Discovering ubuntu

One afternoon, toward the end of my workday, I learned that the font for the organization newsletter logo I was working on should be Ubuntu. I changed the font in the image I was designing and continued my work. About a half hour later, as I was driving out of the parking lot, the narrator in the audiobook I was listening to started talking about his visit to Africa where he learned about the meaning of the word Ubuntu.

I hit the rewind button. Did he really just say Ubuntu?

Later, I searched for the definition of Ubuntu. It’s an ancient African word describing a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity.

What a beautiful word!

When I changed the newsletter’s title font, it never occurred to me to look up the definition of the font name. And if I had listened to the audiobook at a different time instead of shortly after changing the font, the word likely would have slipped by me unnoticed.

How many other beautiful things do we miss in the world because we are not attuned to them? Like a breathtaking sunset in the sky that we don’t see because we are inside with our curtains closed but we admire later in our friend’s Instagram post, there are probably so many things we are missing.

Side note: When I shared this story with my husband, he mentioned that he had been reading about the Ubuntu operating system earlier that week.

Here is a definition of Ubuntu from

One meaning of ubuntu is correct behavior, but correct in this sense is defined by a person’s relations with other people. Ubuntu refers to behaving well towards others or acting in ways that benefit the community. Such acts could be as simple as helping a stranger in need, or much more complex ways of relating with others. A person who behaves in these ways has ubuntu. He or she is a full person.

For some, ubuntu is something akin to a soul force – an actual metaphysical connection shared between people and which helps us connect to each other. Ubuntu will push one toward selfless acts.

Not only is Ubuntu a beautiful word, but the world needs more Ubuntu, especially online. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people supported each other and built each other up for the greater good of our world?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s