I Am, Because We Are.
Updated: Jan 10
An anthropologist had been studying the habits and customs of a tribe in Africa, and when he finished his work, he had to wait for transport to take him to the airport.
He had spent a lot of time with and was always surrounded by the children of the tribe; so to help pass the time before he left; he proposed a game for the children to play.
He had bought some sweets in the city; he put everything in a basket with a beautiful ribbon attached.
He placed it under a tree, and then he called the kids together.
He drew a line on the ground and explained that they should wait behind the line for his signal and that when he said “Go!” they should rush over to the basket, and the first to arrive there would win all the sweets!
When he said “Go!” they all unexpectedly held each other’s hands and ran off towards the tree as a group.
When they got there, they shared the sweets with each other and all happily ate it.
The anthropologist was very surprised!
He asked them why they had all gone together, especially if the first one to arrive at the tree could have won everything in the basket – all of the sweets for themselves!
A young girl simply replied:
“How can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”
For months and months he had been studying the tribe, yet only then did he begin to understand their true essence.
They even had a term for it, it was known simply as UBUNTU, meaning: I am, because we are!
This story has been circulating for some time, so I don’t claim any credit for it and I don’t intend to infringe on anyone’s copyright – I just felt that given this time of year, it was appropriate to share.
“Africans have a thing called Ubuntu. It is about the essence of being human; it is part of the gift that Africa will give the world. It embraces hospitality, caring about others, being willing to go the extra mile for the sake of another. We believe that a person is a person through other persons, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanise you, I inexorably dehumanise myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu