"I am because we are" : Ubuntu in Inclusive Higher Education

Sarah Tara SAM

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review


Ubuntu philosophy is a transgenerational indigenous perspective of Sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) black communities. A Ghanaian equivalent is ‘Wo yonko da ne wo da’ i.e., what happens to one happens to you/all. The use of ‘we’, not ‘you’ in the paper title summarises Ubuntu’s tenets of interdependence, interconnected collective and relational human existence; value for cordial intracommunal interactions for individual development. It emphasizes our need for other humans to be human through learning most human capabilities from others, thereby highlighting communality over individuality but recognising both as interdependent and mutually sustaining co-originators rather than downplaying the latter. The afore-mentioned tenets render Ubuntu consistent with inclusive education (IE) and useful for theorising disability inclusion in HE, using qualitative study data on the support conceptualisations and experiences of thirty students with disabilities (SWDs) in three Ghanaian public universities. Disability is often conceptualised through Western theories which are not fully representative of such contexts although applicable to an extent, thereby translating into inclusive HE policy and practice failing to account fully for the Global South including SSA. A fusion of Ubuntu philosophy which is useful for its emphasis on interdependence with globalised right-based theories rather than the holistic adoption of the latter is recommended, and educational policies that utilise bottom-up approaches based on findings that they foster diversity and IE through interactions with SWDs at the forefront as educators. This can help address the inequality challenges in HE. Hence, a decolonial inclusive approach to HE is proposed.


Conference9th Global Social Sciences Graduate Student E-Conference
Period28/04/22 → …
Internet address


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