ASCL Seminar: Animals in Africa - Human-animal relationships through the lenses of decoloniality and ubuntu

Despite cultural differences and socio-economic disparities, (other) animals, particularly those kept as companions are becoming increasingly significant within a diversity of South African communities. Pet-keeping cuts across all socio-economic categories and public opinion regarding the status of animals in general is currently a subject of contestation and debate. This has both legislative and policy implications.
This presentation by Dr Sharyn Spicer (University of the Western Cape) briefly traces local ‘animal’ history to demonstrate how other animal species have been involved in several pivotal moments in our past and present. It uses a social justice lens, the concept of intersectionality combined with African philosophical insights and cosmologies to shed light on human-animal relationships and to develop contextually appropriate and culturally competent animal welfare interventions. The overall aim of this presentation  is to imagine and ultimately put into practice a decolonial animal future.  By looking inward and going beyond western knowledge and insights from the Global north, new understandings and actions that draw on indigenous knowledges, are able to take place. Underlying the indigenous concept of ubuntu is the ethic of reciprocity, interdependence and compassion, which can be extended to other living beings so that everything is seen as connected. The intrinsic value of other animals, who are viewed as community members or kin is recognised.
This event will be held physically in Leiden. For registrees who cannot travel to Leiden a link to an online platform will be sent one day before the start of the event.
Photo credits: Aminudahiru (via Wikimedia Commons).

Dr Sharyn Spicer is a senior lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her current research focuses on animal studies, animal welfare, where in the past she worked on school violence and homicide in South Africa.




Date, time and location

02 November 2023
16.00 - 17.30
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 0.B13