The Meaning of Ubuntu Shared in Siberia

18 April 2024

Galina Ermolina, former coordinator of Euro-Asia CC living in Novosibirsk Siberia offered a profound story exemplifying the spirit of Ubuntu. Galina passed away March 31, 2018, but the story she related about the spirit of Ubuntu still inspires us.

This story captures the African children’s humanity and their sense of solidarity that Galina also recognized in young people in Siberia.

An anthropologist from Europe, while visiting an African tribe, encouraged a group of local children to participate in a competitive game: they all would run to a distant tree and back. The one who wins will be rewarded with a basket full of sweet fruit. After the start signal went off all the children joined hands and ran to the tree together, allowing all the children to win and enjoy the basket full of fruits together. The anthropologist was dumbfounded by their behavior and asked them why they did that? Each one had a chance to win and enjoy the reward alone. The answer was “UBUNTU - how could one be happy if the rest are not? The word “Ubuntu” in the local African language means “I am because we are.”