The post is part of Michelle's Ubuntu blog hop, to celebrate her blog's third anniversary. Happy bloganniversary, Michelle!
Anyhoo, one of the lessons I learnt growing up was that Motho ke motho ka batho ba bangwe. [A human is human because of other people]
This meant that I was part of a community and that I would do better in the world when supported by my family and my community. Without them, I was nothing, even if on the surface I seem succesful.
But what does it mean to be human?
When you are kind, helpful, generous, humble, we Batswana best express this by saying, "Mr X ke motho." Mr X is human.
So if you're new on the job and you ask what's the new boss like, someone might say,"He's human," meaning, "He's a good guy. Fair. Shows you how to do the job without making you feel stupid. Pays on time. Will give you time to attend to family emergencies without HR having to intervene."
Basically, we believe that positive qualities are the essence of being human. By the same token, if I'm habitually rude and cruel or maybe even greedy, people will say, "Damaria is not human."
How does it apply to day to day living?
I struggle quite a lot with the concept of ubuntu as a life philosophy because for me "being human" is supposed to be our default setting, and therefore, not something that I contemplated too much. You exist, therefore, you are human. (The realist in me knows that not everyone adheres to this principle.)
According to ubuntu, supporting your fellowman is not a kindness. It's what every human would do. You help.. contribute because that is how each community member can stand tall... by being supported by others.
However, I also live in a world that has been influenced by other cultures, including the belief that we are all in competition for resources and every man for himself. So, as an Motswana woman, I walk a tightrope of being competitive enough to succeed in business and in life and living according to the values I was raised with ( some of which I still believe in).
I've found though, that walking the ubuntu tightrope is not very hard. Maybe it's the nature of my business, but many of the bloggers and writers I met online are human. The way they help and support each other, celebrate each other's success, commiserate the failures, teach newbies so they can also succeed... that is ubuntu.
Even when they don't know what ubuntu is or what it means, they unknowingly live it. So I just wanted to say this blog hop embodies the spirit of ubuntu. We are who we are because of the people in our lives.
Join the hop