Original Research - Special Collection: Society

Ubuntu, koinonia and diakonia, a way to reconciliation in South Africa?

Gert Breed, Kwena Semenya
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 2 | a2979 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i2.2979 | © 2015 Gert Breed, Kwena Semenya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 March 2015 | Published: 14 October 2015

About the author(s)

Gert Breed, School of Ministers’ Training, North West University, Faculty of Theology, South Africa
Kwena Semenya, School of Ministers’ Training, North West University, Faculty of Theology; Pastor in the Reformed Church Randburg, South Africa


This article seeks to contribute to the process of reconciliation in South Africa. This is achieved by firstly exploring the meaning of ubuntu as a common culture or religion under a large percentage of South Africa’s people over the borders of language and other cultural values. In the second part of the article two concepts that play a major role in Christianity are explored, namely koinonia and diakonia. Again a large percentage of South Africans believe that the Bible is the Word of God in which the right way of living is described. A comparison is made between the core values of ubuntu and the way of living that emerges from the use of the two concepts of koinonia and diakonia in the New Testament. A way that can contribute to reconciliation is suggested from this comparison.


Ubuntu, diaconia, koinonia, reconciliation, South Africa


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