Centering Ukama Ethic (Relatedness) in the Covid-19 Pandemic ‘New Normal’ in African Higher Education

Joseph Pardon Hungwe, Amasa P. Ndofirepi


This conceptual article examines the ukama ethic concerning the Covid-19 pandemic-induced ‘new normal’ in African higher education. In so doing, we endeavor to appropriate ukama which is a communally oriented value system to militate against socially isolated individualism in Remote Learning and an Ethic of Care that combats social prejudices occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic in African higher education. Our central argument is that Ukama ethic is contextually appropriate in the Covid-19 pandemic-induced ‘new normal in African higher education. This article does two important things. Firstly, in light of the demands for local thought traditions in African higher education, it advances the social values of relatedness that constitute Ukama ethic to normatively underline the Remote Learning and Ethics of Care. In this regard, a question that is important to us is; if not now in the ‘new normal, then when can local thought traditions be fully incorporated into African higher education? Secondly, in the attempt to appropriate local thought traditions into African higher education, the article offers a critical reflection of Ukama. Despite its limitations, we conclude that the Ukama ethic is important in the Covid-19 pandemic induced ‘new normal’ in African higher education.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Joseph Pardon Hungwe, Amasa P. Ndofirepi

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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