How to teach youth the concept of UBUNTU (Community vs Self Focus)

Danny Recio of the Bridge in Costa Rica and I have been speaking about differences between African and Western philosophies of adolescent development. One of the key points that came up is one of self focus vs. community focus. The concept of community focus is called Ubuntu. Here, an introduction by Nelson Mandela gives an exceptional detailed explanation of Ubuntu.

The South African phrase “I am because you are” is derived from the philosophy of Ubuntu. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of humanity and the belief that one’s identity and existence are deeply tied to the community and the relationships with others. Ubuntu promotes the idea that we are all interdependent, and that our actions and treatment of others shape our own humanity.

The western equivalent of the South African phrase “I am because you are” would be based in the concept of “no man is an island.” This phrase, often attributed to the English poet John Donne, expresses the idea that human beings are inherently social creatures and that our well-being and identity are connected to our relationships with others. It acknowledges the interdependence and interconnectedness of individuals within a community or society.

What the Bridge has to offer is the route to follow for developing young adults, particularly those stuck in controversy of self and their own meaning within community. I am pleased to be associated with such a strong community of supporters in Costa Rica, a place I have come to love after dozens of trips. Safe, vibrant, and compelling, young people simply do better when among Ticos (Costa Ricans). Let’s talk about how we can your young adult become a better community activist and find meaning within for their own self. Pura Vida! DrB