Ubuntu: A Humanitarian’s Philosophy

Ubuntu: umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (Zulu Philosophy)

Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” or “I am a person through other persons”. “A single straw of a broom can be broken easily, but the straws together are not easily broken.”

Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.”

“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.” (Desmond Tutu)

Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?” (Nelson Mandela)

The video below also does a great job of explaining the concept of UBUNTU. From it’s video description:

“”The “allegory of the spoons” teaches us that when we struggle to feed only ourselves, everyone goes hungry. But when we focus on our neighbour’s hunger, we discover there are ways to feed everyone.”

For more thoughts on Ubuntu, visit these posts from my blog, Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.):

More Thoughts On Ubuntu

On Social Work In Society: For Me, It Always Comes Back To Ubuntu

Sometimes, Being “Used” Isn’t Such A Bad Thing

I Am Who I Am Because Of Other People

10 Seconds of Silence

I Wish To Be A Rainbow In The Clouds