‘I am because we are’ is an ancient Africanism that lies at the heart of many of the African continent’s diverse cultures. Although each country has its own name for it the philosophy, having made its way into global consciousness in recent years, is commonly referred to as Ubuntu.
Contained within a set of guiding principles the spirit of Ubuntu speaks to our shared humanity; the impact we each have on the world around us, and that an individual’s freedom to be, and fully realise their potential relies on the support of their community to uplift and empower them to do so. The philosophy however can only truly work if all involved are invested in upholding its principles. For the simple reason that community shapes society influencing the way we live, work and play. A trifecta that is undergoing significant change in the times we currently find ourselves in.
And as we seek to make sense of the turmoil a philosophy like Ubuntu acts as a reminder of what truly matters by bringing us back to what connects us; family and community. Within the structure of the family, this philosophy shows up in the visible and invisible ties that bind us together. In the traditions, beliefs, values systems, and objects that serve to shape our familial and wider societal identity. Awareness of our inter-connectedness serves to links young and old helping to preserve the memories and things that we cherish.
Ubuntu fosters a sense of belonging that speaks not only to our human connectedness but also to that of nature, and spirituality. Evident in the pandemic highlighting just how much humanity has impacted nature.
As our world and definitions of what it is to be a family continue to evolve Ubuntu gives us an anchor point upon which to re-emerge and to reshape what freedom and connections within our communities means to us, the way we live and the legacies we create for the betterment of those we love and support.