President Barack Obama said at the funeral of Nelson Mandela :-

There is a word in South Africa – Ubuntu – a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.

We can never know how much of this sense was innate in him, or how much was shaped in a dark and solitary cell. But we remember the gestures, large and small – introducing his jailers as honored guests at his inauguration; taking a pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS – that revealed the depth of his empathy and his understanding. He not only embodied Ubuntu, he taught millions to find that truth within themselves.

The term Ubuntu was known in South Africa around the middle of the 19th C.  Reported translations covered the semantic field of “human nature, humanness, humanity; virtue, goodness, kindness”.

The term appears in the Epilogue of the Interim Constitution of South Africa (1993), “there is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimisation”

According to Michael Onyebuchi Eze, the core of ubuntu can best be summarised as follows:

‘A person is a person through other people’ strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance. (from wikipedia).

Visitors do not need to burden themselves with carrying provisions – all they need is to dress properly and be on the road. All visitors are provided for and protected in every home they pass through without payment being expected. In fact, every individual should try his or her best to make visitors comfortable – and this applies to everyone who is aware of the presence of a visitor within a locality.

Children are never orphans since the roles of mother and father are by definition not vested in a single individual with respect to a single child. Furthermore, a man or a woman with “unhu” will never allow any child around them to be an orphan.  In the Shona language spoken in  Zimbabwe unhu is Ubuntu.

Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” (From a definition offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.)                                                                                Archbishop Desmond Tutu  offered a definition in a 1999 book:[14]                                      A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from 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.

The African worldview is about living as one family.  It is about kindness to all because all are part of we, part of us. There are opportunities that pass us by every day where we could practice Ubuntu because we don’t feel joined to others, a part of them and their lives.That concern could bring us all closer together and remove the urge to disparage others, and not to shrug off our oneness and revert to the old disdain to wards those of colour or different in some other way. I have touted the benefits of Hugs in my Buthidars Blog          https://lorddavidprosser1.wordpress.com/the-buthidar-hugs/ it sounds like my ideal world is with Hugs and with Ubuntu where we are all One and more or less responsible for the care of those within our reach who need help. Caring for those around us  as Mandela said.

Massive Hugs to all.




About davidprosser

Retired Local Government Officer who started to write at age 60 and hasn't looked back. Writes a humorous diary on the life of a member of the gentry.......and the village he lives in with his sadistic early morning alarm cat Oscar and his wife the formidable Lady J. Oscar even has his own book now, but the writing has stopped.
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13 Responses to Ubuntu

  1. jilldennison says:

    Beautifully said, David. Certainly a vision of a better world than we see today. A world to strive for, if we can set aside the arrogance and greed that drive far too many people today. I like the philosophy of Ubuntu. Perhaps it all starts with one person. I shall re-blog tomorrow, with your permission.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TanGental says:

    I’m off to Sainsburys for a bottle. I love a word like that. Ubuntu. Yep I will get an aerosol and spray it around…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jilldennison says:

    Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    A week or so ago, our friend David mentioned that he had discovered a new word, ‘Ubuntu’, and that it was a beautiful philosophy from Africa. Today, David writes about Ubuntu, a philosophy of humanity, and he does so far more eloquently than I could have done, so I am sharing his words with you. I have a few thoughts of my own on Ubuntu, and will put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard in a few days. Thank you, David, for sharing with us your gracious words, as well as your own philosophy of Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mick Canning says:

    We all need this, David! Hugs to you!


  5. colettebytes says:

    What a lovely post David.
    I hope I am finding my Ubuntu. I have been a long time searching.
    Loads of hugs back.🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1EarthUnited says:

    This is such a lovely word, I first recognized the word Ubuntu 15 years ago, and knew it roughly meant loving-kindness, generosity and sharing.
    I had been using the LINUX operating system since 98′ as an alternative to Windows. By 04′ Ubuntu came into the scene as a free open-source Linux distribution based on Debian Project, nonprofit operating software for PC.
    As with all open-source coding, transparency and freedom to modify is the key. Any programmer can contribute to the development and improve the OS for all, elegant and egalitarian alternative solution to the corporate controlled for profit, exploitative and invasive/ info tracking/ profiling/ ad based revenue generating OS’ like Microsoft or Apple (who freely admits to colluding with the gov’t).
    Freedom for the ppl, co-operative sharing of information instead of competition for profit/ gov’t controlled media and internet! Cheers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidprosser says:

      It’s a great word. I didn’t know until earlier this week that Ubuntu was also an open source operating system for PC. I agree the generosity of spirit of the people who started this and who kept it running and checking updates and changes, was second to none. I use Open Office for the same reason and can’t fault it.


  7. dgkaye says:

    Beautiful message, beautiful reminder indeed in these very dark times. 😦 Hugs to you David ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

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