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Exploring African philosophy: The value of ubuntu in social work

Jacob Mugumbate
Andrew Nyanguru


This paper looks at the concept of ubuntu, how it has been applied in different fields and lessons that can be  drawn for the social work profession. Ubuntu can best be described as an African philosophy that places  emphasis on ‘being self through others’. It is a form of humanism which can be expressed in the phrases ‘I am  because of who we all are’ and ubuntu ngumuntu ngabantu in Zulu language. So far, it has been successfully  applied in theology, management and computer science. This paper concludes that its utilisation in these  disciplines makes it suitable for application in social work especially to enhance practice ethics, community  work and conduct in research. the paper was based on desk research.

KEY TERMS: ubuntu; African philosophy; social work; humanism