I heard this afternoon on the radio that Nelson Mandela has died. Since it was NPR (National Public Radio), I soon heard a BBC documentary on Mandela, including his teaching the interviewer about ubuntu. That bit really pained me; he's gone, and his gentle idealistic flame is no longer lighting the world.
Hear him explain it on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt72ORXUlao
But we have that flame too. Ubuntu the community and Linux distribution family takes inspiration from the concept of ubuntu. To me, the world encapsulates all of what is good in the open, free, software movement, and the free culture movement too. Mandela saw himself as human, no matter how inhumanly he was treated. He knew that bitterness and hatred on his part would engender bitterness and hatred in his beloved South Africa, and he wanted instead love, understanding, forgiveness, and democracy. I hope to continue to see his ideals in the Ubuntu community, and in my Kubuntu corner in particular.
I've often thought of Mandela as the embodiment of the saying be the change you want to see. Rest in peace, Madiba.