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Ubuntu and Capabilities Approach: Basic Doctrines for Calibrating Humanitarian Action

Mashele Rapatsa
Published Online: 2016-08-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/eras-2016-0002


This article explores prospects of using Ubuntu and Capabilities Approach to expand the scope of humanitarian action, to design one which serves humanity better even in the absence of disaster to essentially fulfil human development needs. It is considerate of the fact that humanitarian works contributes immensely in determining the extent to which humanity thrives. The traditional view on humanitarianism presupposes action-driven initiatives geared towards devising interventions to restore or reinforce human social order, improve livelihoods and quality of life. In sociological terms, human development is dependent on realizing and safeguarding, amongst others, human well-being, civil liberties and social security. The article utilizes core values enshrined in Ubuntu, Africa’s historic philosophy of life, and Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach as tools of analysis, with the view to expressing how to operationalize what should be considered stable humanitarian conditions and human well-being. Owing to persistent socio-economic challenges, especially the poverty problem, it is asserted that humanitarian action ought to depart from being a post-disaster intervention strategy, to being a pro-active and preventative pre-disaster orientated action, intended to nurture well-being and resultantly enable human development.

Keywords: humanitarianism; human well-being; human capabilities; poverty; Ubuntu


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-08-06

Published in Print: 2016-06-01

Citation Information: European Review Of Applied Sociology, Volume 9, Issue 12, Pages 12–19, ISSN (Online) 2286-2552, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/eras-2016-0002.

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© 2016 Mashele Rapatsa, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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