Everyday Ubuntu with Mungi Ngomane & Evelyn Davies

In a recent interview, HEP leadership consultant Evelyn Davies sat down on Zoom with Mungi Ngomane, author of the book Everyday Ubuntu: Living Better Together, the African Way. Mungi is an author, speaker and human rights activist; she also hails from an important South African family – she is the granddaughter of Desmond Tutu. Desmond Tutu was a bishop and anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for “his role as a unifying leader figure in the non-violent campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa.” But although Mungi mentions her grandfather in the interview, her focus is the concept of Ubuntu, a complex idea that roughly translates into “I am because we are,” and relates to society being the source of humanity.

The basis of Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a fascinating concept to explore, especially when related to schools and education. Evelyn shares how her school’s culture was impacted as well as how she was personally influenced by the philosophy. As Mungi mentions, Ubuntu begins with a basis of dignity and respect for all humans – “When you sit down and truly respect yourself, it’s hard to then see other people being disrespected, or for yourself to engage in disrespecting or harming others, because we are all interconnected.”

“I am because we are”

That interconnectedness is the core of the philosophy of Ubuntu. It’s not only about realising that because we are all interconnected, we should respect others; it’s also about being kind to yourself. When your self feels dignified, it affirms your place within society and prompts you to treat others with the respect they deserve.

Ubuntu at school

There are many ways in which the philosophy of Ubuntu can translate into education, so have a listen to Mungi’s ideas and consider how Ubuntu might positively change your school or classroom. Listen to the HEP Talks podcast now on Spotify, Apple, or Google!

About the Author:

Luke Kemper

Luke Kemper is Insight and Intelligence Lead at HEP. He recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Education, Globalisation and International Development. Before that, he worked for seven years as a university lecturer and high school teacher in China and Poland.

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The voice of Haringey Education Partnership. A weekly briefing on the latest stories in education news, deep diving into developments and interviews with leading voices in Education.

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