The significance of the concept "Ubuntu" for educational management and leadership during democratic transformation in South Africa
Thesis (PhD (Education and Policy Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
At the heart of this thesis is to debate and address the procedures of the past imbalances and inequalities in South Africa focusing on industrialization and Ubuntu worldviews. During industrialization, life changed for the indigenous peoples of South Africa. This forced people to change their way of living. They had to adapt to new ways of living in most aspects of their lives. Industrialization is viewed as one aspect that promoted the principles of individual self-sufficiency. Families were separated as the male breadwinners went away to work in industrial areas, e.g. in mines, leaving their families behind. This led to the fragmentation of homes and families. This study explores the nature of industrial society, and looks especially at the capitalist and colonial forms that South African society took. A great deal of this study is concerned with the assumption that certain characteristics and processes underpin industrial societies, and that as a result a set of universal propositions can be derived regarding these structures and processes. Industrialization was promoted by business leaders, industrialists and property-owners who wished to see a more thoroughgoing liberal reform of the economy. The industrial revolutionaries were primarily concerned with overthrowing a nominally feudal regime, which constituted a hindrance to industrial development. The study of industrialization is a complex field, which affects people's behaviour. An aim of this thesis is therefore the exposition of various discourses with regard to the relationship between classes within industrial sociology with special focus on origins, characteristics, effects, leadership, education, family life and religion. Leadership and management in education, as key concepts in this study, basically deal with human relations where problem solving, communication and decision-making are promoted. It is useful to think of leadership as a generic term that refers to the process characterized by the interrelationships among people as they work together in the formation and achievement of shared goals. South Africa's society in the emerging post-industrial era requires a new form of exceptional – almost heroic – leadership because the traditions, institutions, values and balances of a complex and divergent society need to be developed. The future hangs in a balance. As a traditional society, South Africa depends on the statesmanship, generosity and charity of leadership. This can be gained by understanding, accepting and practising the implications of the dual worldviews that are prevalent in South Africa society that is the Western view and Ubuntu. Ubuntu emphasizes the richness of people's cultural heritage and goes a long way in providing principles for application in practice, especially for whatever we engage in as participants in the world of work. At the same time, the philosophy of Ubuntu also challenges African societies to move away from the existing misunderstandings of different races and cultures. With its concern that people in South Africa should pay more attention to the strategic importance of education at this stage of transformation, this study explores the implications for educational management and leadership of an Afro centric heritage. African people need to discard a slave mentality and begin to develop a royal mind-set that has pride in its heritage of cultural diversity. Ubuntu is neither a narrow racial nor a trivial and sectional concept. It is both a uniquely African and a universal concept. This study does not envisage the supremacy of Ubuntu over Westernized knowledge systems. Rather it points the way to a combination of these two knowledge systems as the best option. The aim was to investigate and discover the differences and similarities of Ubuntu and Western worldviews. The study highlights that African leadership does not strive for challenges and excellence, but rather tends to conserve, stabilize and remain constant with the status quo. It does not strive for change or deliberately stimulate motivation or competition. Meanwhile leadership within a Western worldview actively promotes individualism rather than promoting team orientation. The main contention then, is that what is generally needed in South Africa is the transformational type of leadership that can occur when there is a marriage between these two worldviews.