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Debunking the Myth of Ubuntu and Socialism’s Connection

Abstract: Ubuntu, the African philosophy that emphasizes solidarity and compassion in human relations, has often been associated with socialism. However, this article shows that this connection is a myth that stems from a misunderstanding of both the essence of Ubuntu and the nature of socialist systems. This article further demonstrates that Ubuntu is a distinct and humanist philosophy that has no relation or political affiliation with socialism and other statist models. This article also aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of Ubuntu while illustrating its incompatibility with socialist and other systems based on coercion, repression, and centralized power. The article concludes by noting that, while Ubuntu is a commendable and indeed much-needed worldview, it is not a political or economic philosophy, nor does it have any connection with socialist and other statist systems.

Keywords: Ubuntu, Africa, African philosophy, social philosophy, economics, socialism.


Manuel Tacancho is a social philosopher and economist; founder and president of the Afrindependent Institute.