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Ubuntu - A South African Philosophy

South Africa has been in the news lately again for all the wrong reasons. Shameful xenophobic attacks by poor black South Africans on poor black foreigners. Life in the townships where the poor are vying for survival is no joke. Think the favelas of Brasil and the slums in India.

Lack of education, high unemployment and feeling ignored by government all go into a lethal mix that once in a while boils over with hatred for those, who are seen to be different, smarter, more successful.

But we mustn't forget that the vast majority of South Africans is not xenophobic or violent or hateful. In fact at the heart of our rainbow nation is a philosophy that encourages us to practice what Nelson Mandela tried to rekindle. It's called ubuntu.

ubuntu |oǒ'boǒntoō| Origin: Xhosa and Zulu.
  • Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’

Even in a city like Johannesburg, where I live, ubuntu is on the rise again. That's my experience. Let's hope that those currently in power will filter down a good example in future and concentrate on uplifting the nation. I'm convinced that more peaceful townships will follow. Nkosi sikelel iafrika

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