Being a person with 'Ubuntu'

Martin Luther King Jr proclaimed emphatically, that ‘we must learn to live together like brothers or perish together as fools!

Here is a story showing an example of absolute brotherhood and solidarity.
An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe, found himself surrounded by children most of the time.

So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town  and put it all in a decorated basket, at the foot of a tree. Then he called the children and suggested they play the game.

When the  anthropologist said "now", the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.  So the children all lined up waiting for the signal.

When the  anthropologist said "now", all of the children took each other by the hand and ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same timedivided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.

The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves? The children responded: "Ubuntu - how could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?"

This story shows that human beings cannot  and should not live as islands and enjoy that isolation.  Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as "I am what I am because of who we all are” ( as translated by a Liberian peace activist).

Bishop Desmond Tutu gave this explanation in 2008: "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.”   

He also explained that a person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. 

In the words of Nelson Mandela, Ubuntu is - A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or for water.

Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves.

‘If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other’ said Mother Teresa. If all of us believe truly that we all belong to each other, where is the question of dissension and war?

Hindu prayers always end with a powerful wish – 'Sarve jana sukhino bhavanthu’ – ‘may all people be happy and comfortable’.

This  harmonious , high value philosophy of Ubuntu, which may be called by different names in different faiths, is very essential for humanity to remain humane and retain human attributes, like civility and camaraderie.

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