A person is a person through other people

By Naomie Happi

There is a story of a man who used to visit the children in a remote village. This man was from the city. One day during his regular visits, he decided to play a game with the children, so he gathered them all and placed a basket of fruit underneath a tree in front of them. He then told the children to stand a few meters away from the tree and announced, “whoever reaches the tree first will have the whole basket of fruit to themselves.” After lining themselves up, the children eagerly waited for his signal. Then the man shouted out, “Ready, set, go!” but to his amazement, the children did not move, they all held hands and started running together so that they could all reach the basket at the same time. The children then sat down in a big circle, shared the fruit amongst themselves and ate whilst laughing and telling each other stories. The man was utterly shocked, he asked the children why they waited for each other when one of them could have gone ahead of the others and won the whole basket of fruit for themselves? The children all shook their heads and replied to the man saying “Ubuntu! how could one of us be happy when all of us are sad?”

The word Ubuntu is more than just a Nguni word, it is a philosophy of kindness that transports us back to the roots of humanity. Through Ubuntu, we realise, respect and recognise that we are all inextricably bound together. Therefore, whenever we offer a helping hand, influence each other and are generous towards one another, we accomplish something greater than ourselves by starting a positive ripple effect in the world. In the wise words of Helen Keller, “Alone, we can do so little, together we can do so much”.

Even though we are separated from each other during this lock-down, we still need to stay connected. Today ask yourself, how can you make a positive effect in someone else’s life? It could be with a good morning message, a call, a donation or even just a friendly smile. Comment below and share your stories of how people have made positive impacts on your lives.

Whenever we help others become a better version of themselves, we too, become better versions of ourselves.

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