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ubuntu, noun

Forms:
Also buntu, uBuntu, and with initial capital.
Origin:
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu, ‘humanity’, ‘goodness’; formed on the noun stem -ntu, used to form words related to humans.
a. Human-heartedness, compassion; the qualities embodying the values and virtues of essential humanity, or of Africanness; botho sense a. Also attributive.
1926 G. Callaway Fellowship of Veld 25To the Native the qualities which go to make up ubuntu, the qualities which make an umntu (person), are largely social.
1994 K. Mkhize in Natal Witness 28 Dec. 8Trust is the main axle in the wheel of Ubuntu.
b. comb.
ubuntu-botho [Xhosa and Zulu ubuntu + Sotho botho, both words having the same sense], ‘human-heartedness’; the name given to a non-examination subject in KwaZulu schools. Also attributive.
1987 King G. Zwelithini in S. Afr. Panorama May 24We Black people of South Africa regard Ubuntu, or Botho in Sotho, as our highest ideal. Ubuntu/Botho is almost synonomous [sic] with humanism.
1991 D. Mattera in Pace Feb. 32I write to encourage compassion, empathy and humanism (ubuntu/botho)...I believe I am a humanist poet.
Human-heartedness, compassion; the qualities embodying the values and virtues of essential humanity, or of Africanness; bothoa. Also attributive.
Derivatives:
Hence (nonce) ubuntuize transitive verb, to infuse (something) with the qualities of ubuntu; ubuntuism noun, the philosophy of ubuntu.
1988 L.J. Sebidi in Sunday Times 27 Nov.Put differently, ubuntu is some kind of humanism — African humanism. Shall we call it ubuntuism for lack of a more appropriate word?
1994 K. Mkhize in Natal Witness 28 Dec. 8Is it possible to decommercialise Christmas and Ubuntuise it for mankind?

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19261994

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