This article is an effort to put some of the paradoxical and confusing concepts of ubuntu on the table. Both the terms 'nostalgia' and 'imagination' provide us with language that can help us to talk about this complex of ideas and perspectives. On the one hand, the clouds of nostalgia surrounding ubuntu will be acknowledged and used. On the other hand, the difficulties and challenges brought about by nostalgic language have to be explored with imagination. Options for the conducting of empirical research in order to create a thicker understanding, including nostalgic language, will then be discussed. I will firstly reflect on the role of nostalgia as the atmosphere within which concepts of ubuntu find breathing space. Then the two types of nostalgia, namely restorative and reflective nostalgia will be discussed. The choice for reflective nostalgia will be argued and explained and this will hopefully provide an imaginative basis for the development of the research project on such an evasive concept as ubuntu. In conclusion some methodological guidelines, based on the postfoundational approach, will be drawn.