Ubuntu Heart

Ubuntu Heart object
Object Image taxonomy
  • Stage: All
  • Curriculum: Wellbeing
  • Topics: South Africa

We can see a yellow heart shape with the word ‘ubuntu’ on it.

Look closely what do you see?

Ubuntu is a word of ancient African origin meaning, ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, explained that ubuntu speaks about the fact that you can’t be human all alone. We are all connected. When we know this then who we are and what we do matters. When we live by this truth, we are known for being kind and caring towards everyone. This is the spirit of Ubuntu.

We might wonder where it was made.

What do you wonder?

Object name: Ubuntu heart
Material: Painted wood (with the word cut out)
Size: 15 x 15 cm and 5 cm deep
Origin: It was made by an artist who calls their business ‘hartedief’, which loosely translated from Afrikaans means ‘You stole my heart’. I bought this ornament in a small shop in the town of Dullstroom in the province of Mpumalanga in South Africa. 

One of the reasons Tanja really liked it, is that this fun and happy heart shaped ornament carried such an old word that had shaped African people for a really long time. To Tanja it showed that we can learn from other cultures and times long before us and use what we learn in our modern everyday lives. When Tanja sees it in her living room it reminds her of its meaning and challenges her to always stay generous.