The Philosophy for Community Development and Success In South Africa

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2/3/202414 min read

In the heart of South Africa, the philosophy of Ubuntu has long been a guiding principle, emphasizing the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of community. Yet, as times change and the world evolves, the limitations of this philosophy have become increasingly apparent. Within this shifting landscape, Chris Kanyane, a distinguished author and journalist celebrated for their insights in The New York Times, Reader's Digest, and endorsed by the US Review of Books, has embarked on a literary journey that challenges the constraints of Ubuntu and explores the need for a fresh perspective. "Romantic Existentialism," Kanyane's latest work, serves as both a critique of Ubuntu's limitations and a call for a new, more encompassing philosophy.

Ubuntu in the Context of South Africa:

Ubuntu has been the cornerstone of South African philosophy, encapsulating values of community, compassion, and interconnectedness. It has provided a moral compass for the nation during its transformative journey from apartheid to democracy. However, as South Africa and the world confront new challenges and complexities, Ubuntu has shown signs of becoming a somewhat confining framework.

Kanyane's Critique:

In "Romantic Existentialism," Chris Kanyane embarks on a literary exploration that critiques the limitations of Ubuntu, particularly in the realm of individuality and personal growth.

While Ubuntu emphasizes community and collective well-being, it sometimes leaves individuals grappling with their own identities and desires in the shadows. Kanyane's narrative challenges the notion that Ubuntu alone can provide all the answers to the complexities of the human experience.

Themes Explored in "Romantic Existentialism":

Existential Questions within Ubuntu: Kanyane's novel delves into the existential questions that arise within the context of Ubuntu. How does one navigate their individuality and choices within a philosophy that emphasizes collective unity? Can Ubuntu coexist with a more individualistic philosophy?

Love and Personal Growth: "Romantic Existentialism" presents love as a transformative force, sometimes at odds with Ubuntu's emphasis on communal harmony. Characters grapple with their own identities and desires, suggesting that personal growth and self-discovery may require a broader philosophical framework.

The Quest for a New Philosophy:

As readers journey through "Romantic Existentialism," Kanyane's narrative becomes a beacon guiding us toward the need for a new philosophy. One that honors Ubuntu's communal values while allowing space for individual growth, personal choice, and the complexities of love and existence. Kanyane's work serves as a catalyst for a broader conversation about how philosophy can adapt and evolve to meet the evolving needs of South Africa and the world.

Chris Kanyane's "Romantic Existentialism" stands at the crossroads of Ubuntu and the quest for a new philosophy that can embrace both collective harmony and individual growth. As South Africa navigates its future, Kanyane's literary exploration challenges us to reevaluate our philosophical foundations and inspires a search for a more inclusive and adaptable framework. In doing so, Kanyane's work not only critiques Ubuntu but also becomes a catalyst for a philosophical evolution that resonates with the complexities of modern life.


The shadows creep in from the corners as the unforgiving African sun sinks below the horizon. The darkness brings no respite, only unease, as the deep-rooted troubles of the people begin to stir. These demons are ancient, woven into the very fabric of society through the ages. They slumber fitfully during the light of day but emerge to torment their hosts when night falls.

The name of one demon is Ubuntu. Deceptively benign, like so many things in Africa both light and dark, it whispers empty promises of connectedness while breeding discontent. Its nature is not complex, merely insidious. During the day, people don masks and pretend at goodness, but their true selves lurk beneath. As the sun relinquishes its authority, the disguises slip and what remains are souls deformed by Ubuntu's curse.

Societies must evolve to survive, shedding old skin like a snake and emerging anew. But the spirit of Ubuntu is a relic, untouched by the passage of time, a relic that hampers progress through complacency. Its devotees cling to outdated ideals rather than embracing change and moving forward. They espouse community while selfishness festers within their hearts, limiting their vision to their own needs and desires. The future beckons, but they remain stubbornly rooted in the past.

To advance, one must look beyond oneself and adopt a more enlightened perspective. But Ubuntu traps its followers in a prison of ego, preventing them from transcending. Under its spell, people pay lip service to ideals they don't truly understand or practice. They go through the motions, acting out rituals handed down through generations, never grasping their deeper purpose. This blind adherence births abuses that go unchecked for Ubuntu also excuses flawed human nature rather than seeking to improve it.

An example will illuminate the insidious workings of this false doctrine. A man espouses Ubuntu, declaring it his guiding philosophy. Yet when entrusted as a leader, he funnels resources meant for his people into his own coffers. Drunk on power and prestige, he demands admiration while showing no compassion. He steals without remorse, caring only for self-gain. His life contradicts his professed principles, exposing the rotten core of empty ideals not fully lived or believed.

Such is the cancer within many souls. They masquerade as benign while spreading quiet evil. Their poison must be brought to light before it infects others. Progress lies not in words and rituals but nurturing true empathy and community, challenging egotism and greed rather than enabling it. People must strive to live their values fully, not just give them lip service. Only then can the darkness lift, and Africa step forward into a new dawn, unburdened by the fetters of the past.

This diagnosis is harsh but needed, for one cannot cure an affliction until its scope is revealed. Africa's leaders tout Ubuntu but rule through corruption, betraying their purpose. Their failure seeds distrust and division rather than unity. But difficult truths, once confronted, open the door to change. Therein lies hope.

By nature, humans seek connections to stave off isolation. In groups they find solace, but this instinct bore flawed fruit in Ubuntu. It became a vehicle for selfishness, not service. Its roots must be exposed and reforged. Individuals must lift their consciousness, moving from narrow self-interest to encompassing the needs of all. Only then can they transcend.

A new philosophy must emerge, one that retains Ubuntu's impulse for community while curtailing its parochialism and ego. Its vision must expand beyond the self, promoting compassion over personal gain and embracing change over stagnant ways. Unmoored from past limitations, Ubuntu can be reborn as a force for progress and enrichment of all. The night is long but dawn will come if hearts and minds unite to will it so. Africa's future unfurls, bright with possibility, if she has but courage to choose light over darkness.


Romantic Existentialism is a new and exciting philosophy that has the potential to change the world for the better. It is a philosophy that is particularly relevant for young South Africans, who are facing a number of challenges but who also have the potential to create a better future for themselves and for their country.

In the ever-evolving tapestry of human thought and philosophy, there comes a time when cherished traditions must adapt to meet the changing needs and aspirations of new generations. Such is the journey we embark upon—a journey born from a profound realization that the venerable concept of Ubuntu, while rich in heritage and wisdom, may not fully resonate with the spirits and desires of the youth of today. To address this, a new philosophical system has emerged—one forged from the essence of Ubuntu but designed to illuminate the path of a modern era.

Ubuntu and Its Inherent Wisdom:

Ubuntu, deeply rooted in the annals of African tradition, has long been a guiding light, fostering interconnectedness, communal harmony, and the recognition of our shared humanity. Its principles of compassion, empathy, and collective well-being have shaped societies and communities for generations. However, as time unfurls its relentless march, we find ourselves at a crossroads.

The Challenge of Tradition in a Changing World:

The challenge we face is the inherent rootedness of Ubuntu in the old traditions and ways of life. While its wisdom remains timeless, the context in which it was born has transformed dramatically.

In our quest for continuity, we must recognize that pouring new wine into old bottles risks stagnation, limiting our capacity to truly meet the needs of the present and the future.

A New Dawn: The Birth of Romantic Existentialism:

Out of this realization, from the fertile soil of Ubuntu's principles, has sprung forth a new philosophical paradigm—Romantic Existentialism. This fresh approach offers a bridge between the ancient wisdom of Ubuntu and the dynamic realities of our modern world. It is a philosophy that acknowledges the desires and aspirations of the youth, who seek a path that speaks to their individualism, their quest for personal meaning, and their yearning for authentic self-expression.

The Essence of Romantic Existentialism:

Romantic Existentialism, while a departure from Ubuntu in some respects, does not abandon its core principles. Instead, it reimagines them in a contemporary light. At its heart, Romantic Existentialism champions the enjoyment of life, the embrace of sensuality, and the pursuit of happiness as intrinsic values. It celebrates individualism and the freedom to chart one's own course while encouraging a profound sense of interconnectedness.

The Call for Unity and Self-Discovery:

This philosophy calls upon the youth of South Africa, the ama2000, and all who resonate with its principles, to find in it a sense of belonging and unity.

It is an ethos designed to unite them in their journey of self-discovery, creativity, and personal growth. It is a call to embrace the vibrancy of life, to seek meaning in a world that sometimes appears indifferent, and to craft one's own narrative with passion and authenticity.

A New Chapter Begins:

As we embark on this philosophical odyssey, we recognize that it is not a rejection of the past but a dynamic dialogue between tradition and innovation. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of Ubuntu that continues to inspire and shape our lives, even as we explore new horizons.

In the chapters that follow, we will delve deeper into the tenets of Romantic Existentialism, exploring its implications, applications, and potential to empower the youth of South Africa to become responsible, self-aware, and compassionate individuals who can contribute meaningfully to a rapidly evolving world. Together, we set forth on a new chapter—one illuminated by the radiant light of Romantic Existentialism.

Romantic Existentialism aligns with the sensibilities of the younger generation by emphasizing the enjoyment of life, individualism, and the pursuit of personal meaning. It resonates with their desire for authenticity and self-expression, making it a philosophy that feels relevant and relatable.

While Ubuntu may be seen as something more traditional or associated with older generations, Romantic Existentialism provides a bridge between the wisdom of the past and the aspirations of the present. It acknowledges the importance of ancestral knowledge while empowering the younger generation to shape their own narratives.

Romantic Existentialism teaches that each individual is responsible for creating their own meaning in life. We are not bound by tradition or the expectations of others. We are free to choose our own path and to create our own destiny.

Romantic Existentialism emphasizes the importance of freedom. We are free to make our own choices, even if they are difficult or unconventional. We are also free to express ourselves and to live our lives authentically.

Romantic Existentialism teaches that we are all interconnected. We cannot live our lives in isolation. We need each other to support us and to help us grow. We also need to work together to create a better world.

Romantic Existentialism is a philosophy of love. It teaches us to love ourselves, to love others, and to love the world around us. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, and it is the key to creating a better future for ourselves and for all of humanity.

Self-love is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and effort to learn to love ourselves fully. But it is a journey that is well worth taking. When we love ourselves, we are more likely to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.


In the realm of philosophical thought, ideas often clash and evolve, giving rise to new ideologies that challenge established norms. One such radical departure from the traditional concept of Ubuntu is the emergence of Romantic Existentialism. This philosophical perspective represents a profound shift in how we perceive life, enjoyment, and the creation of meaning. Let's embark on a journey through the world of Romantic Existentialism and explore its origins, principles, and implications for our understanding of existence.

The Roots of Romantic Existentialism

At the heart of Romantic Existentialism lies the fusion of two distinct philosophical traditions: Romanticism and Existentialism. Romanticism, born in the late 18th century, celebrated the individual's connection with nature, sensuality, and the pursuit of emotional experiences. It advocated for the liberation of the self from societal constraints and the embrace of life's inherent beauty and vitality.

the 19th and 20th centuries as a response to the existential crises faced by individuals in a rapidly changing world. It emphasized the individual's freedom and responsibility to create their own meaning in an otherwise indifferent universe. Existentialism delved deep into the human psyche, exploring the struggle for purpose and authenticity.

The Essence of Romantic Existentialism

In the philosophy of Romantic Existentialism, life is a canvas on which individuals are encouraged to paint their experiences with vibrant and unapologetic strokes. It advocates for the unbridled enjoyment of natural life, the embrace of sensuality, and the pursuit of happiness as an intrinsic value. It acknowledges that life, at its core, should be a joyful celebration of existence.

However, Romantic Existentialism doesn't stop at enjoyment alone. It adds layers of depth by intertwining existentialist principles. The pursuit of enjoyment is not a hedonistic indulgence but a deliberate act infused with meaning. It is about creating one's own sense of purpose and significance in a world that often appears devoid of inherent meaning.

The Quest for Meaning

Existentialism reminds us that life can be inherently absurd and indifferent. In the face of this existential void, Romantic Existentialism challenges individuals to confront this reality and respond with a resounding affirmation of life's worth. It encourages us to carve out our own meaning, to find significance in the pursuit of our passions, and to create our own narratives.

This quest for meaning is deeply personal and may manifest in various forms, whether through artistic expression, intellectual pursuits, meaningful relationships, or a sense of connection with the natural world. It is the act of imbuing life with purpose, authenticity, and a profound sense of existence.

The Journey of Discovery

The formulation of Romantic Existentialism has not been an easy feat. It has required two decades of dedicated study, spanning continents and delving into the depths of human thought and experience. From the old-world charm of Europe to the vibrant cultures of Latin America, from the intellectual hubs of the United States to the rugged landscapes of Iceland, and two extensive journeys across the diverse tapestry of Africa, this philosophical journey has been a testament to the quest for knowledge and understanding.

Ancient Wisdom of Native Americans and the Development of Romantic Existentialism

The development of philosophical perspectives often draws inspiration from diverse sources, including ancient wisdom and indigenous cultures. In the case of Romantic Existentialism, the infusion of Native American wisdom plays a significant role in shaping its principles and outlook. Let's explore the useful ancient wisdom of Native Americans that has contributed to the development of this philosophy.

Connection with Nature: Native American cultures have long emphasized a deep connection with the natural world. This connection is rooted in the understanding that all life is interconnected and interdependent. This wisdom highlights the importance of embracing the beauty and rhythms of nature, a core element of Romantic Existentialism that celebrates the enjoyment of natural life.

Spirituality and Individualism: Many Native American tribes have rich spiritual traditions that acknowledge the importance of individual spiritual journeys. This emphasis on personal connection with the sacred aligns with the existentialist aspect of Romantic Existentialism, which encourages individuals to find their own meaning and purpose.

Harmony with the Cosmos: Native American cosmology often centers around the idea that humans are part of a greater cosmic order. This perspective resonates with existentialism's exploration of human existence within an indifferent universe. Romantic Existentialism draws inspiration from this notion to encourage individuals to find their place in the cosmos and create their own sense of significance.

Stories and Narratives: Native American cultures have a rich tradition of storytelling, using myths, legends, and oral traditions to convey essential truths about life, humanity, and the world. In a similar vein, Romantic Existentialism values the power of narratives and personal stories in shaping one's existence and finding meaning.

Communal Wisdom: Native American communities often prioritize collective well-being and wisdom, akin to the Ubuntu philosophy. While Romantic Existentialism emphasizes individualism, it doesn't reject the importance of community and the value of shared experiences. The synthesis of individual and communal wisdom is an integral part of the philosophy.

Respect for Ancestry: Native American cultures maintain profound respect for their ancestors and their wisdom. In developing Romantic Existentialism, the acknowledgment of the wisdom passed down through generations is evident. It recognizes the value of learning from the past while forging one's path forward.

Balance and Harmony: Many Native American teachings stress the importance of balance and harmony in life. This resonates with the idea in Romantic Existentialism that enjoying life and finding meaning should be pursued in equilibrium, avoiding extremes that may lead to imbalance.

The infusion of Native American wisdom into the fabric of Romantic Existentialism enriches the philosophy with a holistic perspective on life, the interconnectedness of all beings, and the importance of personal growth and fulfillment. It encourages individuals to draw inspiration from a diverse range of cultural sources, appreciating the valuable insights that ancient traditions can offer in the quest for a more meaningful and enjoyable existence.

let's explore how the Native American wisdom aligns with the principles of Romantic Existentialism:

Connection with Nature:

In Romantic Existentialism: This ancient wisdom resonates with Romantic Existentialism's celebration of the enjoyment of natural life. It emphasizes the importance of reconnecting with the natural world, finding joy in its beauty, and recognizing our place within it. In Romantic Existentialism, nature becomes a source of inspiration and a canvas for personal exploration and fulfillment.

Spirituality and Individualism:

In Romantic Existentialism: The Native American emphasis on individual spiritual journeys aligns with the existentialist aspect of Romantic Existentialism. It encourages individuals to explore their own spirituality and find personal meaning and purpose. This spiritual exploration is seen as an integral part of the broader quest for a fulfilling existence.

Harmony with the Cosmos:

In Romantic Existentialism: The concept of finding one's place in the cosmos and creating personal significance mirrors the existentialist exploration of existence within an indifferent universe. Romantic Existentialism draws inspiration from the Native American perspective to encourage individuals to navigate their unique paths in harmony with the greater cosmic order.

4. Stories and Narratives:

In Romantic Existentialism: Both Native American cultures and Romantic Existentialism recognize the power of storytelling and narratives in shaping one's existence.

Romantic Existentialism values personal narratives as a means of creating meaning and understanding one's journey. It acknowledges that the stories we tell ourselves can influence our sense of self and purpose.

5. Communal Wisdom:

In Romantic Existentialism: While Romantic Existentialism places a strong emphasis on individualism, it doesn't negate the importance of community and shared wisdom. The philosophy recognizes that individuals can draw inspiration from communal experiences and the collective wisdom of cultures, including Native American traditions. It values the lessons learned from the past and shared by the community.

Respect for Ancestry:

In Romantic Existentialism: The acknowledgment of ancestral wisdom aligns with the Romantic Existentialist recognition of the value of learning from the past. While forging one's path forward, the philosophy encourages individuals to respect and draw insights from the wisdom passed down through generations. It underscores the idea that our roots can inform our journey of self-discovery.

Balance and Harmony:

In Romantic Existentialism: The Native American emphasis on balance and harmony in life corresponds with Romantic Existentialism's belief that enjoying life and finding meaning should be pursued in equilibrium.

The philosophy encourages individuals to avoid extremes that may lead to imbalance and to seek a balanced approach to living authentically and with purpose.

Incorporating these Native American wisdoms into the framework of Romantic Existentialism enriches the philosophy with a holistic perspective on life, the importance of personal exploration, the value of shared wisdom, and the interconnectedness of all beings. It encourages individuals to draw from diverse cultural sources, fostering a deeper appreciation for the insights that ancient traditions can offer in the pursuit of a more meaningful and enjoyable existence.

Romantic Existentialism encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own lives and to create meaning in a world that can often feel chaotic and uncertain. This philosophy can inspire young South Africans to become proactive, self-reliant, and engaged in shaping their futures.

Fostering Personal Growth

By celebrating the enjoyment of life and the pursuit of personal passions, Romantic Existentialism encourages individuals to explore their interests and develop their potential. This can be particularly empowering for young people seeking to discover their talents and strengths.

Promoting Cultural Continuity

Rather than completely discarding the cultural heritage of Ubuntu, Romantic Existentialism complements it. It acknowledges the importance of shared values and communal wisdom while allowing for individual expression. This approach can help maintain cultural continuity while adapting to modern realities.

Encouraging Critical Thinking

Romantic Existentialism encourages individuals to question, reflect, and explore their beliefs and values. It promotes critical thinking and self-examination, which are essential skills for navigating the complexities of the modern world.

Creative Expression

The ama2000 and amapiano culture movement often involve artistic expression, creativity, and music. Romantic Existentialism provides a philosophical foundation that can enrich their creative endeavors and inspire meaningful artistry.