title: Ubuntu
subtitle: I am because we are

About the Concept

{: #concept .intro }

“Ubuntu is a Philosophy of African Tribes that can be summed up as
I am what I am because of who we are”
Tutu,( 2012:2).
Ubuntu (Zulu pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼù]) is a Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity”. It is often translated as “I am because we are,” or “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”.[1]

As the term “Africa” has not been choosen by African people themselves some scholars such as Ali Mazrui or Mogobe Ramose explain they use it “under protest”. Also the choice to speak about Ubuntu is explained by our desire to bring in voices that speak about relations in a more knowledgeable way, this is in the hopes of creating a space for dialogue.

Ubuntu considers human-ness

Mogobe Ramose draws the concept of human-ness as the notion of human towards others implying that not only is Ubuntu Humanity (in all the acceptions of the term, but more precisely it is Human-ness, meaning that it understand the idea of totality and universalism as an openness, a respectfull relation. It is in this scope that the relation of Ubuntu to PanAfricanism should be understood.

Africans are social beings that are in constant communion with one another in an environment where a human being
is regarded as a human being only through his or her relationships to other human beings (Tutu in Battle, 1997:39-43). Therefore, the survival of a human being is dependent on other people – the community and society. This relations extends to ancestors as they will achieve a unity with people alive, it is a spiritual notion.

In the African management system context, the African Ubuntu philosophy represents humanness, a pervasive spirit of caring
within the community in which the individuals in the community love one another. This Ubuntu approach plays a pivotal role in determining the success of any African organisation (Mangaliso, 2001:32).

People who truly practise Ubuntu are always open and make themselves available to others, they are affirming of others and do not feel threatened that others are able and good. With Ubuntu, one has a proper assurance that comes with the fundamental recognition that each individual belongs to a greater community.

Source: Jude Chinweuba, The philosophical concept of “Ubuntu” as dialogic ethic and the transformation of political community in Africa.
OGIRISI: a New Journal of African Studies, Vol 12 (2016)
http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/og.v12i s1.1

“The essence of “ubuntu” is to promote a culture of peace, tolerance, peaceful co-existence and mutual development. It is a systematic entrenchment of the people(s) ideology within the society they live.
Only in community with others has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all direct
ions; only in the community, therefore is personal freedom possible. The alienation of individuals
is negations of the lives of the communities.”

“The general indication at this juncture is that, the moral rectitude accrued from the essence of the dialogical ethic between the two groups; those that are inside and those that are outside, will encourage developments in the trans-cultural societies.
Thus, the only way to justify a moral progress is to extend the boundaries of community.”

Tree of Significance

{: #tree-of-significance }

: solidarity, human-ness

: liberal, individualist

: Pan-Africanism

: Nguni Bantu

Hybrid & Fragile Aesthetics  |  ParticipateEngageCooperate