"I am what I am because of who we all are"
There is a South African word Ubuntu which roughly translates to mean "human kindness". The concept of ubuntu speaks to the connection that we as people universally share in which we are all connected. This connection influences who we are and who we become; it acknowledges that what each person brings forward to their community is of value and deeply impacts and shapes those around him or her.
This concept of interconnection amongst people is deeply connected to my personal and practice philosophy and values.
According to Dr. Michael Onyebuchi Eze (author and professor of post-colonial African studies), the core of ubuntu can best be summarized as follows:
“ 'A person is a person through other people' strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance”.
In: Intellectual History in Contemporary South Africa, pp.190-191