The Transformational Marriage bewteen Ubuntu and Caring

By: Charlene Downing  

What is the South-African concept of caring? In Africa, the principle of Ubuntu introduces the concept of belonging and caring. This study analyzes the concept of Ubuntu and places it in a context related to caring. The eight steps of a concept analysis by Walker and Avant were used for the analysis. The review provides an operational definition of Ubuntu and defining attributes of the concept: interrelated principles and deep rootedness in community, respect and dignity, solidarity, spirituality, reciprocity, harmony, mutuality, affinity, and kinship. Antecedents to the concepts include a "we feeling" as the most important prerequisite for Ubuntu to happen. Positive consequences to the concept are full humanness, reconciliation and forgiveness, and survival. There are many similarities between the ethics of nursing care and Ubuntu. Both paradigms emphasize relationships in which respect, compassion, warmth, and understanding are evident. Both value communication, dialogue, and negotiation. The concept of Ubuntu is best summarized by Tutu, “We do need other people and their help to form us in a profound way. You know just how you blossom in the presence of someone who believes in you, and who helps you having faith in yourself, who urges you to great thoughts and yet accepts you as who you are, and not for what you have or can achieve, who does not abandon you because you have failed”. This exploration shares recommendations for further application in nursing education, practice, and research.

Caring, Ubuntu, Dynamics, Diversity, Concept Analysis
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Charlene Downing

Senior Lecturer, Nursing, University of Johannesburg