Publication Details

Mugumbate, J. & Nyanguru, A. (2013). Exploring African philosophy: The value of ubuntu in social work. African Journal of Social Work, 3 (1), 82-100.

Link to publisher version (URL)

African Journal of Social Work


This paper looks at the concept of ubuntu, how it has been applied in different fields and lessons that can be drawn for the social work profession. Ubuntu can best be described as an African philosophy that places emphasis on 'being self through others'. It is a form of humanism which can be expressed in the phrases 'I am because of who we all are' and ubuntu ngumuntu ngabantu in Zulu language. So far, it has been successfully applied in theology, management and computer science. This paper concludes that its utilisation in these disciplines makes it suitable for application in social work especially to enhance practice ethics, community work and conduct in research. the paper was based on desk research.