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Ubuntu 2024




Ubuntu:I in You and You in Me

Battle, Michael. Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me (Seabury Books, 2009).

As defined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has 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.

The African spiritual principle of Ubuntu offers believers a new and radical way of reading the Gospel and understanding the heart of the Christian faith, and this new book explores the meaning and utility of Ubuntu as applied to Western philosophies, faith, and lifestyles.

Ubuntu is an African way of seeing self-identity formed -through community. This is a difficult worldview for many Western people, who understand self as over, against, or in competition with others. In the Western viewpoint, Ubuntu becomes something to avoid―a kind of co-dependency. As a Christian leader who understands the need, intricacies, and delicate workings of global interdependency, Battle offers here both a refreshing worldview and a new perspective of self-identity for people across cultures, and of all faiths.


Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu

Battle, Michael Jesse. Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu (Pilgrim Press, Revised Edition, 2009).

Reconciliation is Michael Battle's highly original analysis of Bishop Tutu's theology of ubuntu - an African concept recognizing that persons and groups form their identities in relation to one another. This model proved successful in opposing the apartheid racism in South Africa, but it also offers a Christian paradigm for resisting oppression wherever it appears. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, including Tutu's unpublished speeches and sermons, as well as many secondary sources, Battle portrays the Nobel Peace Prize winner as a theologian who embraces Anglican orthodoxy and who has consistently applied that framework to issues of race in South Africa. Yet Tutu is much more than a conventional theologian. He is, as Battle shows, not only an articulate preacher and at times an unwilling politician, but a genuinely committed theologian whose deepest roots are in prayer and protest.


I am because you are: how the spirit of ubuntu inspired an unlikely friendship and transformed a community

Lief, Jacob and Andrea Thompson, I Am Because You Are: How the Spirit of Ubuntu Inspired an Unlikely Friendship and Transformed a Community (Rodale Books, 2015).

In 1998, Jacob Lief, a 21-year-old American university student, met school teacher Malizole "Banks" Gwaxula in a township tavern in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

After bonding over beers and a shared passion for education, Gwaxula invited Lief to live with him in the township. Inspired by their fortuitous meeting-which brought together two men separated by race, nationality, and age-and by the spirit of ubuntu, roughly translated as "I am because you are"- the two men embarked on an unexpectedly profound journey.

Their vision? To provide vulnerable children in the townships with what every child deserves- everything.

Today, their organization, Ubuntu Education Fund, is upending conventional wisdom about how to break the cycle of poverty. Shunning traditional development models, Ubuntu has redefined the concept of scale, focusing on how deeply it can impact each child's life rather than how many it can reach. Ubuntu provides everything a child needs and deserves, from prenatal care for pregnant mothers to support through university-essentially, from cradle to career. Their child-centered approach reminds us that one's birthplace should not determine one's future.

I Am Because You Are sets forth an unflinching portrayal of the unique rewards and challenges of the nonprofit world while offering a bold vision for a new model of development.



Mathabane, Mark. The Lessons of Ubuntu: How an African Philosophy Can Inspire Racial Healing in America (Skyhorrse, 2018).

Mathabane touched the hearts of millions of people around the world with his powerful memoir, Kaffir Boy, about growing up under apartheid in South Africa and was praised by Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton. In his new book, The Lessons of Ubuntu: How an African Philosophy Can Inspire Racial Healing in America, Mathabane draws on his experiences with racism and racial healing in both Africa and America, where he has lived for the past thirty- seven years, to provide a timely and provocative approach to the search for solutions to America’s biggest and most intractable social problem: the divide between the races.

In his new book, Mathabane tells what each of us can do to become agents for racial healing and justice by learning how to practice the ten principles of Ubuntu, an African philosophy based on the concept of our shared humanity. The book’s chapters on obstacles correlate to chapters on Ubuntu principles:

  • The Teaching of Hatred vs. Empathy
  • Racial Classification vs. Compromise
  • Profiling vs. Learning
  • Mutual Distrust vs. Nonviolence
  • Black Bigotry vs. Change
  • Dehumanization vs. Fogiveness
  • The Church and White Supremacy vs. Restorative Justice
  • Lack of Empathy vs. Love
  • The Myth That Blacks and Whites Are Monolithic vs. Spirituality
  • Self-Segregation: American Apartheid vs. Hope

By practicing Ubuntu in our daily lives, we can learn that hatred is not innate, that even racists can change, and that diversity is America’s greatest strength and the key to ensuring our future.

Concerned by the violent protests on university campuses and city streets, and the killing of black men by the police, Mathabane challenges both blacks and whites to use the lessons of Ubuntu to overcome the stereotypes and mistaken beliefs that we have about each other so that we can connect as allies in the quest for racial justice.



Msila, Vuyisile. Ubuntu: Shaping the Current Workplace with African Wisdom (Knowledge Resources, 2015).

Ubuntu is an old African concept, a way of life that was like a religion in African societies - long before the days of colonisation. Ubuntu means to sacrifice for others selflessly, caring and protecting your fellow human beings. Applying ubuntu in the workplace is not always understood. Ubuntu: Shaping the current workplace with (African) wisdom looks at how we can improve workplaces by using the old values and wisdom of our forebears. Msila illustrates how leaders and managers can use the wisdom of this ancient African philosophy to create more humane and productive workplaces. In Ubuntu: Shaping the current workplace with (African) wisdom Professor Vuyisile Msila presents the five P's of ubuntu which contain the elements to enable organisations to thrive.


I am you: a book about ubuntu

Moahlili, Refiloe. I Am You: A Book about Ubuntu (Amazon Crossing Kids, 2022). We may be different, but our hearts beat the same.

In southern Africa, there is a belief called ubuntu―the idea that we are all connected. No matter where we’re from or who we are, a person is a person through their connections to other people. With simple, lyrical text and charming artwork, this lively picture book first published in South Africa is the perfect introduction to the concept of ubuntu for young kids. A celebration of friendship and kindness, the book shows children the many ways that we are all one.

Revised edition: Previously published as We Are One, this edition of I Am You includes editorial revisions.


everyday ubuntu: living better together, the african way

Ngomane, Mungi. Everyday Ubuntu: Living Better Together, the African Way (Harper, 2020). Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Mungi Ngomane, granddaughter of Nobel Peace Prize–winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, offers an introduction to ubuntu, the Southern African philosophy that celebrates the universal human bond in this beautiful definitive guide, illustrated with full-color photos and filled with lessons on how to live harmoniously with all people.

“This book will open your eyes, mind and heart to a way of being in the world that will make our world a better and more caring one.—Archbishop Desmond Tutu Ubuntu is a Xhosa word originating from a South African philosophy that encapsulates all our aspirations about how to live life well, together. It is the belief in a universal human bond: I am only because you are. And it means that if you are able to see everyone as fully human, connected to you by their humanity, you will never be able to treat others as disposable or without worth. By embracing the philosophy of ubuntu and living it out in daily life it’s possible to overcome division and be stronger together in a world where the wise build bridges, not walls.

These 14 lessons from the Rainbow Nation are an essential toolkit to helping us all to live better, together. In stories that recognize our common humanity, our connectedness and interdependence, Everyday Ubuntu helps to make sense of the world and our place in it. Exploring ideas of kindness and forgiveness, tolerance and the power of listening, it shows how we can all benefit from embracing others. Including practical applications and mindful exercises, it is an inspirational guide to a more fulfilling life as part of the large family to which we all belong.


ubuntu: a comparative study of an african concept of justice

Nnodim, Paul and Austin Okigbo. Ubuntu: A Comparative Study of an African Concept of Justice (Leuvwn University Press, 2024).

Ubuntu is an African philosophical tradition that embodies the ability of one human being to empathize with another. It is the quintessence of African humanism, communalism, and belonging. As the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu anticipated, Ubuntu resonated with the moral intuition of the majority of black South Africans in the 1990s. As a result, it became the foundational ethical basis for articulating a new post-apartheid era of reconciliation and forgiveness in the face of a history marked by brutal racial violence. Yet Ubuntu, as a philosophy or ethical practice which has arguably come to represent African humanism and communalism, has not been sufficiently assimilated into contemporary philosophical scholarship.

This anthology weaves interdisciplinary perspectives into the discourse on African relational ethics in dialogue with Western normative ideals across a wide range of issues, including justice, sustainable development, musical culture, journalism, and peace. For the first time in contemporary philosophical scholarship, it describes the philosophy of Ubuntu for both African and non-African scholars. Comprehensively written, this book will appeal to a broad audience of academic and non-academic readers.

This book will be made open access within three years of publication thanks to Path to Open.

Contributors: Aboubacar Dakuyo (University of Ottawa), Brahim El Guabli (Williams College), Leyla Tavernaro-Haidarian (University of Johannesburg), Damascus Kafumbe (Middlebury College), Joseph Kunnuji (University of the Free State), David Lutz (Holy Cross College, Notre Dame), Thaddeus Metz (University of Pretoria), Emmanuel-Lugard Nduka (media practitioner), Levi U.C. Nkwocha (University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne).


ubuntu and personhood

Ogude, James. Ubuntu and Personhood (African World Press, 2018).

This book examines the relationship between Ubuntu and the idea of personhood. Ubuntu in its broadest sense is rooted in the belief that the full development of personhood comes with shared identity and the idea that an individual s humanity is fostered in a network of relationships: I am because you are; we are because you are. The chapters in this book seek to interrogate this relational quality of personhood embodied in Ubuntu. The book further seeks to examine whether we can talk about relational personhood without running the risk of essentialism. It argues that no human society is possible without a network of relations, which involves, among other elements, communication and interaction between individuals. It is a critical engagement with how Ubuntu shapes those ethical values of connectedness and interdependence within society. The book also asks whether we can find relevance in Ubuntu as an ethical value system, which is likely to mediate our daily activities and the social institutions, which serve communities in post-colonial societies. Further, the book grapples with many questions: Can Ubuntu s idea of human inter-dependence complement the European idea of freedom of the individual, thus lead to a hybridised ethical foundation for a future society? Does Ubuntu share any similarities with other intellectual and philosophical streams from the African continent such as Nyerere s Ujamaa? If our own idioms and concepts of personhood come with moral entitlements, as they must, how are we to evaluate the conduct of persons whose identity is constructed differently? Finally, how are we to understand agency in a context in which relational quality of personhood is granted alongside individual autonomy?


ubuntu: on whose shoulders we stand

Trent, Dr. Tererai. Ubuntu: On Whose Shoulders We Stand (KMD Books, 2023).

When we live in a world that celebrates individual success while downplaying the role of others in achieving our dreams. We often forget that others play an equal part in our achievements. When you share your gratitude, you will rise up higher than you could ever dream of. Let's celebrate and honor other people who have helped us along the way.

Ubuntu: On Whose Sholders We Stand is a collection of inspired authors sharing their tales of giving humanity to others.

FEATURING AUTHORS: Tererai Trent, Bettina Danganbarr, Sarah Blake, Bianca F Stawiarski, Celia Malahlela, Chiedza Malunga, Elisabeth Gabauer, Jen Hagen, Judy Cheung-Wood, Karen McDermott, Kellie Hackney, Lisa Benson, Margaret Williams, Miranda Murray, Raquelle Roulette, Scharrell Jackson, Vikki Speller Forward by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.


i am because you are

Tutu, Solomon. I Am Because You Are (Independently Punished, 1922).

Charity begins at home, and so does Ubuntu. Solomon Tutu's highly anticipated book I Am Because We Are challenges us to build, connect, and expand our circles of belonging. Every day, Ubuntu sets out to make her community better. Ubuntu's community begins with her baby brother at home and ends with the people in her city.

Ubuntu uses her tools of kindness, empathy, and love to honor the humanity of others, thus affirming her humanity. In a story inspired by his daughter's desire to help everyone, Solomon Tutu takes readers on a walkthrough of a little girl's life in which she invests in the wellbeing of others.

Through the use of fascinating illustrations, this book shows how we can all pour into our communities every day.



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