“Ubuntu is a philosophy that considers the success of the group above that of the individual.”
— Stephen Lundin
The word “Ubuntu” originates from one of the Bantu dialects of Africa and is pronounced as uu-Boon-too. It is a traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation to the world. According to Ubuntu, there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities. Or as the Zulus would say, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu”, which means that a person is a person through other persons. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others.
The South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as: ‘It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong to a greater whole. They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. The quality of Ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them.”
“You might have much of the world’s riches, and you might hold a portion of authority, but if you have no Ubuntu, you do not amount to much”
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu