It’s no secret that Africa has challenges. One might even say ‘problems’. Despite that, there is much to love about Africa.
Former President Barrack Obama said “…Madiba (Nelson Mandela) teaches us that some principles really are universal, and the most important one is the principle that we are bound together by a common humanity, and that each individual has inherent dignity and worth.”
Obama was referring to the African principle Ubuntu.
In 2008, Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained Ubuntu as follows:
“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.
We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”
Imagine a world where everyone, including world leaders, understood and applied the philosophy of Ubuntu. In other words, recognition that we are all in this together and one finger cannot lift a pebble (Malawi proverb).
Despite 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela remained faithful to the spirit of Ubuntu: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
Soon we will be returning to South Africa. We’re anxious to return, as there is plenty to accomplish in Africa.
The poverty, under-performing education system, and political uncertainty have the potential to be overwhelming, but more so from a macro perspective. At the micro level, where we operate, the risk of overwhelm is more manageable.
On a daily basis in South Africa, we are reminded of the following truth:
“My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.” We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “A person is a person through other persons.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Thank you for your continued support,
Janet, Jim, & Clarke