Simply sharing your life with the children and staff of The Philile Foundation (Philile) is keeping the spirit of Ubuntu alive in South Africa. Originating from an Ancient African philosophy, “Ubuntu” means, “I am because we are”. This is the essence of humanity; we need one another to survive and thrive.
“Connection is why we’re here, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” – Brené Brown
It’s about caring for your neighbour, inclusion and constant communion with others and the world. On an ABCD course led by Space 4 Impact, we were inspired by the thread of Ubuntu that was woven throughout the course. Not only was it apparent in the coursework, but it was felt among the people. When we asked some of the participants what Ubuntu meant to them, these were some of their responses:
“It’s about caring, sharing, loving and remaining humble.”
“Being kind to people, accepting them for who they are and offering them direction.”
“Acknowledging mistakes and addressing where you went wrong.”
“A sense of worthiness, love and belonging.”
“The dignity of our country.”
However, it’s no secret that when we look around our communities, the spirit of Ubuntu seems lacking. High walls communicate exclusion, locked doors and security measures communicate fear and a lack of compassion communicates indifference towards others. One comment made on the course was that, “We live in a society of unravelled connection.”
But there is hope. If you look closely enough, you’ll be encouraged to see that our nation is dotted with pockets of organisations and people that are keeping Ubuntu alive. The ABCD course was a primary example. Most of the participants were government officials from The City of Joburg and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). Their passion to help people harness their strengths to work with each other for the greater good of South African communities was tangible.
We feel this same tangible passion when we connect with individuals and organisations who work with Philile. Whether you’re able to visit once a year, come on a consistent basis or donate funds, you bring love, joy, care and a sense of belonging and purpose to the staff and children. Not only this, but you’re the reason Philile exists, which speaks to the essence of Ubuntu. The work you’re doing is causing ripples of Ubuntu to radiate from Philile and beyond. Imagine what will happen in South Africa when these ripples meet those of other organisations and people who are doing the same.
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