Without respect and ubuntu, members of society become hooligans, President Jacob Zuma said in Alexandra on Saturday.
"We believe that all human beings are equal and important...that they must be respected by virtue of their humanity.
"Once we lose respect for one another and ubuntu, what type of society will we be?
"If we build a society without these two, we are building a society of hooligans," he told the Alexandra township centenary celebration.
Zuma criticised those who spoke recklessly against others just because they did not share the same views.
"If we do not agree as people, let us argue with respect and not by violence, saying whatever we like to people.
"That does not build a nation. South Africans are not hooligans. We are a nation of very proud respectful people who stand up for their rights but do so without losing dignity and ubuntu," Zuma said.
He urged the community of Alexandra not to join the violent service delivery protests which engulfed some parts of the country.
The violent protests, Zuma said, reversed what had already been achieved through the struggle and by the democratic government.
"We must never allow anger to reverse the gains we have made through decades of struggle. The new violent protests...have no place in a democratic society. We cannot destroy that which we have built ourselves."
He commended the Alexandra township which was associated with great leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Moses Kotane and Joe Modise.
Other icons associated with the township included Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza, the late Simon "Mahlathini" Nkabinde, Ntemi Piliso, Mahotella Queens and the Dark City Sisters.
Zuma applauded progress made by the Alexandra Renewal Project which was launched 10 years ago to rebuild the township and remove the legacy of its past.
The project started with a budget of R1.3-billion and last year this was increased to R2.2-billion.
Zuma earlier met Alexandra community leaders who submitted complaints over the issuing of title deeds in the area.
He committed himself to return to the township in October but urged the residents to celebrate what the township had achieved thus far.
Zuma urged workers not to follow the path taken by striking Lonmin workers in Marikana when they refused to use recognised trade unions and caused negotiation process to be stalled.
"Let Alexandra be a mother, teaching people how they can solve their own problems."
The celebrations at a packed Alexandra stadium, were marked with poetry, dance and music.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau were among the dignitaries in attendance.