Archbishop Desmond Tutu offered a definition in a 1999 book: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.Tutu further explained Ubuntu in 2008: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.Nelson Mandela explained Ubuntu as follows:A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?
success is within our grasp
the fear of failure should not be entertained
visualizing the outcome brings it to pass
sharing our successes empowers others
thus elevating us to new heights of achievement
collectively the engineers of a new nation
Ubuntu, the inherit spirit of Africa
I'm what I am because of who we all are
Ubuntu: "I am what I am because of who we all are." (From a definition offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.)
Please see the About section for more details regarding Ubuntu and quotes from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.