About two years ago, I was privileged to meet a wise African woman, whom, some might say, has just about seen it all. In her delivery to a packed audience of keen African minds at the event where she spoke, Graça Machel encouraged us to keep forging ahead, saying that, “You can start as a drop, but you can grow into a river with others.” That for me encapsulated the root of the popular Ubuntu epitome, ‘I am, because you are.’
Professor of British and African history, Dr. Angela Thompsell describes Ubuntu as a complex word from Nguni languages that are spoken in several countries in Southern African.
“At the heart of each definition, though, is the connectedness that exists or should exist between people. Ubuntu refers to behaving well towards others or acting in ways that benefit the community.
Such acts could be as simple as helping a stranger in need, or much more complex ways of relating with others,” Dr. Thompsell states.
She goes on to explain that, “For some, Ubuntu is something akin to a soul force — an actual metaphysical connection shared between people and which helps us connect to each other. Ubuntu will push one toward selfless acts.”
One of the definitions of Ubuntu on Wikipedia is that it is “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”
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