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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle endorsed a book by Desmond Tutu & # 39; s granddaughter entitled & # 39; Everyday Ubuntu & # 39; ... so what is this African philosophy?

You will be forgiven for having never heard of it – but since Meghan spoke of "ubuntu" during the royal visit to South Africa, it is fair to say that more than a little interest has been aroused for this African philosophy .

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During their first engagement just outside of Cape Town, Meghan told the crowd: "Thank you very much for showing my husband and I the spirit of ubuntu," while the world raised a questioning eyebrow.

Later, after drinking tea with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, she and baby Archie posed for a photo in which Harry waved a book entitled Everyday Ubuntu.

Written by Tutu's granddaughter, Mungi Ngomane (who has tattooed the word on her wrist), the book appeared in the UK last week. Her publishers could not have received more high-profile approval.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle endorsed a book by Desmond Tutu & # 39; s granddaughter entitled & # 39; Everyday Ubuntu & # 39; ... so what is this African philosophy?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle endorsed a book by Desmond Tutu & # 39; s granddaughter entitled & # 39; Everyday Ubuntu & # 39; … so what is this African philosophy?

SO WHAT IS UBUNTU EXACTLY?

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Ubuntu is a philosophy that believes in a universal human bond, summarized by the words: & # 39; I am only because you are & # 39 ;.

If you are able to see everyone as fully human, connected to you through their humanity, you will never be able to treat others as disposable or without value. In other words, very similar to the Bible "Do others the way you want them to do you."

In today's chaotic world, proponents say that the core values ​​of kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, and the power of listening have never been so relevant. The message is that when we come together, we can overcome our differences and our problems.

South African philosophy, Ubuntu, which comes from the apartheid period, teaches that all humanity is united. (Pictured: Desmond Tutu with Meghan Markle and baby Archie in Cape Town, South Africa)

South African philosophy, Ubuntu, which comes from the apartheid period, teaches that all humanity is united. (Pictured: Desmond Tutu with Meghan Markle and baby Archie in Cape Town, South Africa)

South African philosophy, Ubuntu, which comes from the apartheid period, teaches that all humanity is united. (Pictured: Desmond Tutu with Meghan Markle and baby Archie in Cape Town, South Africa)

But ubuntu is more than just the new hygiene (the Danish craze for socializing): the principles stem from South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle.

Meghan is also not the first A-lister to subscribe to ubuntu. In the eulogy of Barack Obama to Nelson Mandela in 2013, he referred to the way the former president embodied & # 39; ubuntu & # 39 ;; and Madonna used the English translation of philosophy for the title of her 2008 documentary, I Am While We Are, about Malawi orphans.

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Desmond Tutu, who saw some of the darkest days of the apartheid regime, has certainly embraced philosophy in his life and work. And his influence on his granddaughter is clear. Her book is not only based on his enduring philosophy, it contains the following important lessons that are built on ubuntu. . .

FORGET & # 39; SELF-CARE & # 39; – SEE THE BIGGER IMAGE

Go to a bookstore and you will find shelves that are filled with manuals for self-help. But ubuntu is about looking beyond ourselves.

"We are told to meditate and think; to look for answers in ourselves, & Mungi writes. But although there is a place for "self-examination," ubuntu "also learns to look outside of ourselves to find answers. It's about seeing the bigger picture; the other side of the story. & # 39;

She adds that while we have learned to appreciate competition and solo performance, comparing ourselves with others often leads to a "feeling of not being enough."

The Duchess of Sussex is sitting on the floor when she visits the charity mothers2mothers (m2m) in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday. Ubuntu as a philosophy also teaches us not to compare ourselves too much with others
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The Duchess of Sussex is sitting on the floor when she visits the charity mothers2mothers (m2m) in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday. Ubuntu as a philosophy also teaches us not to compare ourselves too much with others

The Duchess of Sussex is sitting on the floor when she visits the charity mothers2mothers (m2m) in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday. Ubuntu as a philosophy also teaches us not to compare ourselves too much with others

Focusing on being just who we are thanks to others – parents, teachers, friends, loved ones – helps to spread this competitiveness. "Every interaction has brought us to where we are now." And if we embrace our connection with others, we can do nothing more. As an African saying goes: & # 39; If you think you're too small to make a difference, you didn't spend the night with a mosquito. & # 39;

Will recycling one piece of waste have so much impact if you see so much other waste on the street? What about voting? Someone else will do it, right?

"Sometimes it is easy to think that our input does not affect a situation, but such a vision can make us feel useless and lost," writes Mungi. "When it comes to ubuntu, we all count and that includes everything we do."

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LEARN YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF OTHERS

Mungi says that one of the many lessons that her grandparents have passed on has always been to consider the other side of the argument. & # 39; For my mother, it meant that I could see the position of people living on the other side of one of the world's most oppressive regimes, "she writes. In Soweto in Johannesburg, Mungi's mother witnessed the suppression of black people. & # 39; Instead of condemning white people, Mom asked herself: & # 39; Would I stand up against apartheid if I was white? & # 39;

"She saw white privilege for what it was – unjust and inhuman – but also understood how easy it should be to accept it as a norm if you are constantly socialized to believe in white supremacy.

"In the same situation, most of us would not want to give up or question our privilege because it would simply not be in our interest to do so.

"The most important question is always this: what would you do in the same circumstances?"

Have a great time! Meghan beamed while she danced with local girls in Nyanga on Monday
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Have a great time! Meghan beamed while she danced with local girls in Nyanga on Monday

Meghan chuckles while being made to dance with local entertainers

Meghan chuckles while being made to dance with local entertainers

Have a great time! Meghan beamed while she danced with local girls on Monday in Nyanga, Cape Town. Ubuntu also teaches that forgiveness can return our dignity

THE POWER OF THE F-WORD

It is hard to forgive, but ubuntu teaches that forgiveness can give us back our dignity. Desmond Tutu once said: & # 39; If you want peace, do not talk to your friends, but to your enemies. & # 39; Talking to people with opposite views is what the Tutu Foundation, launched in the UK in 2007, encourages people to do, and the concept is even used by the Metropolitan Police in the fight against knife crime. The Ubuntu Round Tables Project brings young people and local police together to promote trust on both sides.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR GOOD USE

Much has been said about the ills of social media, but Mungi writes that it can serve a positive purpose. Although "the digital revolution has diminished our ability to see other people in real life," it has broadened the definition of "community."

"We are more connected and can share information faster than ever before in human history. Millions have posted photos online to show solidarity with cities such as Paris, which have been hit by terror campaigns, says Mungi. & # 39; The most important thing is that it says loud and clear: & # 39; We are a. & # 39;

… AND Finally, LEARN LAUGH!

Mungi says there is no better way to feel ubuntu than through the power of laughter. "Learning to laugh despite the difficulties we all face is a secret force of every person."

  • Everyday Ubuntu: Living Better Together The African Way by Mungi Ngomane (£ 12.99, Transworld)
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