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UBUNTU -(oo-BOON-too)


Ubuntu: "I am what I am because of who we all are." (From a translation offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.)

Ubuntu, pronounced /ùbúntú/ (oo-BOON-too), is an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other. The word has its origin in the Bantu languages of southern Africa. Ubuntu is seen as a classical African concept


Archbishop Desmond Tutu offered a definition in a 1999 book:[3]

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.

Tutu further explained Ubuntu in 2008:[4]

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.

Nelson Mandela explained Ubuntu as follows:[5]

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?

Tim Jackson refers to Ubuntu as a philosophy that supports the changes he says are necessary to create a future that is economically and environmentally sustainable.[6]

Judge Colin Lamont expanded on the definition during his ruling on the hate speech trial of Julius Malema [7]:

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.
The Boston Celtics, the 2008 NBA champions, have chanted "ubuntu" when breaking a huddle since the start of the 2007-2008 season.[7]on identity, mission and ubuntu, an African concept that focuses on people's relationships with one another. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has described ubuntu as "the essence of being human. ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness."
PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST beautiful gifts we canreceive in opening our hearts to those who are different, is the capacity to celebrate the myriad ways in which our cultures and communities have understood and described the qualities we hold most dear.As a Mexican-American who grew up in Mexico, I have always lived “in between” – in between cultures, languages, traditions, seen as “white” by some, “of color” by others. On the one hand, this has not always been easy. If Ubuntu means “I am” because “we are” – I think I often would have had difficultyfiguring out just who this “we” is, and wondering whether my own story was more about “whoI am not” than “who I am.” And yet, somewhere along the way, I would have to recognizethat a new definition of “I am” and “we are” somehow became real. Today, “I am” because“we are all the body of Christ.” Today, I serve a community of faith as a bilingual, biculturalpastor, and the very realities that made growing up so difficult now prove themselves transformedinto amazing, beautiful capabilities that bridge differences in the Name of Christ. Today, I know myself as one called to open doors for others. “I am” in relationship with many who remain “outside” – very literally knocking on the door, hoping for a welcome and looking for a home. “I am” because “weare” – hungry, excluded, alienated, all too often the victims of injustice, yearning for a place where we know ourselves fully included, respected and authentically valued.From this perspective, it may well be that to have “Ubuntu” is to become an effective, gracious builder of bridges, advocating and striving for a church that more authentically opens its doors, allows itself to change in externals for the deeper reality of being a “we are” with those whose stories are different. ¡

-The Rev. Patricia Millard




UBUNTU Skit 2011


Sue:      Last year at our District Officer Training Event – “DOTE”, as we all know it, we had a little skit to introduce you to the African term - - UBUNTU.   We brought back our duck – by popular demand!  You probably noticed “Ubuntu” mentioned at other UMW meetings throughout the last year.

                              UBUNTU means living unselfishly on behalf of others in a caring community, working as a team while exemplifying our oneness in Christ. 

                              We’ve assembled a cadre of cheerleaders to help you join me in our UBUNTU cheer to start the meeting.

Sue:            Give me a “U”

Sharon and group:            “U”

Sue:            Give me a “B-U-N

Sharon and group:            “B-U-N”

Sue:            Give me a “T-U”

Sharon and group:            “T-U”

Sue:            Put it together, and what does it spell”  

EVERYONE:            U-BUN-TU      U-BUN-TU!        U-BUN-TU!

Sharon:        (exuberantly) I get it! I get it!  I remember that word from last year and I know just what I’m going to do!   And I really get the duck.  In my church, everybody knows Alice. Well, her house is looking like it really needs paint, etc . . . . . . I’m going to get a group together to paint it!  We can get all our husbands to bring their ladders and brushes and we can get John at the paint store to donate the paint.   We can do this ubuntu event.  Yes, we can! Yes we can!  This is what mission is all about!  Doing unto others.  We’ll do mission to Alice.  God would be so proud.

DUCK:        (jumping to her webbed feet) “NO, NO, NO not mission “to” - - - - think UBUNTU!   Ask Alice”.

GUARD:              approaches DUCK while she demands, “Ask Alice!”  and makes her sit down and be quiet.

SHARON:               “We don’t have to ask Alice --I know what Alice needs.”

DUCK:              (up on her feet again) “Ask Alice!”

GUARD:               Guard again makes the duck sit down.

UNIT MEMBER: (probably one of the people with a letter) “Pssst!   Alice is here.  “

SHARON       (going to Alice): Oh, Alice, I’m so glad you are able to get out of your house to come here.  You really should get out more often.  (Patronizingly fixing her hair and straightening her dress).  You don’t have to thank me – I mean us.  We know how much you want your house painted.  There, there.

ALICE:        What makes you think I need my house painted?  There are other things more pressing to me.

SUE:               Maybe, the best way is to ask what is needed. 

DUCK:              “YES!  Ask Alice.”    (Clap with flippers)   “Right!”

SHARON:              Alice, we are going to paint your house.  Is that OK?

DUCK:              WRONG QUESTION!

ALICE:        If you really want to help me, my hot water heater is leaking and my son is in Afghanistan.

SHARON:        Whoops, Alice, I made a mistake - - - I assumed that you’d want your house painted and you really needed something else.   Please forgive me.  I didn’t know about  your son – and I didn’t know about the water heater.  I guess we never really talked about what was happening in your live. 

                              Let’s start all over again – ubuntu style – and talk some more about how we can help with that water heater situation.

Sue:            Now she’s thinking “ubuntu”!  (Going over to Sharon and Alice) Give us a “U”

Sharon and Alice:            “U”  (leading group)

Sue:            Give us a “B-U-N

Sharon and Alice:            “B-U-N” (leading group)

Sue:            Give us a “T-U”

Sharon and Alice:            “T-U” (leading group)

Sue:            Put it together, and what does it spell”  

EVERYONE:            U-BUN-TU      U-BUN-TU!        U-BUN-TU!


UBUNTU TREE IDEAS from District Meeting 4/21/12


·             Knit warm hats for the Homeless. Hats are distributed to homeless people in the Twin Cities.          See hats4thehomeless.blogspot.com ·             Great birthday activity for groups of any size. Plan a "Birthday Bag Blitz" where your group provides new small toys (or the funds to purchase them) and the group assembles toys into gift bags for less fortunate kids on their birthday. Visit www.cheerfulgivers.org for more info. ·             Catholic Eldercare http://www.catholiceldercare.org  We are looking for adults who are willing to be a part of our Palliative Care initiative. These volunteers would receive training to serve as visitors for our Palliative care residents. This is an excellent opportunity for volunteers who wish to establish a 1:1 relationship with a nursing home resident. The  goal of Palliative Care is to support the best possible quality of life for our residents regardless of the stage of disease or need for other therapies. ·             Catholic Eldercare http://www.catholiceldercare.org  Volunteers needed to do manicures which include: removing polish, soaking and filing nails and re-polishing.  ·             Agency Phone: (651)455-1560 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (651)455-1560      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Provide personal ride service to seniors who cannot easily use the Transit Link bus service. Seniors are living in Dakota County and need rides to various metro areas for their appointments. Mostly daytime to medical appointments. Flexible schedule. Project Contact Name: Barb Tiggemann Project Contact Email: barb.tiggemann@darts1.org Project Contact Phone: (651)455-1560 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (651)455-1560      end_of_the_skype_highlighting ·             DARTS http://www.darts1.org  Agency Phone: (651)455-1560 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (651)455-1560      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Engage in your community and help older Dakota County residents with their shopping needs. Many seniors find it challenging to read labels, reach for items, and pack groceries. Be their helper! ·             Sort and re-package bulk food items.  Contact Second Harvest Heartland http://www.2harvest.org   ·             Volunteer to help recent refugees with mock job interviews in their Job Readiness class. All training         materials are provided.          Contact Jennifer Pins at MCC Refugee Services (rsvolunteers@mnchurches.org) - upcoming           dates: May 2-3, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM.  ·             Learn about the resettlement process and how you can welcome a new refugee family. Job Readiness Mentors are especially needed. contact Jennifer Pins at MCC Refugee Services (rsvolunteers@mnchurches.org) - upcoming dates: May 10, 5:00-6:00 PM.  ·             Donate needed items to MCC Refugee Services: small dining tables with chairs, mixing bowls, Tupperware with matching lids. Call 612-230-3249 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              612-230-3249      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.  ·             Volunteer to help plant small trees and shrubs in Como Park near the Hamline and Arlington intersection! In an ongoing effort to remove buckthorn from the location, volunteer help is needed to replant the area with a mixture of native trees and shrubs. The Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Natural Resources Unit will be on hand to kickoff the event, provide training, and educate community members about the project. This is a fun family friendly event. Register at www.stpaul.gov/parks/environment  ·             Transportation Assistant (Age 18 +)Kinship of Greater Minneapolis http://www.kinship.orgThis is an ongoing activity, taking place Wednesday from 3:45Pm - 7:00Pm. Volunteers interested would be transporting children enrolled or on a waiting list for Kinship of Greater Minneapolis. Kinship is Faith Based Mentoring Organization serving 5 to 15 year old children, matching them with adult mentors 18+. This volunteer would submit a back ground criminal check (paid by Kinship) and be interviewed by Kinship director and case coordinator prior to transporting for the event. The children needing transportation reside in North Minneapolis, and need to arrive to Redeemer Lutheran at 1800 Glennwood Ave N between 4 and 4:45pm. The program last until 7pm, at which time the volunteer would return the child(ren) back to their home(s). Mileage is reimbursed by Kinship, at this time volunteer would have to provide own vehicle. Also Volunteer would need to provide proof of insurance and drivers license. This is a weekly reoccurring event, every Wednesday; a commitment for up to one month is preferred. Program last the entire academic year, long term volunteer requested, but not required. ·              Vision Loss Resources needs you to help a visually impaired person remain independent by reading with them in their home, for 1 to 2 hours once or twice a month. Materials ranging from mail to magazines, newsletters and newspapers. Flexible hours and reimbursement for travel expenses is available. Volunteers needed in the south and east metro. Contact 612-871-2222 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              612-871-2222      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or volunteer@vlrw.org ·             William Mitchell College of Law in St Paul needs volunteer jurors to participate in mock trials on April 20, 21, 24, or 25 or May 17 or 18. You will deliberate on a verdict, announce the verdict, and spend time with the judge and students critiquing the students. Starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at approximately 2:30. Lunch provided. Contact William Mitchell College of Law http://www.wmitchell.edu -almost all of these ideas came from Hands On Twin Cities. you can get a bunch of ideas there, too:www.handsontwincities.org ·             Contact your Neighborhood Associations to work with them on different projects that they have.  Usually they have some clean up or planting flowers...but it's getting out with people from your neighborhood  and working with them. ·             Tutor at a school.  Check with neighborhood schools and find out where there is a need. ·             Read to children at the local library ·             Read to a blind person. (I haven't checked with the Blind Association, but...) ·             Take on a shut-in of your own church and visit, find out if that person needs anything and try to help.  Maybe it's to help in their garden.