In The Mirror Game: Ubuntu Philosophy and Umbundu


The Epistemologies of the South awaken our reflection to knowledge and practices of the traditional African culture which have been silenced in the historical unfolding. Such is the case of Ubuntu. In this philosophy of life, we have an existence which is only an existence because there are other existences. In this culture, which has an almost endless capacity for seeking consensus and reconciliation, a shift has taken place from an excluding notion of identity “I am because you are not” to an inclusive notion “I am because we are, and because we are then I am”. In this sense, we formulate as starting question to know how the concerns contained in the Ubuntu philosophy find expression in the oral heritage of Umbundu, given that they belong to the same linguistic matrix of Bantu. As core goal of this study we highlight: to interpret how Umbundu has integrated, preserved and disseminated the principles of the Ubuntu philosophy of life. We selected as sources of this research elements of the oral heritage (folk songs, folk poetry, proverbs, lullabies, chants). The methodology used focuses on the analysis of the structuring principles of the Ubuntu philosophy: 1) to live at peace with oneself (relation with self); 2) to live at peace with the other (relation with the others); and 3) to live in harmony with nature and the cosmos (relation with the universe). The findings of our research have led us to conclude that principles can be found in the oral heritage of Umbundu that have helped perpetuate and disseminate the Ubuntu philosophy. So, the oral heritage of Umbundu has contributed to renew the spirit of solidarity and the spirit of belonging to the universe and to the human community, through the belief that everything in the universe exists in full connection.

Authors and Affiliations

José Viegas Brás, 2Maria Neves Gonçalves, 3Joana Quinta


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  • EP ID EP691980
  • DOI 10.47191/ijmra/v3-i12-18
  • Views 110
  • Downloads 0

How To Cite

José Viegas Brás, 2Maria Neves Gonçalves, 3Joana Quinta (2020). In The Mirror Game: Ubuntu Philosophy and Umbundu. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Analysis, 3(18), -.