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Everyday Ubuntu

Living Better Together, the African Way

By Mungi Ngomane
15-minute read
Audio available
Everyday Ubuntu by Mungi Ngomane

Everyday Ubuntu (2019) explains the 14 practices of ubuntu – a South African philosophy which teaches that all humans are deeply interconnected. By providing inspiring case studies and practical exercises, it illustrates how you can embrace ubuntu to deepen your connections with others and achieve greater inner tranquility.

  • Drifters longing for meaningful connection with others
  • Seekers of inner tranquility
  • Victims of apathy looking to re-engage with their humanity

Mungi Ngomane is a passionate advocate for human rights, with a particular focus on girls and women, and the protection of refugees. She has worked on initiatives addressing Islamophobia in the United States, conflict resolution in the Middle East, and the liberation of the Palestinian people. Granddaughter of renowned Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ngomane has taken up the family mantle to campaign for justice and human dignity.

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Everyday Ubuntu

Living Better Together, the African Way

By Mungi Ngomane
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Everyday Ubuntu by Mungi Ngomane
Synopsis

Everyday Ubuntu (2019) explains the 14 practices of ubuntu – a South African philosophy which teaches that all humans are deeply interconnected. By providing inspiring case studies and practical exercises, it illustrates how you can embrace ubuntu to deepen your connections with others and achieve greater inner tranquility.

Key idea 1 of 9

To feel true belonging, we must acknowledge humanity’s interconnectedness.

Modern technology is a double-edged sword. It gives us access to boundless information and lets us connect with people around the globe. It also tempts us to turn our gazes onto ourselves, to build digital shrines to our lives that are worshipped with likes, shares, and retweets. And while our congregation might number in the thousands, we have never been lonelier.

The key message here is: To feel true belonging, we must acknowledge humanity’s interconnectedness.

Ubuntu is a South African philosophy which teaches that all humans are deeply interconnected. With respect at its foundation, it asks us to look outward, acknowledging the humanity in others. When we do this, our behavior transforms. It’s impossible to mistreat others if we recognize their inherent value. Every person we interact with becomes worthy of our respect, whether they’re our long-term partner or the postal worker delivering our mail.

This mindset is quite different from the Western way of thinking, which pits us against each other. Our social media feeds point out all the things we lack – the things we’re told we need in order to be happy. We constantly compare our lives to friends and strangers alike, noting all the reasons why their lives are better than ours.

Ubuntu challenges us to flip our thinking. Instead of using other people as a point of comparison, it invites us to focus instead on what someone else brings to our lives. Their contribution might be small – a stranger holding the door open for you, or huge – a loved one caring for you while you’re sick. As soon as we shift our thinking to how someone has contributed to our lives, we let go of our notions of lack and competition. By looking outward in a positive way, we start seeing how connected we are to the lives of those around us. And this sense of belonging brings us comfort.

Connecting with those around you isn’t as difficult as you might think. A good place to start is by looking people in the eye when you interact. Try it next time you’re paying for your groceries or picking up your dry cleaning. This is a great way to have a brief but meaningful interaction with a stranger who is contributing to your life.

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