Ubuntu (philosophy)


"Ubuntu" means "I am what I am because of who we all are."

In 2006 at the Festival of Peace, in Florianopolis, South Brazil, the journalist and philosopher Lia Diskin related a beautiful story of a tribe in Africa she called Ubuntu.

She explained how an anthropologist had been studying the habits and customs of that tribe, and when he finished his work, had to wait for some time for transportation that would take him to the airport back home. He'd always been surrounded by children of the tribe, so to help pass the time before he left, he proposed a game for the children, which he thought was harmless.

He bought lots of candy and sweets in the city, and put everything in a basket with a beautiful ribbon. He placed it under a solitary tree, and then called the kids together. He drew a line on the ground and explained that they should wait behind the line for his signal. And that when he said "Go", they should rush over to the basket, and the first to arrive there would win all the candies.

When he said "Go!", instantly all the children held each other's hands and ran off towards the tree as a group. Once there, they simply shared the candy with each other and happily ate it.

The anthropologist was very surprised and asked them why they had all gone together, especially if the first one to arrive could have won everything in the basket — all the sweets.

They simply responded: "That's Ubuntu. How could one of us be happy if all the others were sad?"

He was dumbfounded! For months and months he'd been studying the tribe, and yet he'd not really understood their essence, otherwise he would never have suggested the competition...

Ubuntu means "I am what I am because of who we all are."