A CONVERSATION ON AFRIKA’S PRINCIPLE OF UBUNTU
On the 19th of July, 2021, we uploaded a video on our Msingi Afrika Tv YouTube channel, about what we think of the issues going on in South Afrika and how we believe that the way of Ubuntu could be a better choice for how to go forward. As usual, we expected feedback and comments from our viewers.
The thing about comments on YouTube is that, sometimes, they can discourage you from even doing the next video, if they are toxic, or they can energize or even show you other perspectives you have not considered about the subject matter or even about other things outside of the subject matter of the video, if they are made by reasonable and clear-minded people of goodwill.
When we uploaded the video, an Afrikan brother from the US made a comment which became a conversation that was an eye-opener for us and also a wisdom path for him. The link to the video will be at the end of this article, so you can watch it for context, but below is the conversation we had. I will use his initials.
UA: Forgive the long comment my Queen and if you elect not to read, I will understand. We have no public outlet to speak frankly about this here in the U.S. so your channel has been volunteered as the venue to get this off my chest. We are no longer concerned about Our reputation or confirming the west’s narrative of Us. That reputation and that narrative is based on the violent imposition of a toxic culture and if someone does not realize that, it simply means they are ignorant and/or deficient in their comprehension. Who comes out “smelling like roses” and in pristine condition after being brainwashed and horribly traumatized for decades? Not in Europe or anywhere else.
You seem to be hyper concerned about South Africa’s adherence to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a great concept, an Afrikan Indigenous mindset, but it is an aspirational goal achievable, in my opinion, when one is spiritually advanced.
Difficult to be spiritually advanced when an anti-Afrikan social order is imposed on you and kicking your rear end and a small minority is reaping most of the benefits of the imposed system. One cannot expect a person to run a marathon after the hyper-extending of the knee. The physical trauma must be dealt with first. In my opinion, it was a mistake to simply let the “former” apartheid beneficiaries admit their wrong doings and then allow them to go on their merry way. Many atrocities were committed during that horrible period and a commiserate response was in order. There should have been long prisons sentences, executions, expulsions, the returning of all the land to the indigenous peoples as well as total control over institutions, infrastructure and territory. after a similar ordeal, this type of remedy would have happened in Europe and more(including a lopsided treaty). The fact that the minority agreed to this shows they are not friends, for friends would insist they be treated the way they themselves prefer to be treated. this South Africa rainbow nation stuff is nice to speak about or ponder but it was too soon to implement. obviously there were too many unresolved issues for the country to just move on and expect oneness and harmony, as we can clearly see now. As Afrikans we must adhere to our devotion to naturalness and not do something that is unnatural, unless it is a proven method or tool to help return the body to optimum health, like wearing a cast on a broken leg. Restricting motion and reducing weight on the leg, temporarily, is unnatural but necessary to restore health. The “former” apartheidists were relatively unrestricted and maintained pressure or weight on the majority after the majority was severely traumatized. This was not the appropriate course of action and probably the result of years of Eurocentric brainwashing. We have to get back to addressing the core issues and come up with a solution that is beneficial and satisfactory for the majority of Indigenous people, the true inheritors of the land, even if the solution is offensive to the West. Why must we always accommodate them? Are we not worthy of adequate accommodation? And do we really need to continue operating and living under a western system when no Afrikan country has ever been successful in it and it is clearly anti-Afrikan? Stop allowing them to control our talents and frame our potential, and let’s stop speaking in Western terms and using Euro-centric metrics to judge ourselves. Our Afrikan Indigenous Cultures have value and let us begin to reincorporate more of it, as we re-orient ourselves, restore our health and determine our Afri-centric course toward the future. Kujichagulia.
No disrespect my Queen, just wanted to add my perspective to the discourse. Thank you for showing us the videos and sharing your insider’s information on the subject. We need this information in this Afrikan news desert here in the US. If my facts are incorrect and concepts are off, please let me know. Love Msingi Afrika. Asante sana.
MATV: Great to hear from you UA. Your feedback is most welcome.
You know, when you’re dealing with a multilayered multi generational problem like apartheid or colonialism or even slavery it’s often challenging to know where to start to pick up the pieces from. The core place, I believe, is the heart and mind. If you can settle that, remind people who they are and what their nature is based on retracing the lines and streams of identity to the days pre-trauma, it can help refocus one on their rebuilding priorities, their standard of justice, their measure of humanity and help recalibrate – if you will – the course they were on before being brutally disrupted. That’s one thing.
Wading through all the evils is hard. When you look at Afrika now and take for example what they did with the land in South Afrika, Kenya and Zimbabwe, as a few examples, with respect to restoring or rather not restoring the land to the indigenous peoples when they had both opportune moment (at independence or when Mandela was freed) and yet they did not take those chances… And then you find out just how compromised the so-called ‘new’ leaders were, your heart can break. Particularly in the cases of Kenya and South Africa, the colonisers and the former apartheid tormentors KNEW that it was the moment when they would have to give everything back. No discussion, no argument but a deal was struck. We’re dealing with people in power who are now implementing unfavorable terms and heaping them on our heads using the system to legitimize it. Against that, divided, we cannot make headway. Together, we can find a way. There’s no difference between grabbing land and holding on to it for generations and looting from a mall and holding on to the items as if they are your right.
Those who stole from us and murdered our people should know this and know what example they set for their young ones and those who are robbing and killing now should know the same thing. How do we fix this? Hearts, mindsets all round and redressing the wrongs from the perspective of our common humanity and failings. That’s one way.
The truth is that, what we are seeing right now is deadly deep as it has its foundation in many generations before now, both from the side of what has been over the decades and what is being done now. For the current issue of burning and looting, it will take individual choices not to allow themselves be used to destroy their communities. But for the bigger issues of land, inequity, racism and the likes, that has been for generations, it will take some serious but firm government policies to correct those wrongs and bring reparations. But while the man on the street cannot make those policies, he can at least allow the heart of Ubuntu stop him from destroying the little he and his community have. What do you think?
UA: I appreciate your response and your maternal nurturing approach(as opposed to my rudeness). This is a difficult issue to resolve and not one person’s opinion is absolutely correct. Good to know we share the same facts about the issue. I will say that though burning and looting definitely soils the spirit and may be the result of manipulation, here in the u.s. there is not much ownership of successful businesses(by design). therefore there is no real attachment to those enterprises except for satisfaction of biological needs or some societal requirement. But there is no love for them because they represent the same oppressive structure we have been dealing with for centuries. Exploitation, inequity, crappy food, materialism, money prioritization, reduced or nonexistent ability to advance due to discrimination, hyper focused on our whereabouts, etc.. And in a way, maybe this expression is a subconscious rejection of western culture, even if there are food insecurities and other negative consequences as a result. Maybe he feels the little he and his community has is not worth maintaining if oppression and corruption and the mandatory disavowing of his own soul and spirit comes along with it. Maybe these are cries of their pain and they are demanding a new way, but the leaders are not listening. Is it understandable for a person to lash out when she is in pain that was unjustly inflicted upon her? It may not be in the spirit of Ubuntu but it is natural and understandable. Ask any human who is not Afrikan and is dealing with their “own kind”. Peace and love my Queen and thank you for taking the time to respond. It means a lot to me to communicate with a person like you from the continent. Thank you for staying true to the spirit of Indigenous Afrika. We should only hope our girls grow up to be like you. Asante sana.
MATV: It’s not a small thing. But we will whittle away at every unholy foundation until the structures based on them collapse in on themselves. Thank you for this conversation, it has been enriching.
Yes. And we will rebuild in the spirit of Kujichagulia, which encompasses Ubuntu. peace and love. Asante sana
There are lots of points to pick and open more in the various things that UA shared, but one thing that keeps popping out for me is this statement:
“You seem to be hyper concerned about South Africa’s adherence to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a great concept, an Afrikan Indigenous mindset, but it is an aspirational goal achievable, in my opinion, when one is spiritually advanced.”…
“I will say that though burning and looting definitely soils the spirit and may be the result of manipulation, here in the U.S. there is not much ownership of successful businesses(by design), therefore there is no real attachment to those enterprises except for satisfaction of biological needs or some societal requirement. But there is no love for them because they represent the same oppressive structure we have been dealing with for centuries. exploitation, inequity, crappy food, materialism, money prioritization, reduced or nonexistent ability to advance due to discrimination, hyper focused on our whereabouts, etc..“
Imagine I had never before this conversation thought about the reason why people burn things or their society from the point of view that UA shared. But, before I talk about that, let me quickly look at the issue of Ubuntu that he also mentioned.
From the get go, let me say that, Ubuntu as a state of existence which has its root from the indegenous people of Afrika, is not a destination for someone on the journey of spiritual emancipation or development. Ubuntu in itself is the journey. The concept of Ubuntu is not what you achieve when you get to a particular level of spirituality, but a day to day lifestyle that expresses a heart steeped in love, selflessness, compassion and wisdom. It brings the heart of such a person seeking Ubuntu with all, to the height of seeing life from an angle that is sane, godly, rightoeus, holy and which makes men sages in the midst of other men.
And another thing, Ubuntu is not a manifestation of weakness that one expresses when they can no longer deal with oppression, racism or the many other anti-community issues that we see all around us. Ubuntu itself is the philosophy of inner strength, wisdom, compassion that can make a man think of others for good, just like he thinks of himself. Ubuntu is strength and not weakness. It is the reconncetion back to humanity and is deeply entrenched in DIVINITY. So, you cannot speak of Ubuntu without talking about the alignment and the harmony of Humanity and Divinity. Meaning that the concept of Ubuntu loses its meaning if there is no constant bridge between that which is seen (Humanity) and that which is not seen (Divinity). For as it is above, so must it be below; which in itself is the realignment with Ma’at: the harmony and the balance of LIFE. So I understand what UA means when he speaks of Ubuntu as what is not attainable unless one is advanced spiritually, esecially when one sees it as attainment in the future rather than as a daily reality. But spirituality and its advacenment is not a destination. It’s a continuing process in a journey.
Concerning the issue of looting and burning, especially from the perspective that UA mentioned, it is nothing but an act of irresponsibility to one’s community and cannot be encouraged in Afrika. Why is that?
We as Afrikans in the continent cannot afford to burn our societies, malls, shops, communities etc., which all make up our Afrika. For us, Afrika is home. Afrika is not a reminder of slavery and oppression, but home. For when the people of Afrikan descent in America or anywhere else see it as an easy thing to burn and destroy the communities they live in, because they have no attachment or love for them, because they represent the same oppressive structure they have been dealing with for centuries, we cannot afford to do that. And the reason is simple. Afrika is home to us. In fact, many of Afrikan decsent living outside the continent are making very serious moves to RETURN back to where they call HOME in Afrika. The question is this, is it a burnt home or streets of ashes they want to return to? I am sure the answer is no.
I want to quickly share this advice with our brothers and sisters in the diaspora, especially those who were stolen from Afrika and who are making plans to return to the continent. Please make sure you are clear in your mind and that you are very aware that the Afrika that you are planning to return to is not some tourist location fit for your selfie or Youtube videos collection, but HOME. It is home both for you and for your brothers and sisters who have been here while you were away. And by that I mean, as you make plans to come, do not see your coming as just some way of escape from whatever it is you have been fighting against in the west, but as a realignment with your roots and thus an opportunity to come build your HOME. And do not also come with a mindset that you are coming as some saviors to save the “monkeys” on the continent from their backward plights. You will just look like another set of colonialists in DARK skins. You definitely will not love the feedback.
Peace for South Afrika
Yes we have a lot of stuff to deal with in Afrika, but I think the majority of the things are to be dealt with in the hearts of Afrikans themselves. If we all can live out just 10 percent of what the principle of Ubuntu dictates “I am because we all are”, then we won’t even need to deal with issues of society from the place of wars, violence, riots, looting and burning of stuff. For all will be aligned with their HUMANITY, DIVINITY and by that, Ubuntu and Ma’at will hold our societies together.
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.