The need for Ubuntu

“The tragedy about history – personally and globally – is that while we may learn it we rarely learn from it.” ― Rasheed Ogunlaru

Ubuntu (meaning) -:  quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity.

When I was a little girl, my mom taught me African history, about Benin Kingdom, the Zulus, the Oyo empire and history of the Ijaws. As a child, I didn’t understand the importance of what she was doing because all I knew was the town I lived in and comprehending anything beyond seemed meaningless.

Fortunately, that perspective changed when I began to read the historical books- fiction and non-fiction my dad had laying around his library. My mind was broadened as I traveled to distant shores in each book and the book that was the culmination of my comprehension of humanity oneness was the autobiography of Malcolm X. What a revolution for my mind that was- I see my understanding of humanity as a before and after I read that book. Before that book, I dwelled more on differences between people- races, tribes, religion. After that book, what my mind perceived more were our similarities and the joy we could bring to each other.

I avoid discussing current affairs for the most part but the recent videos on the news both in South Africa and in Nigeria; with people carrying out mob action- violence against foreigners in their midst and “revenge” actions by people looting plus burning stores.

In the middle of all of the rhetoric from both sides, what is missing is speaking about compassion from both sides and to stay clear of generalizations.

A decade or two later, how would we recount the events that are taking place right now to our children and grand children? Would we be asserting our rights as sovereign nations or sharing about how we recalled our communal African values?

I know what I would rather have us recollecting; how we come together to solve problems that we have here in Africa; thereby lifting one another up as brothers and sisters.

Just last week, I read an excerpt from a speech President Obama gave.

“When I think of the depth of the grave and the pounds of sand that will be thrown at us, no need to harm my brother.

 When I think of the darkness that will invade the grave after closing, no need to hurt my sister.

 When I think of the heat repressed by the soil and the amount of water that will drown me during the rains in the tomb  I cannot make my neighbor suffer.

When I think that I will be alone, abandoned by all, I prefer to enjoy communion when I am alive.

When I think that my relationships are mowed by my past, I wish to perfect my future.

If I could be reborn to resume everything from scratch, I would no longer make mistakes in my actions. Because after a long meditation I understood that all is vanity on earth.”

May we ponder upon this as we make deliberations about eliminating fear and hatred amongst us.”

Adetola Salau; Global Educator / International Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur/ Innovative Thinker/Future Readiness Advocate/ STEM Certified Trainer

She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness.

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