Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel Idowu, René Schmidpeter, Nicholas Capaldi, Liangrong Zu, Mara Del Baldo, Rute Abreu


  • Sinikiwe MzezewaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02006-4_927-1


Ubuntu cannot be defined with precision, yet it forms part of uniquely South African jurisprudence. It is associated with how human beings ought to treat each other. Bennet (2018) argued that establishing a precise and definite meaning of ubuntu is impossible. In that light ubuntu can only be understood in its connotation, shades of meaning that are associative, expressive, attitudinal, and evaluative (Bennet 2018; Mokgoro 2012). It is something that can only be observed from the living experiences of indigenous black persons (Mokgoro 2012). In that light the connotation of ubuntu is expressed as group solidarity, conformity, compassion, respect, human dignity, humanistic orientation, and collective unity (Mokgoro 2012). It is understood as a concept that is deeply rooted in African indigenous societies (Gade 2011).

According to Bennet (2018), the underlying meaning of ubuntuis the right way of being a human being and being a human being through the community. Archbishop...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bähre, E. (2002). Money and violence: Financial mutuals among the Xhosa in Cape Town, South Africa. Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  2. Bennet, T.W. (2018). Ubuntu: An African jurisprudence. Cape Town: Juta.Google Scholar
  3. Constitutional Court of South Africa. (1995). Case CCT 3/94. ‘State versus T Makwanyane and M Mchunu’. http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/1995/3.html. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  4. Constitutional Court of South Africa. (1996). Case CCT 17/96. ‘Azanian People’s Organisation, Azanian People’s Organisation, Nontsikelelo Margaret Biko, Churchill Mhleli Mxenge, Chris Ribeiro versus President of the Republic of South Africa, Government of the Republic of South Africa, Minister of Justice, Minister of Safety and Security, Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’. http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/1996/16.html. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  5. Constitutional Court of South Africa. (2006). Case CCT 62/05. ‘David Dikoko versus Thupi Zakharia Mokhatla’. http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2006/10.html. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  6. Constitutional Court of South Africa. (2007). Case CCT 72/05. ‘Barend Petrus Barkhuizen versus Ronald Stuart Napier’. http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2007/5.html. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  7. Constitutional Court of South Africa. (2015). Case CCT 216/14. ‘Shoprite Checkers (Pty) Ltd v Member of the Executuve Council for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Toruism, Esstern Cape and Others’. http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2015/23.html. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  8. Gade, C. B. (2011). The historical development of the written discourses on Ubuntu. South African Journal of Philosophy, 30(3), 303–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gade, C. B. (2012). What is Ubuntu? Different interpretations among south Africans of African descent. South African Journal of Philosophy, 31(3), 484–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gauteng Local Division High Court of South Africa. (2018). Case 34177/17. ‘Mall Space Management CC t/a Mall Space Management versus Liberty Group Limited, Liberty Two Degrees, Pareto Limited, JHI Retail (Pty) Ltd and Excellerate Brand Management (Pty) Ltd’. https://jutastat-juta-coza.ezproxy.uct.ac.za/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates&fn=default.htm&vid=Publish:10.1048/Enu. Accessed 30 May 2019.
  11. Hutchison, A. (2017). Decolonising South African contract law: An argument for synthesis. In L. Siliquini Cinelli & A. Hutchison (Eds.), The constitutional dimension of contract law: A comparative perspective (pp. 151–181). Cham: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Institute for Directors (South Africa). (2016). King IV report on corporate governance for South Africa. https://www.iodsa.co.za/general/custom.asp?page=KingIVReport&DGPCrPg=1&DGPCrSrt=6A. Accessed 10 May 2019.
  13. Mokgoro, Y. (2012). Ubuntu and the law in South Africa. In C. Drucilla & M. Nyoko (Eds.), Ubuntu and the law: African ideals and post-apartheid jurisprudence (pp. 317–323). New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Muvangua, N., & Cornell, D. (2012). Ubuntu and the law: African ideals and post-apartheid jurisprudence. New York: Fordham Univ Press.Google Scholar
  15. Taylor, D.F.P. (2004). Defining ubuntu for business ethics – a deontological approach. South Africa Journal of Philosophy, 33(3),331–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wallis, M. (2016). Commercial certainty and constitutionalism: Are they compatible? South African Law Journal, 133(3), 545–568.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Commercial LawUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eila Jeronen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OuluTampereFinland