UBUNTU – a way of life

In a world driven by greed (I’m talking at you, Gina Reinhart), where competition is everywhere and Darwinism (survival of the fittest) is rife, I am both reassured and deeply unsettled by this blog post.

I spend half my week watching my fellow human beings push each other out of the way for something as simple as a seat on a train or the last discounted chocolate bar on the store shelf. We Westerners are grown up on a cultural diet of selfishness. We are taught entitlement from the moment we are able to talk. We know we must learn to be strong, to look after our own interests because (and how many times have you heard this in your life) ‘no one else will’.

The attitude of these African children is similar to the traditional attitudes of our Aboriginal people. Sharing and caring for community and culture are the core values that form the foundation of Aboriginal life.
As a culture, Australia has missed so many opportunities to become a unique culture. We’ve not only allowed our Westernism to dominate Aboriginal culture, tradition and knowledge, we’ve failed to recognise and integrate it’s strengths. We could have deveoped a completely unique Western culture in Australia. The opportunity was always there, may still be there, if we could stop competing with each other long enough to see it.

Comtemporary Australia has grown up alongside the oldest living race – and instead of listening, instead of discovering what we might learn from the wisdom that is right under our noses, we arrogantly keep trying to tell them our way of life is better.
How? No, really, I want to know.

There are some things that we do well. We build, we research, we do medicine and invent amazing things that help the unwell or the disable to have more free and comfortable lives. But we do so many of these things at a terrible cost – our humanity for each other.

What these African kids (kids, mind you) and our Aboriginal people teach us is that there is enough for all of us. We don’t need to be afraid of missing out. We don’t need more, we just need some, and so does everyone else. It isn’t about me. It’s about all of us, together. If all Australian’s could think like that, if we were less fearful and more generous, imagine what an amazing culture we could be.

Lateral Love

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”
 Photo: An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he askedthem why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ''UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?''<br />
'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are"

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dina
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 08:53:19

    Brilliant post Kate.

    Reply

  2. moondayreiki
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 19:21:35

    There hardly goes a day without me feeling some sort of pain about the way Western modern society, individualism, egocentric blindness takes away and threatens to destroy our very reason for being on this earth – to share and love each other. I have traveled in so many third world countries and no, i don’t want to romanticize poverty, disease, illiteracy and oppression, but each time I have unmistakedly encountered that human connectedness and the desire to share of the little people have. And you know, on the whole people there appeared a whole lot happier. I’m with you Kate, how come we don’t seem to be able to use our riches, our knowledge, our medical and scientific advances that can alleviate so much suffering world-wide, to the benefit of everyone? We’re all in this together – and until we realise that, there will just be more of the same dissatisfaction (which we unsuccesfully continue to try and bury with a whole lot more of greedy hoarding of goods).

    Reply

  3. Colleen Power
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 15:15:19

    Great blog Kate and so tru. Much love, Coll xx

    Reply

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