Diaconia (Sep 2021)

African Ubuntu, the See-Reflect-Act Model, and Christian Social Practice: Reading Luke 10:38–42 in Light of African Hospitality

  • Elia Shabani Mligo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. 5 – 20


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Christian social practice (diaconia) is contextual; it is not uniform to people of all contexts. The contextual and neutral nature of Christian social practice means the question of methodology is important when considering it in a particular context. This article surveys the African context and the best way Christian social practice can be accomplished. Through reading Luke 10:38–42 in light of the African social practice of hospitality, the article argues that hospitality – and indeed any other Christian social practice – can hardly be realized in Africa apart from the African Ubuntu philosophy of life. It suggests that the see-reflect-act methodology of diaconia, taking the African philosophy of life seriously, is appropriate to the African context. According to this methodological approach, Jesus must be understood as an African stranger who should be welcomed with hospitality and fully incorporated into the African Ubuntu way of life. Hence, Ubuntu makes any methodological approach be African, differentiating it from methodologies applied in other contexts.