Jason van Niekerk

Lecturer, Wits University

Jason van Niekerk looks at life from a unique
perspective � one that wouldn't cross most
people's minds. He feels that the depth and
complexity of human relationships are underappreciated,
particularly in Western thought, so he
turned to the African theory of ubuntu to explore
these issues further � and this has formed the
basis of his doctoral research at Wits.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Van Niekerk
relocated to Grahamstown to do his BA and
master's in ethics and philosophy. Having been
very ill during his high school years he only became
part of a community when he went to university.
It is this, he says, that gave him a particular
appreciation for human relationships, which most
people take for granted.
Van Niekerk moved back to Jo'burg in 2007 to do
his PhD at Wits, and is currently in his fi nal year. In
addition to lecturing at the university he is involved
with the fl edgling Wits Centre for Ethics, which aims
to bring issues of ethics and philosophy into public
life. � Tarryn Harbour

Lunch spot: FOOOD, Cresta Shopping Centre, Johannesburg