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What is Ubuntu?
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,” or in Xhosa, “umntu ngumntu ngabantu” but in a more philosophical sense it means “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all.
This is not just an African philosophy but a spirituality and an ethic of African traditional life.
“Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, ‘Yu, u nobunto’; ‘Hey so-and-so has ubuntu.’ Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life.” – Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness.
There is a story of an anthropologist who had been studying the habits and culture of a remote African tribe…
He had been working in the village for a long time and the day before he was to return home, he put together a gift basket filled with tasty fruits from around the region and wrapped it with a ribbon. He placed the basket under one tree and then he gathered up the children in the village.
The man drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the basket of the fruit.”
When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group.
The anthropologist was shocked. He asked why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for themselves?
A young girl looked up at him and said, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
A person with Ubuntu is one with self-assurance who is available to others and affirms them. We believe that a person is a person through other persons.
In history, the Ubuntu spirit, whatever names it’s been accustomed is the one that has propelled the world towards oneness in the likes of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Oscar Romero, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. They all showed the Ubuntu spirit in the different contexts that they lived.
“Your humanity comes into its own in the community, in the family.”
In our little African community here in china, we each have our own goals and mission. Some of us are studying, working. Others are striving to gain muscle, and others to lose weight. But, regardless of our individual pursuits, we are always a team striving towards greatness, to be happy.
We are a group of people on a quest to make the world better, not just different. We are there for each other, support each other despite coming from different African countries.
You can’t be human all by yourself, we believe that there is always room at the top. We believe in abundance and we work hard to make life great for everyone in our community no matter which part of the world you come from. I honestly believe we are not just individuals, separated from one another, whereas we are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out to everyone. Together we will walk towards the tree while holding hands and enjoy the fruits together.