Ubuntu

 

“UBUNTU”

‘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.

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.’ – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

‘A traveller 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?’ – Nelson Mandela

‘Ubuntu is recognised as being an important source of law within the context of strained or broken relationships amongst individuals or communities and as an aid for providing remedies which contribute towards more mutually acceptable remedies for the parties in such cases. Ubuntu is a concept which:

1. is to be contrasted with vengeance;

2. dictates that a high value be placed on the life of a human being;

3. is inextricably linked to the values of and which places a high premium on dignity, compassion, humaneness and respect for humanity of another;

4. dictates a shift from confrontation to mediation and conciliation;

5. dictates good attitudes and shared concern;

6. favours the re-establishment of harmony in the relationship between parties and that such harmony should restore the dignity of the plaintiff without ruining the defendant;

7. favours restorative rather than retributive justice;

8. operates in a direction favouring reconciliation rather than estrangement of disputants;

9. works towards sensitising a disputant or a defendant in litigation to the hurtful impact of his actions to the other party and towards changing such conduct rather than merely punishing the disputant;

10. promotes mutual understanding rather than punishment;

11. favours face-to-face encounters of disputants with a view to facilitating differences being resolved rather than conflict and victory for the most powerful;

12. favours civility and civilised dialogue premised on mutual tolerance.’ – Judge Colin Lamont

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