What’s Ubuntu?

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ENOCH Oyedibu

“I am because you are, definitely, if you are, then I am”


The aphorism “I am because you are” is a replica of Southern African zeitgeist Ubuntu, dated back to Nelson Mandela’s time, exact pioneer of the philosophy. It is a philosophy which established its basis on humanity and the indisputable facts of each being in need of each-other respectively.

Though, it isn’t widely accepted in the western territory, as the concept of individualism and anthropocentric is constitutionally acceptable, but it is true and factual that human needs other humans for survival.


Implausibly, a leader cannot be a leader without a follower; neither a follower can be regarded as one without having someone looking up to. In the same vein, erecting a building into a more embellishing and eye-candy posture is typically impossible without the collective efforts of the builders, and the rest of the contractors to work on the building. Simplifying the aforesaid, introverted being isn’t possible in the society, and if possible, it isn’t profitable, rather, such being may be devoid of many good things, likewise, the society in unpalatable situation.


Recalled, one Yoruba adage; “it is through human, a human can be made known to another,” who may be stepping stone to exceeding acme of greatness for another person. Take love, dated back to the history, down to around 12th to 13th was a city known today as the lost city, called the Great City of BENIN, present-day Edo State. This city was regarded great and mighty by the European/Portuguese explorers when they first pay a visit to the place only because it poses complete inexplicable extraordinary appearance, and perhaps, it is unprecedented to the European community. This city is one of the cities that contributed immensely to the African continent as one of the leading continents in civilization then. The city is blessed with high-sounding engineers, grounded writers, sane statisticians, addendum, and good government with able security system which led to peaceful living, to the extent that whole inhabitants in the land houses were without doors. Moreover, the city was known to be the first to detect the system of a street light.


The death of the King, then, led to the chaos that sabotages the peace and decapitated the city’s greatness eternally. Amid the princes, the notion “I am because you are” lost and both were fighting for the throne. The fight led to the death of one and ruination of his entire to be family—the one proposed to be the eligible prince wanted on the throne. However, his death aroused displeasing feelings which roused disagreement and anguishing separation of the people, and the chiefs to each faction of those that love the living prince and those that want justice for the dead prince. They were left off-guarded and their beliefs, and system of governing were not rooted in unity again as it was in the beginning. The thought of assassination of a notable personality in the community led to insecure feelings generated by the inhabitants, and each day of their life was lived in panic. In this mode, was the loyal faction of the dead prince chooses to vacate the land if justice will not prevail over his death and of which, they did. After the peregrination, the community though, unruffled, became short of security guards, trust, and peace, and was driven by limpid cupidity leader laced with diabolic callousness and with which further exacerbated and hastened the land to its deleterious end. It was straightforward for the European continent to sweep the land off her autarky state, and drift her to the dungeon of everlasting irrelevance where her sages and geniuses discovery would be looted, colonized and battered in the realm of unintelligent savages. It could be clearly seen and potently decipher the danger beneath not emulating or inculcating the philosophical belief of “I am, because, you are.”


Humans are species of imperfections. Their imperfections, thereafter introduce them to be true humans. Ostensibly, any human that is spotted with the ability not expected and can’t be expected to be seen in human being may be tagged an enigma—a mysterious person with a human appearance.


Imperfections, morever, is the inescapable fate of humanity that introduces every being to be ever want of one another’s succour at all costs. Existence of a boss in a company gladdens the heart of workers because; they knew through such boss, they were able to receive their monthly or weekly stipends. “I am, because, you are,” is in no doubt a notion that emphasizes comprehensively, the sameness of humanity requiring oneness in operation for the certainty of a greater height. Racism, injustice, and atrocities committed, so far, will be lost in the history, and draped in a forgetful memory if the notion could be emulated and put into practice.
“I am because you are” is literally a carbon-copy of a biblical notion of humanity, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” A citizen will not be pleased, disputing the peace, sabotaging the dignity and depriving the fellow citizenry right if such individual knows that, by doing that is by injecting into him/herself a venomous poison that may cut his/her life short and ruins their entirety.


Resignedly, I am because you are as a true concept to humanity and replica to democracy and rule of law, if emulated will undoubtedly, put stoppage to rape, greediness, racism, political stylistic looting, injustice, even, hoodlums adventures and some other adversities sauced in today’s world, for it would be written in each heart that anything done to fellow citizens is a thing done to self, and this will certainly give birth to peace, togetherness, justice, even injustice may not make a reflection, rather, exude a freest and fairest world of love in the similitude of seventh heaven.

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