Becoming, belonging and sharing: Striving to live in the spirit of Ubuntu in Portugal


  • Paula Horta University of Lisbon



ubuntu, storytelling, interdependence


In this paper I examine the non-formal education programme of the Ubuntu Academy in Portugal, a non-profit organisation that aims to empower and train young adults with strong leadership potential. The participants, who come mostly from African immigrant communities and contexts of social exclusion, are trained to develop and implement social entrepreneur and outreach projects in their communities. I explore the Ubuntu Academy’s use of the Southern African communitarian philosophy of ubuntu and draw on ubuntu literature to argue that this specific education programme’s focus on the notions of humaneness and interdependence encapsulated in the concept of ubuntu has introduced a paradigm shift from an individualistic worldview prevalent in the West to a communitarian form of becoming, belonging and sharing. In this context, I consider the role of testimony and narrative in both promoting personal growth and developing a sense of interdependence and connectedness among people of diverse backgrounds and identities.