Ubuntu ...

Ubuntu: I am what I am because of who we all are.

Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee

These days seem to be full of lessons about community and communication and there is a concept I remember reading of once, so I searched out the quote and found a photograph in my archives.

The concept is Ubuntu, is a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to "human kindness." It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness," and is often translated as "humanity towards others," but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity."

On the image below I used the note I made in one of my journals back in 2011, despite wikipedia presenting it more clearly.

Note: there are many different, and not always compatible, definitions of what ubuntu is...

Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes, One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

As for the photograph ... I was out on Flanders Fields back in October 2007, covering the Passchendaele commemorations.  The London New Zealand Rugby Club was over playing a French side, and a delightful group of veterans had flown in from New Zealand.

I was fortunate enough to capture a traditional Hongi, or Maori greeting, between a rugby player and a veteran.  It seemed like an appropriate image for this idea that seems so very important in these times.