15th International Symposium of the World Society Victimology

Professor Robert Peacock, Department of Criminology, University of the Free State and Vice President of the WSV, South Africa

ADDRESS: 'I am what I am because of who we all are': A victimological exploration of the African values of Ubuntu

With Africa as the Cradle of Humankind it does not surprise that the ancient worldview of Ubuntu was prevalent already thousands of years ago during the time of Netchar Maat, an Egyptian deity (circa 2400 BC). In essence, it refers to the affirmation of one’s humanity with others in its infinite variety of context and form, whereby one’s own sense of humanity is gained from the humanity shared with others. The spirit of Ubuntu as enshrined in the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act (34 of 1995) of the Republic of South Africa, forced a country to redefine itself and for the citizens to become each other through the accounts of its victims and perpetrators at the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. With victimisation that seeks to dehumanise, this presentation focuses on a critical exploration of the restorative Ubuntu values of interdependence and communality that seek to advance the intense humanness of a universal personhood in our attempts to address and transcend institutional, structural and interpersonal victimisation.

Professor Robert Peacock is attached to the Department of Criminology (Chair) at the University of the Free State, South Africa and is currently a Vice President of the World Society of Victimology. Professor Peacock has written extensively about victimology, in particular on institutional victimisation, identity and the legacies of colonial and Post-Apartheid South Africa. He is the recipient of a number of awards (for instance honorary academic colours, media publication awards, study and teaching) and serves regularly on scientific committees and boards. He is a founding member of the African Postgraduate Course of Victimology, Victim Assistance and Criminal Justice (WSV) seeking to advance justice on the African continent and elsewhere, focusing on the plight of disenfranchised and marginal individuals, groups and communities. Prof Peacock's work can be considered pioneering in its celebration of an African Victimology that embodies the Ubuntu values of intense humanness and universal interconnectedness.