Motivation, Inspiration and Life

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Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are”

“Ubuntu is a philosophy that considers the success of the group above that of the individual.” Stephen Lundin- Ubuntu!

The word ‘Ubuntu‘ originates from one of the Bantu dialects of Africa, and is pronounced as uu-Boon-too. It is a traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation with the world. According to Ubuntu, there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities. Or as the Zulus would say, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu”, which means that a person is a person through other persons. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others. The South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as:

‘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, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do 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. They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. The quality of Ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them.” – [reference 1]


African children


“An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket. at the foot of a tree. Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves. The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.” [reference 2]

african children


“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed” -Desmond Tutu

“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” -Desmond Tutu African children






58 comments on “Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are”

  1. Pingback: Ubuntu | The Wicker Soul

  2. abbie
    May 11, 2014

    i love this it
    defines the true unpolluted african heart

    • Jay d Van Houten
      August 1, 2018

      Hopefully it defines the unpolluted human heart.

      As an ordained person of The Universal Spiritual Faith, (don’t bother to look it up, it is my creation and I am the only member.) it is what Universal Spiritualists can subscribe to as a philosophy to make the World a better place. Our theme song is “Imagine” by John Lennon. We encourage you to practice Ubuntu in whatever faith expression that you follow. Ubuntu and peace.

  3. ritesreader
    June 5, 2014

    Reblogged this on ritesreader and commented:
    I like this, but more importantly, I am reblogging this to bring together my own thoughts on Ubuntu and the way forward for responsible people in the Earth.

  4. WeaverGrace
    August 20, 2014

    “A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed” I love this vision. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    • Salty Formidable
      November 10, 2016

      That ‘s right you have said because none can live on him/herself
      We have to help each other
      We are all being human and what we must to be.
      To be together in the community,make others smile as you are,be someone with his/her solution
      Thank so much for your views

      • Salty Formidable
        November 10, 2016

        That ‘s right you have said because none can live on him/herself
        We have to help each other
        We are all being human and what we must to be.
        To be together in the community,make others smile as you are,be someone with his/her solution
        Thank so much for your views

  5. tracy
    October 25, 2014

    Our girls soccer coach uses this saying as his team motto…yet he does not exude this in his coaching. He plays his favorite players, players whose parent are outspoken, he belittles his team, disrespects other teams and coaches, and does not recognize those players who may notbe the star players! This coach uses this saying as as scapegoat to hide from how and who he truely is…a self centered bully!

    • Louann jaquish
      August 13, 2022

      Sounds like a typical hs sports team. Pressured by powerful parents. My brother experienced this. Ask him to re-read his motto in a polite way. Good luck to your team, and you.

  6. Pingback: Because We Are | Heaven Bound

  7. Paula Fortuna
    November 18, 2014

    Reblogged this on Trash Talker.

  8. Pingback: If person exists in isolation and nobody is there to recognize their humanity, are they really human at all? | the redd report

  9. Pingback: What Is UBUNTU? Listen to Nelson Mandela Nailing the Real Meaning - My Africa Now

  10. kativa
    May 1, 2015

    proud to be an african…..

  11. Pingback: It doesn’t have to be a dog eat dog world – some thoughts on individuality versus togetherness.  | flamingos and ukes

  12. kongso
    August 30, 2015

    i love this one ”I am what I am because of who we all are”it really makes me feel African. Am so proud to be an African.

    • Amanad
      December 3, 2015

      love it too Kongso

      • Yolly Mballz
        March 15, 2016

        Eish…I’m using internet because I have to gather some information about “Ubuntu” so plz help

  13. Dave norwoods
    September 4, 2015

    Here is my music with Dov and video of Ubuntu on YouTube to share the truth of our reality and a world without money. Enjoy the show for its our contributions. Blessings

  14. Pilgrim of the Earth
    October 11, 2015

    Reblogged this on WE ARE THE REAL HEBREWS.

  15. すべての時間 も 私は小さい読み取るために使用される彼らの動機をクリアし、それがまた起こっています 私が読んでいるポストこれで。
    棚卸し信用ある 完売これで最後

  16. Amanad
    December 3, 2015

    yes…go Africa…that’s who we are…we aren’t corrupt we are full of ubuntu we jst need to go back to those beauitful basics

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  18. Pingback: African Deep Thought | jrswriter

  19. pweedy chick
    February 28, 2016

    Greetings to all. I didn’t have UBUNTU. After I read this page that talks about UBUNTU. It helped me to realize that I could be better. Now I feel UBUNTU. Thanks. You inspired me in a huge way today I can share. Thanks to you guys. Inspire others and never give up !!!!!

  20. Elise Josef
    August 5, 2016

    This page helped me a lot to understand the word Ubuntu

  21. Pingback: "Ubuntu Umuntu Ngabantu" - PeregrineReads PeregrineReads

  22. Pingback: a repost: Deep African Thought | The Melanin Man

  23. Pingback: Ubuntu - The Bum Inside

  24. Carla D. Wilson Laskey
    October 3, 2016

    I stumbled upon this word (Ubuntu) today as I was attempting to change fonts for a new website I am developing. As I scrolled down the list of possibilities I read Ubuntu, a font design that I have never (until today) heard of before. I am an African American and Ubuntu sounded African to me and I guess this connection immediately resonated with me :-). I chose it and made a mental note to later research the word to see what it means. This is how I came across your blog posts. After reading it I now know I have absolutely fallen in love with this word forever just like that – lol. Wanted to contact you and say that I’m so glad that over 4 years ago you decided to write this post. Thank you for that. Heads up, I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing a blog post about this experience so you may be receiving a pingback from me for linking your article to the post;-)! I noticed from looking through you site that you haven’t posted for a while. I hope that all is well with you. Much Love & Peace!

    • JenBoudreau
      October 25, 2016

      Hi Carla- I am not sure if it was serendipity or fate but I am happy you stumbled across the word! I just love everything that Ubuntu stands for 🙂 I started this blog with much enthusiasm (as I do everything) but as life has it, got distracted with many things. I always hope to post more but never seem to find the time. I have trillions of thoughts floating around in my head so hopefully one day I can get them down on this virtual paper! Thank you for writing and reminding me why I started this blog in the first place 🙂 Take care and spread happiness!

      • Tom Horne
        July 31, 2021

        Hi Jen…I enjoyed your blog and also the note from Carla and your response to it. I found your blog while researching info for work I am doing in the area of Intrinsic Bias. I began to think that a coaching environment would be useful first so that there is possibility for people in any environment to consider Bias and possible solutions and then actions that produce effective results whatever that may be. Subsequently, I considered there was something missing from the range of input re coaching and as I was looking for that missing piece, I found old research I had done on Ubuntu 10 years ago. So in search for updates I found your blog which concisely expresses Ubuntu in a way that is accessible and motivating re my project. Thank you for creating and writing and leaving it out there to impact many including me. BTW, if you have done further work on your blog in any way I would be interested.
        Take care, and spreading happiness.

  25. Loleni Lazaro
    November 16, 2016

    Proud to be an African….thinking am not alone by being an African.

  26. Abbie
    November 16, 2016

    I am safe if you are safe

  27. Pingback: Building Community — Ubuntu | Neal Lemery

  28. Shaz
    November 24, 2016

    Let’s have a Ubuntu Life …

    Check this Awesome Fan page 😉

  29. Pingback: Ubuntu – Leadership Experience

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  31. valentine
    February 13, 2017

    I am just wondering why you had to only show poor rural Africans ……. You’re spreading the misconpetion that Africa is wayward and very rural . Pictures say a lot , so next time think about the picture before you post anything.

  32. Pingback: Ubuntu - The Way Forward

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  35. Pingback: Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are” | (LAS) ABDUN-NUR

  36. LAS786
    August 16, 2017

    Reblogged this on (LAS) ABDUN-NUR and commented:
    Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are”

  37. umutoniassumpta
    August 26, 2017

    Wow! This is great. How I wish everyone would cet access to this article and understand the meaning of *ubuntu*.

    Thank you for enlightening us all.

  38. redwar38
    January 13, 2018

    Reblogged this on SKETCHES OF LIFE and commented:
    I came across this post that blessed my life and revolutionized my thinking. Consequently, I believe that if we could ever internalize this African belief, it would revolutionize our cities, country and the world.

  39. Philippos Stamatopoulos
    February 5, 2018

    Yes,.Ubuntu may have its deep roots,.planted in Africa,.and it shows how beautiful and powerful this continent and its people are,.but for me,.its original message and meaning is much more deeper than a continent,.much more profound to be limited in one place,.it is a pure universal language,.which refers to the authentic origin of the whole humanity,..which clear vibrations and energy,.

  40. Kevin Courtney
    February 14, 2018

    People raised in a loving and safe community with loving family around them always seem to come out well. It’s a human thing and it doesn’t belong to any one people group. Love, kindness and peace is what we should all seek and they can best be found through God.

  41. Pingback: Individualism vs.Ubuntu – CT101 Digital Storytelling

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