Ubuntu: The Driving Force at the Phansi Museum

The African concept of Ubuntu and its role at Phansi Museum

Phansi CalendarsPhansi Museum

Introducing the Phansi Museum

Started by art collector and activist Paul Mikula, Phansi Museum is a repository of artistic work with clear and verifiable links to critical milestones in the spiritual and social development of indigenous communities in southern Africa. 

Ubuntu Art at the Phansi MuseumPhansi Museum

A museum with a difference

 The museum is one of Africa’s largest African Arts and Culture archives whose power reaches far beyond the museum walls. It exists as a knowledge management system and exchange platform where visitors, including school children, are given opportunities to research and develop African art.

Ubuntu Art at the Phansi MuseumPhansi Museum

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is an African term meaning 'I am because you are.' The philosophy or concept of Ubuntu is found throughout African bantu languages and is an offspring of the root word bantu — meaning people. As Desmond Tutu explains, the core of Ubuntu can be understood as: 'My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’ 

Ubuntu is a concept that, in my community, is one of the most fundamental aspects of living lives of courage, compassion and connection. I have often said that the idea and practice of Ubuntu is one of Africa’s greatest gifts to the world. The lesson of Ubuntu is best described in a proverb that is found in almost every African language, whose translation is, ‘A person is a person through other persons.’

Nomkhubulwane / Earth motherOriginal Source: Phansi Museum

How Ubuntu inspires the Phansi Museum

At Phansi Museum we have held on to our belief in the uniqueness of African thought and the concept of Ubuntu. Its ways of combining talents for a common purpose — that of compassion, care and kinship — are at the centre of how we showcase art at the museum

'...everything we learn and experience in the world is through our relationship with other people. We are therefore called to examine our actions and thoughts, not just for what they will achieve for us, but for how they impact on others with whom we are in contact.'

— Desmond Tutu as quoted in Everyday Ubuntu: Living better together, the African way

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