I love the continent of Africa!
I’ve had the pleasure of travelling to Kenya, Mozambique and twice to South Africa over the past 10 years. Every time I’m settled into the ambience of an African nation, I truly wish I could stay for good.
The countries I’ve visited have swept me off my feet with its eclectic mix of cultures and traditions melted together into one harmonious pot.
From my travels, one way to experience this eclectic mix of culture is at an eatery. Imagine sitting at a restaurant, you are surrounded with exotic animals such as zebras, giraffes, elephants and lions in their natural habitat.
You have a Portuguese meal and French wine in front of you to indulge in. As you settle into your seat with a full view of the most beautiful landscape, a band of entertainers appear in front of you, dancing and singing with voices from heaven. To me, that is one whole mixture of a wow-factor!
Another way is being driven in a Jeep, on safari with the most exotic scenery in front of you.
You whip out your camera to capture the most amazing sight as your eyes are spoiled with beautiful giraffes, elephants, zebras, hippopotamus and rhinoceros roaming freely in their environment. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you may just see a pride of lions strolling by.
Besides being a feast to the senses with that eclectic mix of cultures, I discovered that Africa has so much soul. The energy, warmth and passion in the people you meet differentiates the countries within the continent of Africa from any other nation I have been to around the globe.
The soul of Africa I fell in love with is what I discovered as the continent’s essence of “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning “humanity to others” and that, “I am what I am because of who we all are”.
Ubuntu is a philosophy and a way of life. It’s the notion of respect and selflessness; of caring and humility.
South African social rights activist and archbishop Desmond Tutu brilliantly describes Ubuntu as:
”It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours.
I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness; it speaks about compassion.
A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share.
Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole.
They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are.
The quality of Ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them.”
If you ever get the chance, do yourself a favour and visit Africa. Get swept up in the beautiful spirit of its people, its wonderful eclectic mixture of culture and you will come away with the essence of Ubuntu forever embedded into your heart.