By Bonny Ibhawoh,

I feel compelled to remind my friends, colleagues and students that Ubuntu is not just an open-source computer operating system. Even more important than the operating system is the original meaning of the term.

Ubuntu is a African humanist and ethical philosophy which affirms people’s interdependence and relations with each other. The essence of Ubuntu is captured in the following quotes.
“A person is a person through (other) persons”
— African Proverb.
“Ubuntu is to say, ‘my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’ We belong to a family bundle.”
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

My neighbour and I have the same origins / We have the same life-experience and a common destiny / We are the obverse and reverse sides of one entity /We are unchanging equals /We are the faces which see themselves in each other / We are mutually fulfilling compliments / We are simultaneously legitimate values… /I am sovereign of my life / My neighbour is sovereign of his life; Society is a collective sovereignty /It exists to ensure that my neighbour and I realize the promise of being human.

—Zulu aphorism.