I need you

Boyd Varty grew up in South Africa’s Londolozi Game Reserve. He wrote Cathedral of the Wild and The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life.

Varty’s classic 2013 TED Talk, “What I Learned from Nelson Mandela” describes how South Africa’s wild animal country taught him the concept of ubuntu, a Nguni word that can mean helping a stranger, or a soul force that connects people.

The basic meaning of ubuntu is “I am because you are,” expressing a communal spirit deeply embedded in African tradition. It means, “we are in this together,” or “I am incomplete without you.” We complement each other.

Americans value self-reliance. I’m thankful a voice instilled in me sometimes says, “I can do this myself.” There also are times when I could use more of the spirit of ubuntu to draw strength from others.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s little book Life Together seeks to balance solitude and community: beware the person who cannot be alone; beware the person who cannot be in community. I’m learning that the ability to appropriately say “I need you” is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s a sign of mutuality and community–ubuntu.

From “South African ‘Ubuntu’ Philosophy Could Be the Secret Formula to Happiness,” by Sara Mohammed, Medium, May 12, 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s