Saturday 17 April 2021
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Whatever happened to Ubuntu?

I tell you, when it comes to lack of Ubuntu spirit, Namibians take the prize. Namibia is a sick country, driven by greed for power and wealth of the ‘own me’ and the ‘man man op sy eie’ mentality. We live in a country where we do not see ourselves as connected to each other. It is more of a ‘there is me and there is you’ country. You are different from me, you are Wambo, I am Damara. Tribalism is another order of the day in Namibia.
I remember as a child whenever my uncles and aunties came home for the festive season they would go and visit the neighbours with a few groceries and have a chat to catch up with what has been happening when they were away. Everyone knew everyone in the neighbourhood and it gave you a sense of belonging because, as kids we didn’t see any difference – everyone from my village was my relative. Even when away from the village, I looked at people from my village as my relatives. But, things have changed I should say. Those people who go to the village do not step out of their houses to catch up with the neighbours anymore. Children do not play together anymore; children can no longer be left with the neighbours when the parents are away. It is as if every household changed into a mini island state.
Imagine having to view Namibia from another country. Just imagine witnessing, all at once, all of the ways in which Namibia does harm to itself. Imagine viewing all the rapes, murders, abuse, insults, shaming, starvation, and greed that we perpetrate upon each other and the country. Imagine experiencing all the hurt and anger in our collective hearts because of what we do to one another.
Now imagine that all Namibians were suddenly able to see with clarity their connectivity. Imagine that instead of hating or judging, we opened to compassion instead. Then, imagine that we could all hear a little voice in our heads asking, “What can you do to make a difference?” What would you say to yourself? What would you do? What could you do? Now think about Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” What if what you want to be will only come about when you ensure that others get to be that as well? And what if all of humanity was on your team, working towards your good? Wonderful, isn’t it?
Namibia, we are connected to one another. We are one people. I belong to you and you belong to me. We owe our humanity to each other. Your peace and progress is connected to my peace and progress. Your fulfilment is connected to my fulfilment. You cannot be fulfilled by seeking only your interests and likewise, I cannot be fulfilled by being self-centred and because we belong to one another, we should be concerned when other humans are being diminished or discriminated against.
We can still do this, but it can only happen if enough people see it and claim it as their personal responsibility. The choice is ours. The time is now.
Let’s be human, let’s be one!

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