NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ776228
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 11
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0300-4430
Children's Understanding of "Ubuntu"
Bonn, Marta
Early Child Development and Care, v177 n8 p863-873 2007
The concept of "Ubuntu" has recently received a lot of attention in spite of the fact that there is no consensus about its meaning. African scholars have strived to attain a common meaning and English translation, and while they agree that it is typically and solely African, the closest some have come up with is "African humanism". A South African saying is frequently used to illustrate the core tenet of the ethics of "Ubuntu": "unumtu ngumumntu ngabantu", which translated into English means: "A person depends on others to be a person." The principles underlying the way of life proposed by "Ubuntu" are transferred from generation to generation through fables, sayings, proverbs and by tradition through the socialization of children in which the whole community is involved. Bearing in mind that traditional values may become diluted or lost during times of change and urbanization, 215 South African black children of two different age groups and from three geographical areas--rural, urban and semi-urban--were interviewed about their understanding of the concept of "Ubuntu". A content analysis of their responses refutes the belief that the traditional ethics of "Ubuntu" are disappearing with the changes taking place and the rise in urbanization. While the replies of the children sometimes reflected the prominence of those facets of "Ubuntu" which might have had more significance in their specific milieu and age, perhaps denoting that the community selected views of "Ubuntu" which made more sense to them, from the results of this study, it can be said that "Ubuntu" is still alive and thriving as far as these children were concerned. (Contains 3 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A