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What Ubuntu Means to Us

“I am because you are”, says the ancient African proverb. In Zulu, the full expression is “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” – summarised simply as Ubuntu, or “humanity”.


The proverb’s history spans back to the mid-19th century. Ubuntu was widely referred to as a human characteristic at this time, but as times shifted, it took on a life of its own as a way of being and acting. 


The profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others,” said Nelson Mandela, highlighting the fundamental application of Ubuntu. 


Generation Success lives by ubuntu. All of our actions are an expression of this mantra. 


We believe in equal opportunities, and in true altruism, because we embrace that this generation’s success is a matter of our collective success.


Ubuntu is our unity. It’s finding joy and fulfilment with your community. We share our achievements and understand that there is no limitation between “I” and “us” – not really, at least.


For organisations like ours, Ubuntu works. Despite this, the philosophy has gotten a great deal of backlash throughout the years. Particularly in South Africa, a number of politicians have taken hold of the benefits in propagating Ubuntu following the abolition of apartheid. The misuse of Ubuntu as a ploy on moralising the public is still frowned upon.


“… they fit traditional, small-scale culture more than a modern, industrial society,” said Thaddeus Metz, a philosophy professor at the University of Johannesburg. 


Prof. Metz refers to the intimacy of sharing a community and being one. This literal understanding of Ubuntu is a crucial starting point to understanding the foundation of living by Ubuntu. 


Ultimately, Generation Success wishes to sit back and watch as a ripple effect takes place. We aspire toward equality and unity. And we are who we are because of who we all are – not just in our organisation, but everywhere. 

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