27 December 2012

South Africa: Presidency Responds to Comments On Promoting Ubuntu

Pretoria — The Presidency on Thursday addressed media comments to statements made by President Jacob Zuma in Impendle, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, on promoting ubuntu and maintaining respect and high regard for other human beings and African culture.

"A lot has been made by Independent Newspapers journalists of a few remarks that President Zuma made in Impendle, KZN Midlands, about promoting ubuntu and maintaining respect and high regard for other human beings and African culture," said the Presidency in a statement.

It said in the President's "wide-ranging" speech, he urged people to guard against not caring enough for their fellow man.

"He made the well-known example of people who sit with their dogs in front in a van or truck with a worker at the back in pouring rain or extremely cold weather. Others do not hesitate to rush their dogs to veterinary surgeons for medical care when they are sick while they ignore workers or relatives who are also sick in the same households," said the statement.

The high office, however, stressed that this did not mean animals should not be loved or cared for.

"The message merely emphasised the need not to elevate our love for our animals above our love for other human beings. He emphasised the need is to preserve that which is good in certain cultures and avoid adopting practices that are detrimental to building a caring African society," it said.

"More than that, the essential message from the President was the need to decolonise the African mind post-liberation to enable the previously oppressed African majority to appreciate and love who they are and uphold their own culture."

The Presidency added that President Zuma underscored the need to promote the culture of the majority within the diversity of South African society as part of building a new society following the attainment of political freedom.

"The President's view is that as we move towards the second phase of socio-economic freedom, cultural freedom should not be left behind.

"It is unfortunate that the journalists concerned chose to report the comments in a manner that seeks to problematize them instead of promoting a debate about deconstruction and decolonisation of the mind as part of promoting reconciliation, nation building, unity and social cohesion," said the Presidency.

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