Ubuntu – a story


Once upon a time, there was an anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe. He generally found himself surrounded by children most days, so he decided he would play a little game with them. He found some candy in the nearest town and put it in a very pretty basket at the foot of a tree.

He called the children and invited them to play. He told them that he would say “Go”, and the children should race to the tree. The first one to there would win all the candy.

So the children lined up, waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “Go”, all of the children joined hands and ran together to the tree. They arrived together, shared the candy, and enjoyed eating it together.

The anthropologist asked them why they had run together, when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves. The children answered, “Ubuntu. How can any one of us be happy if the others are sad?”

“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.”
– Bishop Desmond Tutu

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