Ubuntu is a Bantu term that means “humanity”. When expanded, the term often translates to “I am because we are” or “humanity towards others”. Philosophically, Xhosa, a Bantu-speaking community in southern Africa, uses the term to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.
Other tribes and communities use the term to mean “universal truth and a way of life [and] a concept of an open society”.
When asked about the Ubuntu philosophy during the launch of Ubuntu Linux, Nelson Mandela said:
In the old days, when we were young, a traveller through our 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’s one aspect of Ubuntu, but there are various other aspects.Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela added that “Ubuntu does not mean that people should not address themselves, the question, therefore, is, are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve. These are the important things in life, and if one can do that, you’ve done something very important that should be appreciated.”
In conclusion, Ubuntu philosophy entails respect, helpfulness, sharing, community, caring, trust, unselfishness, among other related terms.