As part of his address (“Building an African liberal agenda”) to the DA federal congress in April this year, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said, “We recognise the spirit of ubuntu — that I am who I am through other people.” The idea of ubuntu features fairly regularly in Maimane’s rhetoric. He has suggested that in 1994, “we had our differences but, in the spirit of ubuntu, in the best interests of our country and its future, we united around our shared goals”. That was thanks to the late former president Nelson Mandela who, Maimane says, instilled values such as “compassion, forgiveness, kindness, humanity and Ubuntu” in the South African people. More recently, he said 2017 was, for the DA and SA, a chance to recommit “to economic advancement, the rule of law, accountability, constitutionalism and ubuntu”. That didn’t work out as planned, but, as they say, it’s the thought that counts. There seems to be some agreement as to the general parameters of ubuntu (get into the details and it qu...

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