Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me Paperback – May 1, 2009
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"Michael's book helps us all to see that we are all inextricably linked together. We forget this at our peril. The good news, however, is that God's love will not leave us alone. It is my prayer that, in the same way, Ubuntu will not leave us alone." --Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- Publisher : SEABURY BOOKS (May 1, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 166 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1596271116
- ISBN-13 : 978-1596271111
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.41 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #697,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Ubuntu is a difficult word to translate. It is a simple yet incredibly profound concept - that I am a person because I recognize others as persons, that we are all inextricably linked to one another and share a common humanity. Although it may ostensibly appear that there is some dissonance between Ubuntu and Western individualism, Battle argues that Ubuntu, which demands interdependence, paradoxically helps us express true individuality because "each individual's humanity is ideally expressed in relationship with others."
So why is Ubuntu important? Battle argues that it "reorients our vision." He writes, "[w]e cannot see ourselves as primarily white people, black people, Irish people, women, men, low income, gay, conservative...we must learn to see self in the other." The paradigm of excessive narcissism, which appears pervasive in the West, is broken by Ubuntu. Ubuntu helps us see our own flaws and not merely the flaws of others. To substantiate these arguments, Battle retells Tutu's struggle against apartheid ("South Africa - black and white - can be human together and will defy tyranny only by first living together").
Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend Battle's book, but I should warn readers that it does come with one caveat: strong Anglo-Christian undertones. Although I myself am an Episcopalian, I found this to be a slight distraction. Readers who want to read a more secular and academic assessment of Ubuntu should read Battle's other book, Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu .