“An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the children 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 when 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.)”

Picture: Osani Circle Game - taken by Jean-Pierre Hallet


Xhosa- The Xhosa people of South Africa are one of the largest ethnic groups in the country, with the Xhosa language the second most spoken behind Zulu. As Europeans began to colonize South Africa in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the Xhosa came into heavy conflict with them, leading to the Xhosa Wars or the African 100 Years War. In addition to conflict with Europeans, Xhosa also found themselves in conflict with the expanding Zulu empire. With Europeans attacking from the south and Zulus attacking from the north, in addition to famine, the Xhosa continued to lose territory and autonomy. Despite this loss of land and governance, the Xhosa would end up giving South Africa one of it’s most famous residents, with Nelson Mandela being a Xhosa of the Thembu subgroup. Since the end of apartheid, there has been a rise in Xhosa  literacy as well as a grown in studies of Xhosa culture in schools and universities.