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The Spirit of Ubuntu and it’s relevance in today’s society

15 November 2011, 16:04

I think most of us can agree that there is something very wrong with the world today.  It is as if the global society has become sick, driven by the lust, the greed for power and wealth of the “own me”.

Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a decline in the social fabric that kept societies together.  I remember as a child and staying with my grandparents from time to time that in the afternoon, when they come home from work they would go and water the garden and have a chat to the neighbours who were on their way home, or taking an afternoon stroll.

Everyone knew everyone in the neighbourhood and it gave you a sense of belonging where kids could play in the street, kicking ball or driving around on their bicycles under the watchful eye of someone’s parents or grandparents.

Things have changed however, those people who can afford it put up huge walls around their properties to ensure the privacy and safety, and those who can’t just tend to lock themselves in their houses and steer clear of any interaction with the neighbours.  It is as if every household changed into a mini island state, hell bend on keeping to itself.

A few weeks ago a very good friend of mine asked her to help her with a paper that she had to do for school.  The topic was Western Philosophy vs The Spirit of Ubuntu, and one had to do a comparison between the two.

This is one of the reasons I decided to start a blog, and to touch on some other aspects which carry great importance for me related to the state of the global collective of the human race.

In short, The Spirit of Ubuntu says you are who you are because of your interaction with the community around you, if the community thrives then you will thrive.

Stanlake J.W.T Samkange defines the three main maxim’s of Ubuntu as follows:

  • To be human is to affirm one’s humanity by recognizing the humanity of others and, on that basis, establish respectful human relations with them
  • If and when one is faced with a decisive choice between wealth and the preservation of the life of another human being, then one should opt for the preservation of life
  • A ‘principle deeply embedded in traditional African political philosophy’ says ‘that the king owed his status, including all the powers associated with it, to the will of the people under him

I firmly believe that the time is right for the human race to evolve beyond  the constraining “I think, therefore I am am” Western Philosophy which revolves around the interests of the individual towards something more in line with the Spirit of Ubuntu.

Evolve you might ask?  Yes, evolve I say, since it would be impossible for you to deliver a positive contribution towards your local community if you do not know yourself.

If more people embrace this philosophy I believe that we can see a Renaissance of global proportions which would ensure the survival of the human race as a species and further our own evolution as being who can actually decide between right and wrong.

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