Ubuntu-currere Webinar

1 Jul, 2020 4:00 pm
Presented by:

Dr Mlamuli Hlatshwayo and Dr Lester Brian Shawa

Ubuntu-currere: Rethinking curriculum in South Africa’s decolonial moment.

Facilitator: Prof Lesley Le Grange

Presenters: Dr Mlamuli Hlatshwayo and Dr Lester Brian Shawa

The concept Ubuntu-Currere brings together insights from the African notion of Ubuntu and currere. Ubuntu/Botho is a concept that is derived from proverbial expressions (aphorisms) found in several languages in Africa south of the Sahara. Ubuntu means that an individual’s humanity is ideally expressed in relationship with others. It is not only a linguistic concept but a normative connotation embodying how we ought to relate to the other – what our moral obligation is towards the other. Currere was first developed by William Pinar in 1975 as an autobiographical method for understanding curriculum and reconceptualised by Jason Wallin in 2010 to mean ‘what curriculum wills to power’. Ubuntu-Currere was first used by Le Grange (2015) in a keynote address at the 5th triennial conference of the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (IAACS). He has invoked this concept in several other publications. More recently scholars of the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, have explored the concept further in recent publications (see Hlatshwayo and Shawa 2020, Hlatshwayo, Shawa and Nxumalo 2020).

Ubuntu-currere shifts our registers of reference away from the individual human being to an assemblage of human-human-nature. In other words, subjectivity is ecological. Moreover, the subject is always in becoming and the becoming of a pedagogical life is relational – the subject becomes in relation to other humans and the more-than-human-world. The notion of in-becoming ensures that the human cannot be defined nor have fixity and therefore Ubuntu-currere is anti-humanist.

In this webinar the presenters will introduce how they have used Ubuntu-Currere in their research, leading into a discussion on how we might rethink curriculum in the current decolonial moment and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Hlatshwayo, M.N., Shawa, L.B. and Nxumalo, S.A. 2020. Ubuntu currere in the academy: A case study from South African experience. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, https://doi.org/10.1080/23802014.2020.1762509.

Hlatshwayo, M.N., Shawa, L.B. 2020. Towards a critical re-conceptualization of the purpose of higher education: The role of Ubuntu-Currere in re-imagining teaching and learning in South African higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 39(1): 26-38.

Le Grange, L. 2016. Decolonising the university curriculum. South African Journal of Higher Education. 30(2): 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-709.

Le Grange, L. 2019. Currere’s active force and the concept of Ubuntu. In Hébert, Cristyne, Ng-A-Fook, Nicholas, Ibrahim, Awad and Smith, Bryan (eds.), Internationalizing curriculum Studies: histories, environments, and critiques. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 207-226.