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Ubuntu: African Philosophy of Cooperation

Michael Tellinger is the South Afriican author of  Ubuntu Contributionism which explains how to replace our financial system with an African concept based on cooperation rather than competition. Michael says Ubuntu is an African word. It's an ancient philosophy of sharing and caring which he defines as unity within community. He said the often-used definition of "Ubuntu" is, "I am who I am because of who we all are". This is an ancient African philosophy shared by all ancient cultures around the world. They have their own names for it, but it comes down to the same philosophy of unity consciousness -- sharing and caring for each other.

Michael explained that the Ubuntu movement started with sharing knowledge and information about the origins of money and how money is being used to control and enslave humanity. Its goal is also to present a solution for the system. Michael said,
"I think that the days of fear and just talking about how bad it is are over. We need to start presenting a solution. So that's really what this movement is all about-- presenting a solution that resonates with peoples, not only in their minds, but in their hearts, specifically. I've become the messenger of this. This is not my system. It's not my message. I'm just the messenger."

 Cooperation Instead of Competition


"What we're doing is providing an alternative solution. The system we have works for the 1% in which money is used as a tool of enslavement. Michael explained" "Part of the teaching and the sharing of information with the Ubuntu Movement and Ubuntu Party is first telling people about the origins of money, where money first appears. That it's not the consequence of thousands of years of barter and trade. It is a maliciously introduced tool of enslavement that gives the people the illusion and the belief that they are free." He pointed out: "This is where people really start getting excited when they see how simple it is. Once people realize that how simple it is to get ourselves out of this mess, that's when you see the deep realization."

Michael pointed out that we have been taught to value competition, but cooperation is much more effective in creating abundance for all and a peaceful society. Michael explained the importance of working together. He explained, "Even if  trillions cells group together into specialized cells, like your liver or your heart or your brain, they're still working together for the greater good of the whole body, the whole community of cells. We've got to start seeing ourselves like this and seeing ourselves in our families as the extension of the cells in our body and our communities-- the extension of our families."

Implementing the Ubuntu Plan

Michael explained because people are not happy with the current system, the Ubuntu movement is growing so quickly, way beyond his wildest expectations or imagination. He said that he never wanted to start a global movement. His original plan was just to share some information. He discussed the steps to implement the Ubuntu plan. He explained that it will start in small communities. When he formed the Ubuntu Party and ran for president of South Africa, he had a million supporters. Michael has also organized the Ubuntu Planet, new nonprofit company to be the vehicle that gets the funds for the Ubuntu Party,

Ubuntu ultimately links to the ancient Egyptian concept of Maat who used a scale to judge the hearts of people when they died. The American "Lady Justice" is based on Maat and has similar scales.

Ubuntu and The Principles of Maat

The Way of Ma’at points out the connection between the Ubuntu and The Principles of Maat (Ma'at) and says:

"Searching for the origins of the values and principles that uBuntu is known for one inevitably comes across the concept of Ma’at that forms part of our ancient Khemetic African Spirituality. Ma’at was seen as the personification of truth, balance, law, order, justice, integrity, reciprocity, uprightness and the highest conception of physical and moral law known to the Egyptians. All of these views about Ma’at are encapsulated in the principles of ‘Divine Truth,’ the ‘Unity of All Things’ and ‘Eternal Life.’

When we appreciate uBuntu and Ma’at in the fullest sense we realize that the two concepts are interchangeable. With Afrikan religion being based upon the theosophy (Divine Wisdom) and the Hermetic philosophy of sciences/the Science of Thought of Khem or ancient Ethiopia,

Ma’at is seen as the Ancient Ethiopian/Egyptian explanation, symbol, or representative of uBuntu."

Ma'at was very closely associated with the Sun God Ra. See Ma'at: The Goddess and the Principle.

Ancient Egyptian Ma‘at: predecessor of ubuntu? points out:

"According to Assmann (1990:65), ‘the reward of one who acts lies in that one acts for him ’. This sounds similar to the core sentence of the Zulu proverb about ubuntu: ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. What Assmann quotes is, however, not a recent African saying, but is related to the Ancient Egyptian concept of Ma‘at....the concept of Ma‘at shows parallels to the present-day concept of ubuntu,"

Ubuntu and the Ancient Egyptian concept of Ma‘at

For the parallels between ubuntu and Ma‘at, let us start with the description of some aspects of ubuntu from the viewpoint of South African judge, Colin Lamont (2011):

Ubuntu is a concept which:


  1. is to be contrasted with vengeance

  2. dictates that a high value be placed on the life of a human being

  3. is inextricably linked to the values of and which places a high premium on dignity, compassion, humaneness and respect for humanity of another

  4. dictates a shift from confrontation to mediation and conciliation

  5. dictates good attitudes and shared concern

  6. favours the re-establishment of harmony in the relationship between parties and that such harmony should restore the dignity of the plaintiff without ruining the defendant

  7. favours restorative rather than retributive justice

  8. operates in a direction favouring reconciliation rather than estrangement of disputants

  9. works towards sensitising a disputant or a defendant in litigation to the hurtful impact of his actions to the other party and towards changing such conduct rather than merely punishing the disputant

  10. promotes mutual understanding rather than punishment

  11. favours face-to-face encounters of disputants with a view to facilitating differences being resolved rather than conflict and victory for the most powerful

  12. favours civility and civilised dialogue premised on mutual tolerance. (pp. 11–12)

Now that we have gained an impression of the concepts of ubuntu and Ma‘at: which parallels do we find between the two of them? Seeing that Ma‘at is more about ‘acting together’ and ubuntu is more about ‘being together’, they cannot be considered identical. What makes it possible to compare both phenomena?

First and foremost, both are closely  connected to mutuality in human behaviour. On the basis of Judge Lamont’s list of ubuntu aspects, especially numbers 1, 4 and 6–10 bear parallels with Ma‘at: it is a counter-concept to vengeance  (1) and is more interested in mediation than in confrontation (4); its focus is on harmony, reconciliation, restorative justice, sensitising and mutual understanding (6–10)."

Let us then have a look at the Egyptian goddess and concept Ma‘at. This has been analysed and systematised by the German Egyptologist Jan Assmann in his 1990 volume of the same name. Up to then, for the most part, Ma‘at had primarily been recognised as an Ancient Egyptian deity. Assmann (1990:57–91) points out that Ma‘at, at the same time, is also a concept that formed the basis of social interaction in Ancient Egypt.

The concept of Ma‘at is found in texts of diverse genres from the time of the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms (about 2700 BCE – 1000 BCE) and is one of the core beliefs of Egyptian religion and ethics.



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