The 14 lessons of Ubuntu
Ubuntu is an African way of life. It has the potential to become a shared African movement, spread throughout the continent as once humanism started in Europe. Humanism was a movement that highlighted the freedom and equality of all humans.
The granddaughter of archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mungi Ngomane, has coded Ubuntu in her inspirational book Everyday Ubuntu. Unity and tolerance are central. She wrote about the 14 lessons of Ubuntu, that could inspire all interaction within communities.
- See yourself in others. Open your eyes and look at your fellow human beings. We can recognize ourselves in all those around us if we try to find what unites us.
- Together we are strong. We all have wishes and desires, but the best way to reach our destination is by working together with the people around us.
- Empathize with those around you. Talk with those that you disagree with.
- Choose the larger perspective. It is your role to see the bigger picture of what is happening in your life or around you. Become open minded and study every perspective. Search for truth and understanding.
- Be honorable and have respect for yourself and others. Having respect for yourself is something that you have to do yourself and that you must reinforce. Afterwards, decide to have the same respect for others as well.
- See the good in all. If you are looking for the good in a person, you will find it, and it will inspire and encourage others to feel good about themselves as well.
- Choose hope over optimism. To be hopeful is one of the greatest gifts to yourself and others.
- Find ways to connect with others. It does not matter if you are an extrovert or introvert, people are designed to function better when they are doing it together. We gain more appreciation from strong relationships than from money or material desires.
- The power of forgiveness. If we forgive, we let go of the burden within ourselves and others. Use the power of forgiveness and experience a sense of enlightenment when the pain of the past is slowly disappearing.
- Be open to diversity. As race we have one thing in common: our differences. That is from where we come, but what also threatens to hold us back. Look around you and observe how many cultures, opinions and experiences have shaped our world.
- Recognize the reality. If we do not accept the reality of the current situation, we are not able to go to the situation where we would like to go. By fully accepting and embracing what happens today, we can improve our future.
- Find humor in our imperfections. There is no better way to experience Ubuntu in our lives than to experience the power of laughter.
- Small things lead to big differences. Every small deed matters, especially when it is about our own behavior and the world around us. There are thousands of small things we can do to make the world a better place.
- Listen so that you might hear. All that we encounter likes and appreciates it to be heard. So let’s start with listen attentively.
How will you use some Ubuntu in your life today?
Erik van der Zanden
Picture Ngomane Mungi