"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 intrinsic.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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