Ubuntu is the capacity in African culture to express compassion, reciprocity, dignity, harmony, and humanity in the interest of building and maintaining a community with justice and mutual caring.
Ubuntu, a Nguni word from South Africa, speaks to our interconnectedness, our common humanity, and the responsibility to each other that flows from our deeply felt connection.
Ubuntu is the consciousness of our natural desire to affirm our fellow human beings and to work and act towards each other with the communal good in the forefront of our minds. Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu – A person is a person because of others Ubuntu is a social philosophy, a way of being, a code of ethics and behavior deeply embedded in African culture. The underlying value seeks to honor the dignity of each person and is concerned about the development and maintenance of mutually affirming and enhancing relationships.
Because Ubuntu embraces and requires justice, it inspires and therefore creates a firm foundation for our common humanity. It has been in existence for thousands of years in most countries of Africa and continues to lie at the core of intrinsic values in traditional African culture, although in urban areas, such values are being increasingly eroded.
In its practical manifestation, Ubuntu could include any actions that express an individual, organizational, corporate, or governmental commitment to expressing compassion, caring, sharing and responsiveness to the community as a whole.
The hallmark of Ubuntu is about listening to and affirming others with the help of processes that create trust, fairness, shared understanding, dignity, and harmony in relationships. Ubuntu consciousness is about the desire to build a caring, sustainable, and just response to the community – whether that be a company, village, city, nation, or our global family.
Ubuntu, applied to business and corporate responsibility, would ultimately be about sharing wealth and making (at the very least) basic services, such as food, housing, and access to health and education accessible and visible to all members of our global family. -Barbara Nussbaum – Author, Award-winning social change maker and innovator.
Ubuntu encompasses the notions of shared prosperity, togetherness, collective consciousness, community empowerment, communal responsibility, individual and collective self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and welfare.