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  #1  
Old 27 April 2012, 07:51 PM
hstarr hstarr is offline
 
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Default Ubuntu legend

Via Facebook:
"An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?

UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are"


- has this been researched via Snopes yet? Couldn't find anything on forum search. Also couldn't find any credible sources for origin of this story.
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  #2  
Old 27 April 2012, 08:42 PM
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I'm not sure what you are asking. The word itself was recorded over 100 years ago and it was used to mean (among other things, such as "human nature") this kind of community spirit (well, that's how I would see it in context; I've never been to Africa). Do you mean you want to know the veracity of the anthropologist's story? Is it meant as a literally true story or as an illustration?
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  #3  
Old 01 May 2012, 05:15 PM
hstarr hstarr is offline
 
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Yes, I am curious if this actually happened - the anthropologist setting up this experiment. No serious scientist would do this today, but perhaps in antiquity it might have happened. Could also have been something observed by missionaries.

This story sounds like something that might have been in an early book about African culture. Something slightly racist along the lines of "oh my, how curious these savages are!"
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  #4  
Old 01 May 2012, 05:22 PM
hstarr hstarr is offline
 
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ah ha. I found a slightly longer, more detailed version of the story here
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  #5  
Old 01 May 2012, 05:27 PM
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It does not make sense, though, as if he was interested in an actual race, he could have asked them to race. If he did not suspect already that they would act cooperatively, then trying to set a competition this way would test nothing else but speed.

"Silly northerners! They do not know about acting cooperatively on their own or for mutual benefit. They can only do so with someone ordering them to do so"
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  #6  
Old 01 May 2012, 07:15 PM
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All I know is, if you wave an Ubuntu boot disk at a computer with a corrupted Windows OS, said computer suddenly decides it wants to work properly after all.

(Okay, maybe not literally, but it comes close.)
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  #7  
Old 01 May 2012, 07:40 PM
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This sounds like a variant of the Special Olympics glurge.
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  #8  
Old 01 May 2012, 10:45 PM
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That second page has the Ubuntu OS symbol. I would think this is meant as African glurge, not software glurge. (But it seems to travel in both circles.)

In any case, it would be a very strange thing to do in any culture: "First one there gets all the candy!" What kind of sick anthropologist would do something like that?
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  #9  
Old 23 October 2012, 08:54 PM
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Comment: Have you run into this story that is making the rounds:

An anthropologist proposed a game to children of an African tribe. He put
a basket full of fruits under a tree and he told children that the one who
reaches it first will win the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they
all took each other by the hand and ran together, then sat down together
to share their sweets. When he asked them why they had ran like that,
while one of them could have all the fruits to himself, they said: UBUNTU!
UBUNTU in Hausa culture means: "I am because we are."
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  #10  
Old 23 October 2012, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
This sounds like a variant of the Special Olympics glurge.
To me too, especially because of the shared element of that sort of unselfishness being found not just in children, but especially childlike (innocent) children.
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  #11  
Old 23 October 2012, 09:07 PM
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See, I was reading it more like the ULs that celebrate the magical (negro/primitive) than a UL about the innocence of children.
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  #12  
Old 24 October 2012, 03:34 AM
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Yeah, it sounded to me a lot like the romanticized noble savage.
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  #13  
Old 21 November 2012, 12:33 PM
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It's interesting that the story posted earlier in the thread refers to Xhosa culture, and the later one to Hausa culture.

That mutation in the story might suggest that any old African people will do for the story, so it does just act to romanticise ideas about their supposed wisdom. Hausa people come from West Africa and Xhosa from South Africa.

ETA: the Wiki page on Ubuntu does actually present it as rooted in a number of different African cultures.
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  #14  
Old 21 November 2012, 01:11 PM
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Oh, the concept and the word "ubuntu" (or a variation thereof) is certainly present in the Bantu languages which are found across Central, East and Southern Africa. Indeed the word "abantu" means "people" in the Nguni languages (Xhosa and Zulu) and is etymologically related to "ubuntu". Correspondingly in Sotho and Tswana, for example, "batho" means people and "botho" has a meaning corresponding to "ubuntu". The South African government has at times tried to push "ubuntu" as a sort of national secular morality.

That being said, the Hausa story seems very unlikely, since Hausa isn't a Bantu language at all. Unless maybe it's picked up the word from another language.
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