The Spirit Of Ubuntu

Many people associate Africa, the Motherland with extreme poverty, oppression and calamity but what they fail to see is the inter-connectedness among the people of the various tribes. That bond they share shows us what resilience is, self reliance, the power of a strong intellect and the insignificance of worldly things.

UBUNTU (oo-Buun-too) is an African philosophy with origin in the Bantu languages of Southern Africa, which in essence means “human kindness”. It’s about togetherness which provides an environment everyone can relate to and strive in. Ubuntu is our responsibility to sustain life on earth.

Imagine living in a world where we choose LOVE over everything; love is the solution. It sounds simply enough but would require a major shift in aspects of our paradigms. According to Dr. Judith Rich, it begins with consciousness.

She states:

“Different states of consciousness produce entirely different experiences of the same event. And so it is that the predominant state of consciousness in the world today, that we are separate from one another, produces the experience of separation, which produces what we have on the planet: war, poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, greed, etc.”

After consciousness comes acceptance, for its the only way to affect change in the world.

She proposes a very interesting question:

“What if what you want to be will only come about when you ensure that others get to be that as well?”

We are connected on a divine level, where our purpose lies within each other.

 “I am because we are”

“A person is a person through other people” 

“umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”

It’s time we come together as a species. For too long we have been selfish and ignorant. We have conditioned ourselves to think that if an issue does not directly affect us in the short term its not our concern. But what about in the long term? We think things like “If I worked hard to get here, why should I help you?” It becomes a competition. Although it may be hard to see, but none of us wins unless all of us win. We must support each other not with the intention of getting something in return but simply out of our moral obligation.

“Collaboration is the ultimate winning strategy.”

We must understand that despite the many differences, we are made up of the same “stuff”, we have the same blood running through our veins; we die. Ubuntu is a quality that transcends cultural differences and religious beliefs. It speaks to the part of us that recognizes the essence of being human.

Nelson Mandela whose legacy of diminishing apartheid lead to the wide spread use of the term outside South Africa. He defines it as:

“A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. 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?”

I leave you with the words of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu whose explanation could not have been more eloquently phrased:

“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.”




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