Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ubuntu BlogHop

Congratulations to Michelle Wallace who is celebrating her 3rd blogoversary and has asked us to join her in the Ubuntu blog hop 18th – 21stFebruary: what a wonderful way to spring forwards in 2014.

U is for Ubuntu ... a Xhosa word, simply:  I am; because of you     or      I am what I am because of who we all are.

L is for Londolozi ... a Zulu word meaning ‘Protector of All Living Things’.

c/o Londolozi

When I posted my A –Z tribute to Nelson Mandela in December ... I noted during the Memorial address that President Obama, with his African roots, described how Nelson Mandela had come to embrace the philosophy of 'Ubuntu' ... human kindness ...

... various journalists highlighted the word ‘Ubuntu’ ... implying that it was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who had brought the concept to the world’s attention.

However I have found this absolutely fascinating TED talk and article given by the owner of Londolozi, whose family had named the game reserve after the Zulu word: Protector of All Living Things.

I have yet to listen to and watch the TED talk but know that I will ... there is so much evocativeness in Africa ...

Going back to Boyd Varty’s TED Women 2013 talk ... the accompanying article gave us relevant paragraphs on Ubuntu, with some amazing links:

The history  ...  its early use in print, was in 1846

Desmond Tutu’s take ... (early 90s)

Nelson Mandela’s take ... (2006)

Bill Clinton’s take ...  (2007 TED prize winner)

Ubuntu, the operating system ... who knew?!

Ubuntu in basketball ... again who knew?!

Ubuntu to turn back climate change?  This paragraph is well worth reading ... (2012)

I heard Ray Stevens’ song “Everything is Beautiful” yesterday and thought yes – a good Ubuntu song ... enjoy.

Please see Michelle’s post 1095 days for all the Ubuntu bloghoppers ... which reminds me of the wonderful little Lily Trotter bird!

In myA-Z for Mandela, I also used C for Colossus and Courageous: the man who united rich and poor, black and white, and in the process of leadership, since his release, has taught the human race the power of forgiveness.

Now I add two more letters:  P for Protector of All Living Things ...

and H for Human Impact on the Environment

... all inspired by the word Ubuntu ... 

Please think on and remember these things ... thanks Michelle ... 

... and enjoy the TED Talk and article

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


  1. A fascinating concept Hilary, I hadn't heard of Ubuntu until this week. Or, I hadn't let it register with me may be more accurate. It is such an important idea with particular reference to the animals being slaughtered for profit, particularly the elephants and rhinos. There are many organisations to look after humans, there are not nearly as many to look after the welfare of animals.

  2. It's a lovely inspiring and profound word!! Thanks for this wonderful post and link to the TED talk! take care

  3. While it’s true that Africa is a harsh place, I also know it to be a place whose people, animals and ecosystems teach us about a more interconnected world . . .

    Some of the nicest, most tranquil people I've ever met live in Africa. So many times, in spite of much hardship -- when I wondered how they managed -- it was ubuntu that got them through it. In Nairobi, one can trim a tree on one's property but one can't chop it down without permission, a law the people wanted. They recognized the damage the search for wood/coal for the jiko (cooker) creates. More of us in the West need to realize that we humans are in partnership with Nature and respect that partnership.

  4. Loved my visit to Africa last summer!

    Thanks for linking to the TED talk...I'll look forward to watching that. :)

  5. I just finished watching the TED talk video with Boyd and it was great. I've watched several videos that talk about ubuntu and I truly love this philosophy, this way of life. I'm glad Michelle highlighted the Ubuntu theme in her bloghop.

  6. Not a word I had heard before visiting your blog today. Another very interesting and informative post, Hilary.

  7. I hadn't heard of Ubuntu before. What a good word.

    I think we all are what we are because of the people around us and how we react to them and what they do.

  8. The power of a close knit community is a formidable force. It fits the philosophy behind Ubuntu--
    "I am what I am because of who we all are."

    It looks to strengthen and bolster, care for and looks for the good of the group. Human kindness or the word and concept I was brought up with, loving kindness. People tend to gravitate toward those who are loving and kind.

    I like the word londolozi. I do believe we are (or should be) the protector of all living things.

    Good article, Hilary. :-)

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  9. A most excellent concept. I love learning something new every day!

  10. @ Jo - I picked it up in the Memorial articles to Mandela and haven't forgotten the word since.

    It's particularly appropriate to all animals and the earth where they are not given respect, usually sadly by peoples who don't think, or who don't know how to think and appreciate that we all need each component part of life ...

    @ Old Kitty - it is an inspiring word .. and I'm pleased you'll enjoy the TED talk ..

    @ Kittie - you are so right about Africa teaching us much ...

    I didn't know about getting permission to cut down a tree - that's a great introduction by the people of Nairobi ... very interesting.

    As you mention they live in harmony, even in acute poverty .. and we in the West do need to remember that we are in partnership with Nature and respect it accordingly ... so so true - thanks for this great comment.

    @ Elizabeth - it's so good to know you loved your Africa trip so much .. and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading the article and then watching the TED talk ...

    @ Elise - I still have to watch, but I will! Ubuntu or similar type philosophical ideas spring up and catch my attention - and yes, like you, I'm glad Michelle highlighted Ubuntu ..

    @ Suzanne - ah well I'm glad I've raised your awareness .. it's a fascinating concept ..

    @ Patsy - a good word for you word posts? I think it covers more than just us ... especially if you check the TED article .. the last paragraph about climate change makes so much sense ..

    @ Sia - you've pointed out and summarised much of my post here ... it's good to have another point of view ..

    I just was fascinated by what I found via the TED talk .. coincidence I looked for more on Ubuntu, I guess ..

    Thanks Sia for the thumbs up ...

    @ Bish - it just looks at life differently doesn't it ..

    Thanks everyone - Michelle has really opened our eyes to re-look at this concept ..

    Cheers Hilary

  11. Strangely enough, I'd heard of Ubuntu the operating system, but had no idea what the word meant!

  12. As always you've taken a concept, and completely embraced it, Hilary! You've given several shining examples of Ubuntu, including the song Everything Is Beautiful. Actually you've done more than write about Ubuntu, you live it everyday.


  13. Hilary, I didn't know any of this. Thank you for the information. It's a wonderful concept, magical when it's practiced. and I'm grateful to Michelle for using it as a theme to celebrate her blogoversary.


  14. That's a lot of history on one word. I did know it was an operating system. Wonder if the designers intended the same meaning?

  15. Hi Anne - the paragraph on the operating system in the TED article makes fascinating reading ..

    @ Julie - I was just so glad to find out about the TED talk and article ...

    Thankyou .. I usually manage quite well - getting better I hope, but like Mandela I'm not perfect!

    @ Robyn - yes I was really glad when I saw Michelle's bloghop and I joined immediately ... it's such an interesting concept .. and I love others' posts ...

    @ Alex - I added in the paragraph explaining the Ubuntu system into another comment on your recent post .. the designers did take the name from the original concept ..

    Cheers to you all - Hilary

  16. You have some very nice quotes listed above. Thanks for sharing them.

  17. Thank you for this in-depth Ubuntu post, Hilary. People often have preconceived ideas and misconceptions about Africa. Your post reveals its special beauty and sensitivity...

    I quote Varty: "In a more collective society, we realize from the inside that our own well being is deeply tied to the well being of others. Danger is shared. Pain is shared. Joy is shared. Achievement is shared. Houses are shared. Food is shared. Ubuntu asks us to open our hearts and to share,..."

    I especially enjoyed the TED talk by Boyd Varty. It's amazing. I've also learned quite a few new things from your post.
    And it seems like the Ubuntu concept is catching on... and spreading all over... that's a good thing.
    Thank you for participating in the blog hop.

  18. I've never heard of this before. What a fascinating post, Hilary. I really must get out more.


  19. Until Michelle's blogfest, I'd never heard of it either. And it's only been around 150 years!

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu - I won't even tell you the image that pops into my head.

  20. I hadn't heard of this word until this post. Once again, I always learn so much from your blog :)

  21. It's amazing what you find on TED, isn't it? Thanks for expanding on Ubuntu. And who is more inspirational these days than Nelson Mandela. Great post as always, Hilary.

  22. Lovely post again, Hilary! TED is fantastic. I find a lot of very inspiring stuff on their talks, and yes, Nelson Mandela was such an inspiration too.

  23. @ Lady Lilith - many thanks

    @ Michelle - I'm glad I found out more about Ubuntu .. and yes Africa does have so much to offer .. I loved my time staying there ..

    Re Varty - I will watch the TED talk today .. but your quote you've given us ... is just the truth and things we should all be sharing and helping others .. that collective society ...

    TED talks are always amazing .. and I'm looking forward to hearing Boyd Varty's vision .. that Ubuntu philosophy he'll no doubt expand on .. earth life is so critical to humans ..

    Pleasure I've enjoyed being a part of your blog hop ...

    @ Janie - I hope you watch the TED talk .. that will give you a chance to feel Africa ..

    @ Diane - Ubuntu was known in Africa, but now as a concept it is spreading out fast - sometimes in other guises: Malala being one such personage.

    I can't imagine the image you've got in your head for Archbishop Desmond Tutu .. he certainly gesticulated a great deal ... ?!

    @ Keith - thanks: I'm just glad more of us are 'taking it in' and are aware of its wonderful philosophy ...

    @ Denise - TED is quite extraordinary in its depth .. in fact I'm not even sure where this particular TED talk was given, or which continent ..

    Mandela has brought much out into the open for us to contemplate and think about .. he's opened societies out across the continents ...

    @ Val - I think many of us enjoy the TED talks .. I'm looking forward to listening to this particular one .... I do love Africa and what it has to offer ..

    Cheers to you all - Michelle's bloghop is being a brilliant success .. Hilary

  24. Hi, Hilary,

    I'll be swinging by in April for your Mandela writings.

    Didn't know about Ubuntu in terms of basketball and computer programming before this hop.

    I learn something new everyday. Enjoyed the song, Everything is Beautiful during my childhood. Gonna look that up on Youtube. Hard to remember I can find just about anything there.

  25. inspirational! and i love that you alphabetized your tribute!
    so happy for michelle & her positive way of celebrating!

    looking forward to a to z

  26. Without each other, we lose sight of who we really are. Beautiful post as usual, Hilary :)

  27. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face after watching the TED video with Boyd Varty. The story of truly does capture what you wrote about Ubuntu...what a beautiful term and I see how Africa would capture it so well, but hopefully this video and posts, like yours, will pass on the word and it's meaning.

    BTW I laughed at Mr. Varty joking about Mandela stay at his family's preserve and how lions are a good deterrent to the press:~)

    Thanks for sharing this Hilary. I will never regret watching and listening to that video. It was worth every minute of it.


  28. Beautifully said. Up until today, I only knew ubuntu as a free operating system.

  29. @ JL - my April A-Z will have a different theme, the Mandela A-Z was just one post about him that I wrote in December.

    I found those two points about Ubuntu interesting additions .. to my limited knowledge about Ubuntu.

    Thanks re the song ... Everything is Beautiful ... has been used so often, yet is so evocative ..

    @ Tara - thanks so much - Michelle's bloghop idea is such a good way of us all appreciating the concept of Ubuntu ..

    We all have such varied themes for the A-Z .. April is fun ..

    @ MJ - without each other and without our world we could lose sight of who we are .. I agree

    @ Sara - I have now watched the TED talk .. it's an amazing heart-rending and thought provoking talk isn't it ...

    ... Elvis - such an important ideal here ... we all need to do this ...

    ... then Mandela - learning that little extra of how he coped on his release ... and the lions: yes!

    Delighted you appreciated the video - hearing words from the heart are so necessary for us to have a chance to listen to ..

    @ Holly - interesting that people have heard of the free Ubuntu operating system .. developed by a South African

    Thanks so much to you all for your comments ... and thoughts on Ubuntu .. Hilary

  30. As always, a very interesting post. I just learned about this on another blog and I think you did a fabulous job.

  31. Gosh. How proudly (South) African I am when I read your posts Hilary. And this one in particular, UBUNTU, a word that has been so much part of our lives for so long, it's part of our souls. SO great to see it being adopted by the rest of the world.

    Judy Croome, South Africa

  32. Loved reading about Ubuntu. What a beautiful word, what a beautiful thought it expresses.

    I wrote a tribute to Mandela, but never posted it. Maybe I'll do that. You've inspired me--AGAIN!

    I'll be sure to wish Michelle well on her anniversary.

  33. I was originally familiar with the word Ubuntu in relation to computers long before I heard about its "real meaning" when reading about Mandela. It's one of those words that just feels right in my mouth, and makes me smile when I say it or hear it. And its "real meaning" is uplifting and reassuring, and oh-so omnipresent around us, if we only take the time to be aware. Better yet, though, is when we can be sources of it ourselves.

  34. Thanks Hilary - I'm looking forward to reading the TED article.

  35. @ Inger - thanks ... Michelle Wallace has had a blog-hop going on this week .. I was just delighted to be able to join in - as I felt an affinity with Ubuntu, after my A-Z posting for Mandela after his death in December.

    @ Judy - thanks so much .. there's been another TED posting on Elise Fallson's blog .. fascinating to see another take on Ubuntu.

    It is part of Africa's soul .. and perhaps you've added another dimension to our thinking of Ubuntu ...

    It's wonderful to see so much written about Ubuntu .. and its philosophical concept ..

    @ Lee - isn't such a wonderful idea and thought provoking too ..

    That's great I look forward to reading your tribute to Mandela .. glad you're going to do it now ...

    Also good that you're going over to Michelle for her blog-hop ..

    @ Susan - it's funny how many people have heard of the Ubuntu computer open source system ...

    It's been interesting reading about Ubuntu - the philosophical concept - reaching out beyond into the populace ... just glad we're helping spread those ideals out to others ...

    It is uplifting and reassuring and oh so omnipresent around us ... as you say ... if only we take the time to be aware.

    Much better as you suggest: we are the source ... we can influence others ..

    @ Lynn - I'm sure you'll enjoy the talk and the article .. have fun watching ..

    Cheers to you all - and thanks so much for your comments - Hilary

  36. This post is truly i just said on Denis Covey's blog, i am really enjoying following the different international contributions to this word...philosophy, which by the way is from my lanuage (XHOSA) and Bishop TuTu who brought it media fame most certainly is from my tribe....

    Oh and before i go...would you and your readers consider joining my hop here,
    No need to do anything other than a little post on the day.....I would really appreciate your participation...Greetings from Johannesburg, SA:

    Wendy @ Join This Hop

  37. That one word contains so much. It's fun to say too! :) Have a lovely weekend.

  38. The very first time I heard this term was when I was 13 and a very, black man came from Kenya to study to become a Bishop and he was invited to stay at our house by my Canadian Immigrant parents. This man also studied my father's work with gifted and challenges students. He used the terms frequently in his speeches.
    Our neighbors were not kind and for that year garbage was dumped at our home, bottles thrown and eggs...and it was the final straw for most of the youths I thought were friends. I lost my 2 babysitting jobs. But I learned so much about kindness and nonviolence and that year has served me well for 50 years.
    Thank you for sharing these ideas again and again. I need to remember kindness as we work to keep women's health available and public schools are under attack and our Congress plays games with Oily money.
    Thank you for sharing - as always your words are a gift

  39. @ Wendy - good to see you here, and hasn't Michelle's blog-hop been a great idea; Xhosa is an interesting language ... and through the life of Nelson Mandela we've learnt much more.

    @ Christine - Ubuntu encompasses so much as you say ...

    @ Patricia - sounds like a difficult time when your Kenyan trainee Bishop was staying. Ubuntu is a word we should all keep in mind isn't it .. and make sure we practise the philosophy ..

    Thanks - have good weekends - Hilary

  40. This is my first time hearing of it, and it seems to have been a buzz word for awhile!! And LOL at the Ray Stevens reference. My gran used to love that song, I haven't thought of it for years. Happy song, that one, w/a great message!

  41. Thank you Hilary - I'm looking forward to reading the TED's posts.


    Short Poems

  42. Beautiful reflections, Hilary, and thank you for bringing Ubuntu to my attention. I will remember this word.

  43. Wow, you really did some research didn't you? I'll have to come back to this pot when I have more time to follow your links and so on. :)

  44. @ Rosey - the philosophical concept of Ubuntu seems to have been taken up much more since Nelson Mandela's release from prison ..

    The song has been covered many times hasn't it - encouraging us all to remember 'Everything is Beautiful' ..

    @ Marinela .. glad you'll look at the TED video and article ..

    @ Juliet - the Xhosa word, I know you appreciate the spiritual mother earth, and will continue to apply the concept in your own life, as you do ...

    @ Trisha - many thanks - finding the TED video and article made my life easier .. enjoy them when you get a chance to come back ..

    Cheers to you all .. Hilary

  45. I checked out the TED video. Thanks for highlighting it. I also learnt a thing or two from it and your post about how people perceive ubuntu. Thanks.

  46. Hi Hilary, At last I have found my way back to you. Thank you once again for such a wonderful posting.

    Please do check out my new blog. I have added you to my list so I can keep up-to-date with your posting.

  47. Hi, Hilary,

    What a wonderful tribute to Ubuntu.... So many interesting references. Well done.

    I hope you are well and the weather is milder in England.

    i got a chance to escape the cold for a few weeks. coming to Florida. So sunny and warm today. YAY! Still healing from the eye surgery, but I had to come around and read the Ubuntu tributes....

  48. I'm impressed that the word Ubuntu inspired all of that! Nicely done!

  49. Thank you for expanding more on this fascinating ideal, Hilary! I've just recently been exposed to Ubuntu, and it's made its mark for years to come:)
    Ubuntu Spirit of the Blue Swallow

  50. @ Damaria - so pleased you enjoyed the Londolozi TED talk and found the accompanying article interesting ..

    @ Paula - thanks for the visit

    @ Michael - Lovely to see you here .. and I was glad to see your trip to Florida for eye surgery had gone well ... look after your eyes ... and long may they heal completely.

    Glad you've enjoyed the Ubuntu tributes .. they've been fascinating ..

    @ Sherry - I'm pleased Ubuntu is escaping out of Africa, to impact I hope on so many ... it's such a brilliant philosophy ...

    @ Sam - the participants have given us so many different approaches ... I've loved reading them - while your African tale is very evocative of Africa's red earth ..

    Thanks to you all - may we practise Ubuntu in our lives .. Hilary

  51. As sporadic as my timing can be it seems it is perfect. I have discussed your 'Eddie Izzard' post with many people and was pleased to see more information here today. Will be heading over to your Mandela tribute now.

  52. Hi Ida .. good to see you again .. interesting you've been discussing my Eddie Izzard posts with others .. that's great ...

    The Ubuntu blog hop has been fascinating ... I hope you enjoy my Mandela take late last year ..

    Then my next post continues on re the Back to Africa, human migration and again mentioning Eddie Izzard ..

    Cheers to you and glad you're doing the A-Z .. Hilary

  53. Another great post, Hilary. My sister just returned from South Africa (on a small tour), and who should be sitting behind her on the trip back to NYC but Desmond Tutu? Sean, my brother-in-law helped him with his overhead luggage and Archbishop Tutu gave him a spiritual pass, but "not to be used right away,"--such a sense of humor!

  54. Hi Tasha .. oh I am jealous of your sister's tour of SA. How interesting that Desmond Tutu should be sitting behind them and that your BIL helped him with his overhead luggage ..

    .. the the 'spiritual pass': what a great way of connecting and such fun to have "not to be used right away" .. just love it! I gather he does have a wicked sense of humour ..

    Thanks for letting me know - and I hope you'll give us some insights into your sister's time in SA? Please!

    Cheers Hilary

  55. I love your brain, Hilary! I always learn so much when I come to your blog!

  56. Hi Betty - how lovely that you came back to read: thank you! I expect your kids will benefit from some of the Ubuntu wisdom ...

    Cheers and so pleased you were here! Hilary

  57. Hello Hilary

    It's so great that you have raised and spread awareness of this African word/philosophy.

    To me it means "treat with respect" all things that are around you and most especially people - no matter their station in life, belief system or ethnic origin.

    I remember well being made ultra aware of how black South Africans (mostly) live this concept, and how I should do too, whilst working for a big "corporate" in Johannesburg way back in 1998.

    In my experience to that date, when getting into the lift with a mixed bag of people, ranging from an executive to a cleaning lady, everyone stood in silence and greetings were avoided.

    This started changing as more and more of those executives and managers in the lift were black. All other occupants of the lift were greeted politely and their health, family etc. were politely asked after. This happened between the CEO and the cleaning lady, or just between colleagues....

    It epitomised "ubuntu" for me......

    I try my best to live life with ubuntu :)

  58. Hi Sue - so good to see you ... and to have a southern African thought on Ubuntu.

    You've really added to the conversation ... "treat with respect" is a really good phrase - and one we should all remember ...

    Your examples too are so useful and apposite ... and you're right we should all try and live with Ubuntu in our hearts, minds and souls ...

    Many thanks - it's a great comment .. cheers Hilary

  59. Hi Hilary,
    Tried to comment when I first found this but had problems with the dropdown box.) Beautiful word, thought provoking article, amazing eclectic blog! What a born educator you are!

  60. Hi Janice .. sorry only just rescued this out of 'waiting to be moderated' folder for some reason ..

    Thanks so much for coming by - so delighted you enjoyed the post so much - Michelle's idea was a great one and it stimulated quite a lot of discussion via the other bloggers too ..

    Lovely to see you back .. cheers Hilary