The authors used an anonymous questionnaire distributed among a purposive sample of 32 HE academics within the linguistics and language studies disciplines to elicit views around university curriculum transformation and decolonisation with particular focus on linguistic language disciplines curricula. Generally, practitioners indicate that there have been substantial changes in the disciplines over the past 10 years. There have also been notable achievements with respect to building broad curricula that are responsive to student needs and which balance the need to equip students to engage in global conversations while also being embedded in the contextual realities of South Africa, the African continent and students’ lived experiences. Contribution: The authors conclude that although transformation has progressed considerably in key areas, the representativity of languages and theoretical approaches remain areas for development. The authors also highlight how disciplinary curricular choices are value-driven and that contestations around which values are to be validated may inhibit curricular transformation. In these contexts, individual agency around curricular choices is important.
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Globally, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) also known as Covid-19 affected every facet of human life. Everyone had to find new ways of doing things, as many nations introduced lockdown regulations as a means of curbing the spread of the corona virus that causes Covid-19. Included in the regulations was the closure of places of worship, which challenged the clergy from different denominations in South Africa to imagine how to do ministry in this new context called the "new normal". Not only that, African township Pentecostal-Charismatic pastors, like other members of the clergy, were also expected to guide and encourage church members in these times of uncertainty. In addition, they were also expected to care for church members, the community and for themselves and their families. This article reflects on how African township Pentecostal-Charismatic pastors may minister in the Covid-19 context by applying the modified theologies of Mashau and Kgatle's Ubuntology.
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Private parties have the freedom and autonomy to enter into a contract. This autonomy is deeply rooted in their dignity and personal liberties. Private individuals, in furtherance of their autonomy and freedom to enter into a contract, have certain reasonable expectations, most fundamental of which is the desire that maximum respect is given to their legitimately concluded agreement. The concept of contractual freedom and autonomy connotes the idea that private individuals (natural and juristic) have the liberty to arrange their affairs in a manner that meets their economic interest without governmental inhibition, control and/or interference. However, the operative scope and the practical manifestations of the concept of contractual freedom are circumscribed in the constitutional, statutory, legislative and other socio-cultural orders of States. This article seeks to reflect on the role and influence of the constitutional value of ubuntu on the principle of contractual freedom and autonomy, and the naturally accompanying concepts of pacta sunt servanda and sanctity of contract in South Africa. The article provides an analysis of the judicial interpretation and views on the concept of contractual freedom and autonomy relative to other competing values that underlie the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Furthermore, the article appraises the impact of those judicial views on international commercial agreements. The article also discusses the extent to which communitarian values such as the concept of ubuntu have been infused into South African contract law and further reflects on the implication of infusing such communitarian values in both domestic and international contracts. The article concludes with a suggestion that the introduction of traditional African values in South African contract law fundamentally alters the theoretical foundations of the principle of contractual freedom and autonomy in both domestic and international contracts.
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