Some of us might look at this word “Ubuntu” and think of the operating system, some of us might acknowledge it as a word of South African origin, some of us might be aware of both the things, while some of us might have encountered it for the first time.
The word “Ubuntu” is a noun that is defined by dictionary.com as “humanity or fellow feeling or kindness”; however, this is not enough to capture the entire meaning of this wonderful word, and almost everyone who is aware of Ubuntu will agree with me.
I have gone through many articles and speeches that mention Ubuntu; every author, every speaker, has held a similar approach to the topic, but somehow everyone has had their own meanings for it. So, I have decided to take the efforts of my fellow writers, a bit further, by writing about what I feel Ubuntu is.
The very basic thing you would hear from someone who knows the word ‘Ubuntu’ would be: “I am because we are”, or “I am what I am because of who we all are”. President Barack Obama mentioned in his eulogy for Nelson Mandela, that he (Mandela), not only embodied Ubuntu but he inspired millions of people to find the truth within their own selves. It is said to be the word of the highest praise, a word which can only be loosely translated into other languages. I will not give it another translation. However, I will elaborate on the ones that are present already.
Since the time we were born, we have been observing the people around us, learning by mimicking their words and their actions. I will never forget that my mother taught me how to ride a bicycle, or that it was my aunt who taught me how to whistle. These are activities that we perform, and learn, or are taught. There are feelings and emotions as well that mold our personality due to the kind of encounters we have. I am a very patient person, not because I always was, but because I have a younger sister who can be very testing. I have met people who display kindness which is boundless. It is something I admire as well as respect; hence, I was encouraged into becoming kinder. Of course, there are many things that come to us naturally; most of all, love. We are born with love, to love, from love, for love. Without going astray, I’ll clarify what I’ve wanted to convey by saying all of this.
Every person we meet, we see, we talk to, owns a moment or many, of our lives, and so do we, of their lives. We leave a little of ourselves in them and vice versa. We are a part of everyone we know and they are a part of us. Meeting someone with kindness would leave our kindness behind for them and in them. And, this is why, I am because we all are. We cannot survive without each other. We learn and grow due to each other. All of us are connected by the invisible yet beautiful thread of humanity. Ubuntu is what makes us all one.