see each others, put yourself in his place, learn to listen to understand it better... Here are a few principles that may allow us to live in harmony, with respect and kindness, if they were applied by the majority of us. A sweet utopia ? An emergency, rather, as we remember painfully the news across the Atlantic which requires a time of more human beings chanting in rage and pain : "Black Lives Matter ! "
The umpteenth denial of humanity that is the death of George Floyd comes at a time when the world, after having made his examination of conscience, questions about its future. With the pandemic of Covid-19, and the containment of the half of the planet, we have seen how we were all related to each other, we've felt it in our flesh. For many, this crisis has uncovered a real desire for change.
through Ubuntu – I am because you are – Lessons from african wisdom, published at the end of 2019 at HarperCollins, Mungi Ngomane is aimed at those who aspire to a more just world.
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The philosophy of Ubuntu has had a direct impact on the history of South Africa. © DR
Ubuntu, a humanist philosophy
language xhosa, the term ubuntu means humanity. In kinyarwanda, the generosity. This is a concept that exists in nearly all the bantu languages of Africa and which includes the notion of community and interdependence between human beings. Ubuntu is shown clearly in zulu and bantu in the proverb " Umuntu, ngumuntu, ngabantu ", which could be translated by " the individual is only individual through other individuals ". In other words, " I am because you are."
The Nobel peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, who has always advocated with fervor ubuntu, summed up the essence as well : "My humanity is intertwined, inextricably bound up, in yours. When I say dehumanizes, I inflicted the same treatment inexorably. "
A man has embodied this philosophy : it is the ex-south african president Nelson Mandela. During the struggle against the regime segregationist of his country, during his twenty-seven years of imprisonment and his release, Nelson Mandela always remained faithful to the values of ubuntu. It is based on them, with the archbishop Desmond Tutu they have enabled South Africa to recover in the aftermath of apartheid, avoiding the blood bath. After the first democratic elections in the country in 1994, they have in fact launched a policy of national reconciliation with the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.
"I have often said that ubuntu was one of the greatest gifts that Africa has made to this planet," writes Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the preface of Ubuntu – I am because you are. "A gift that, unfortunately, few people know the existence. "
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A book for development of fraternal
With these " 14 lessons of the nation arc-en-ciel ", as she named them, Mungi Ngomane takes up the torch of his grand-father, trying in turn to share the philosophy of ubuntu with the greatest number of people.
practical Tips, inspiring quotes, texts documented real-life cases, the book might look like a book of personal development classic. But in the form only, because, in the end, the book inspires us to decentre and universal in celebrating the diversity and common interests.
the first lesson, " see in others ", to the last, " Learning to listen allows you to hear better ", the player will try to improve the quality of his relationship to the other. He will also learn to respect and take care of himself, without falling into the individualism that reigns in the western world. "The principle underlying the most crucial of ubuntu is, without doubt, the respect, both for oneself and for others," says Mungi Ngomane. "The idea is simple : if a person respects herself, she is much more likely to do the same for the other. "
To illustrate ubuntu, the author will rely on the south african experience, of course, but also to take examples from anywhere in the world : in Lesotho, for example, in Rwanda or in the United Kingdom, where Mungi Ngomane is the patron of the Tutu Foundation UK. These texts echo, because we can all find ourselves in most of the situations discussed.
Certain aspects of our life are, perhaps, already imbued with this philosophy, others less so, or not at all. Ubuntu – I am because thou art invites us to revisit or improve our way of being in the world by engaging with others and for the planet, even by small actions. This reading is rich in lessons opens the way to a learning of a lifetime.
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