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.