The Sunday News
UBUNTU is a traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation with the world.
According to Ubuntu/Hunhu, there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities.
As the Zulus would say, ‘Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu’, meaning that a person is a person through other persons, we affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others. South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu 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 dehumanise them.”
African leaders like former South African president Thabo Mbeki have spoken passionately about the philosophy of ubuntu, referred to as Ubuntuism or Hunhuism by the likes of Dr Tafataona Mahoso back home.
The concept binds us together as Africans and as a people, regardless of where we come from, regardless of the language we speak or the colour of the skin.
It is that oneness that has been exhibited by Zimbabweans ever since the country was hit by Cyclone Idai which has badly affected most parts of Manicaland. Although other areas like Masvingo were also affected by the heavy rains and winds that came with the cyclone, the worst damage has been in Manicaland, where more than 100 have been confirmed dead and hundreds are still missing. Infrastructure has been damaged rendering some parts unreachable. Homes were destroyed and people left homeless without food, medication and clothing.
But Zimbabweans from all walks of life and corporates responded positively to the plea to help, and have been together in spirit and flesh, mobilising resources to assist those affected, complementing efforts by the Government to restore normalcy in the affected areas. The Zimbabwe National Army has been on the ground leading from the front conducting search and rescue missions. President Mnangagwa, accompanied by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Settlement Minister Perrance Shiri, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza, service chiefs and some members of the Zanu-PF Central Committee, also spent days in the affected areas, assessing the damage and talking to the people affected, displaying true leadership qualities.
President Mnangagwa also said he was happy with the response from development partners and other stakeholders in sourcing donations for the affected communities.
He also commended the members of the Defence Forces for their bravery, commitment and perseverance in travelling on foot to areas that were not accessible to ensure help gets to the people.
The people of Zimbabwe have come together to deal with the situation, and they should be commended for that. This is the Zimbabwe we want. A Zimbabwe where people put ubuntu first.
“I am deeply moved by the generosity and love shown in recent days. The sheer weight of donations has been overwhelming and provided comfort and assistance to those in need. The Zimbabwean people have stood together in the face of adversity and shown that our unity is our greatest asset,” weighed in President Mnangagwa last week.