The Ubuntu Philosophy: I AM, BECAUSE WE ARE

“Nelson Mandela said often that the gift of prison was the ability to go within and to think, to create within himself the things he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, harmony. Through this act of intense open-heartedness, he was to become the embodiment of what in South Africa we call Ubuntu. ‘I am; because of you.’”

The ubuntu word and philosophy is taken from a part of the Zulu phrase “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, which literally means that a person is a person through other people. The term meaning “humanity”, is often also translated as “humanity towards others”, but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.

When we act upon deeply feeling a sense of being connected to others by our common humanity, when we truly regard self and other as one, when we cherish human dignity, all of our relationships and the level of our behaviors and actions are raised to a higher plane. -Rev. William E. Flippin, Jr.

When we adopt and integrate the ubuntu philosophy in our lives, we naturally put others first. We begin to see ourselves as a collective, rather than as individuals without cause and effect. We won’t harm others because we understand our role in humanity and responsibility for each other. We are connected and everything we do is connected.

One finger cannot pick up a grain. – African Proverb

 

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