SAUFT’s Guiding Philosophy

SAUFT’s work is deeply infused with uplifting, inspiring, and deeply empowering values and orientations. These are reflected in our beliefs about, and commitment to, two mutually elevating aspects of human development and functioning. One is widely known as “Ubuntu” and the other “Personal Empowerment.”

The Essence of Ubuntu

The Zulu word “Ubuntu” embodies a distinctive worldview of the human community and the identities, values, rights, and responsibilities of its members. In one short word, it is about “WE” – not “me.”

The cardinal belief of Ubuntu is expressed in Xhosa as: “Umntu ngumntu ngabanye abantu.” It is understood in English as, “People are people through other people,” and “I am human because I belong to the human community, and I view and treat others accordingly.” From this inherently humane and humanistic perspective, only by being members of this universal human community can and do we fully know, experience, and express ourselves as individuals.

At its core Ubuntu reflects the deep spiritual truth that “We Are All One” – one spiritual essence, one planetary life system, one human race, and one inter-dependent human community. Hence, our spiritual, moral, mental, social, physical, and economic bonds and mutual inter-dependence with others and the creatures in our environment are inherently deep and tangible – even though centuries of painful history and divisive ideologies have emphasised and magnified our differences, rather than our commonalities.

Unfortunately, our generation has inherited this divisive cultural legacy and historical worldview, and we are in serious danger of allowing their inertia to continue. Together they foster and reinforce competition more than cooperation, individualism more than collaboration, acquisition more than sharing, exploitation more than preservation, advantage more than compassion, scarcity more than abundance, differences more than similarities, status more than belonging, and fear more than love. If allowed to continue unchecked, this philosophy of separatism and advantage will eventually undermine the capacity of South Africa and its neighbours to function with any measure of cohesion and stability.

SAUFT was established to address and reverse these divisive trends. Its Ubuntu-grounded philosophy and programmes are designed to break this legacy of separatism and advantage and to bridge the highly visible, inhumane, counter-productive, and unnecessary boundaries that now divide large groups of South African society from each other. Consequently, SAUFT is committed to both endorsing and expanding the traditional Ubuntu view and expression of unity, solidarity, and “WE”

FROM: We in our family, or We in our religion, or We in our language group, or We in our race, or We in our political party…

TO: We in our business, and We in our local and national communities, and ultimately “WE as caring, sharing, contributing members of the entire system of life to which we belong.”

The Essence of Personal Empowerment

Everything that SAUFT carries out and represents both promotes and reflects the following framework of uplifting, humanistic beliefs which we hold in common with the Unity Empowerment Trust in Port Elizabeth, our active partner in this work:

  • There exists in every human being an enormous wellspring of potential.
  • Within that wellspring of potential lie five fundamental sources of personal empowerment and social harmony: human Consciousness, Compassion, Creativity, Collaboration, and Competence.
  • These five human qualities (or capacities) are universal – they are attributes of all individuals and cultures everywhere – and express themselves in all areas of human functioning.
  • Activating and expanding these five qualities within individuals, teams, groups, and organisations are the keys to humanity’s ultimate unity, prosperity, well-being, and survival.
SAUFT’s Integrated Framework

The key elements of Ubuntu are embodied in the horizontal components of the philosophical framework (known as “The Five C’s of Harmonious Living”) shown below. These five C words are also identified above as elements of Personal Empowerment.

Philosophy Diagram

This powerful, comprehensive framework enables SAUFT to address, integrate, and develop in all its initiatives both the “Entrepreneurial/Productive/Prosperity” aspects of human life – embodied in its vertical Creativity and Competence components – with the “Human Relations/Ubuntu/Social Harmony” aspects of life, shown as its horizontal Compassion and Collaboration elements. At the core of the model, and a key focus of SAUFT’s five initiatives, lies Consciousness

Our deep awareness of, and connection to:

  1. who we are as human beings,
  2. our inner essence and potential, and
  3. the vast array of choices open to us in today’s rapidly modernizing world.

This comprehensive framework gives SAUFT a powerful way of expressing the essence of its Mission and Philosophy: