Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Essential Ubuntu ... ( “ubuntu psychology" )

"The West has achieved a great deal through individual
initiative and ingenuity and must be commended for these
often spectacular achievements. But the cost may have been
high. All this has permitted a culture of achievement and
success to evolve, assiduously encouraging the rat-race
mentality. The awful consequence is that persons tend then
not to be valued in and for themselves with a worth that is
In Africa we have something called ubuntu in Nguni
languages, or botho in Sotho, which is difficult to translate
into English. It is the essence of being human. It speaks of
the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably
bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks
about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with
ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to
share. Such people are open and available to others,
affirming of others, does (sic) not feel threatened that
others are able and good, for they have a proper self-
assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a
greater whole and are diminished when others are humiliated
or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or
treated as if they were less than who they are. It gives
people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still
human despite all efforts to dehumanise them. It means it is
not a great good to be successful through being aggressively
competitive, that our purpose is social and communal harmony
and well-being."
(This is an extract from the book "The Essential DESMOND TUTU")

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