06/03/2018 15:12 SAST | Updated 06/03/2018 15:13 SAST

Looking For Ubuntu?

A new exhibition invites us to reflect on the future of ubuntu in South Africa.

Johannes Segogela’s Mandela’s Birthday Party
Standard Bank Gallery
Johannes Segogela’s Mandela’s Birthday Party

A new exhibition in Johannesburg asks some very difficult questions of the country's constitutionally enshrined ubuntu philosophy.

"I Am Because You Are: A Search For Ubuntu", currently showing at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg, asks audience members: what is ubuntu, and how do we practise ubuntu in our lives in 2018?

Kudzanai Chiurai
'Minister of Enterprise' by Kudzanai Chiurai

The dialogue takes place over 52 works of art from the Standard Bank permanent collection, including historic drawings by Dumile Feni, Kudzanai Chiurai, Diane Victor, and a number of iconic works by William Kentridge. There are also the poignant pictures of the late, great Thami Mnyele, young creatives like Hasan and Husain Essop, along with the works of Alan Crump and other great artists.

"Ultimately it's about respect for each other, but you can't have respect for each other if you don't have respect for yourself," says Usha Seejarim, the exhibition's curator.

"With issues of corruption, greedy leadership, increasing lack of ethics by those chosen to lead, and the general culture of material accumulation prevalent in contemporary SA, can the society stand proudly and proclaim that ubuntu is abundant among the citizens, or that it is waning?" she asks.

The show has been called a crucial one for the future of the country, so see it untilMarch 31 at Standard Bank Gallery.