Helen Zille ruffles feathers with ‘ubuntu is bogus’ claim

28 December 2021 - 11:00
The DA’s federal chairperson Helen Zille.
The DA’s federal chairperson Helen Zille.
Image: Esa Alexander

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille has once again ruffled feathers with her latest statement regarding ubuntu.

Zille came under fire on Monday after weighing in on the 2021 Booker Prize Winner Damon Galgut’s novel The Promise.

Sharing her reviews on the novel, Zille said at first she thought of giving it a miss until a friend “rated it an excellent book”. 

“The review made it seem like one of those caricatured novels about the racist Afrikaners vs the virtuous rest — the kind of ‘four-legs-good-two-legs-bad’ race essentialism that dominates current thinking in the Anglosphere,” said Zille about the novel.

“Then a friend, whose opinions I value, said he rated it an excellent book, so I re-entered it on my Christmas reading list. I’m glad I did. It showed me how misleading a review can be. The writing is supreme, and I found myself reading sentences over and over again.”

Zille followed it up by saying:  “Now I am looking forward to the writer who is great and brave enough to write the novel that will expose the myths that we once believed about SA and truthfully examine why they turned to dust, including the sentimental bogusness of notions like ubuntu,” she said.

However, Zille’s comment on the philosophy drew mixed reactions from many, who questioned the “mystery” behind it.

In response to one user, Zille said “It shouldn’t be a mystery. The candyfloss confected use of the concept of ubuntu is bogus. And we need a brave book exposing all the sentimentality that blinded us to the great unravelling. That is all I am saying. That novel remains to be written.”

Here is a snapshot of what many had to say about Zille's statement.   


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.