Nelson Mandela is one amazing example of what I have experienced all over Africa. In a more collective society, we realize from the inside that our well-being is deeply tied to the well-being of others. Danger is shared. Pain is shared. Joy is shared. Achievement is shared. Houses are shared. Food is shared. Ubuntu asks us to open our hearts and to share, and what Solly taught me that day is the essence of this value, his animated, empathetic action in every moment.
One man with an incredible sense of humanity was bringing peace to a split and violent South Africa. Mandela frequently stated that the gift of a jail cell was the ability to go within and think, to create in himself what he desired most for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, and harmony. He was to become the representation of what we call "ubuntu" in South Africa through this act of immense open-heartedness. Ubuntu: I am as a result of you. Or, without other people, people are not people. It's not a novel concept or value, but it's one that I believe is worth expanding on at this time.
Indeed, it is said that through our conversations with others, we get to experience the darkest depths of our humanity in Africa's collective mind. Ubuntu is currently in action. You are creating a safe space for me to express the most authentic version of myself. I'm just a guy talking to an empty room without you, and I spent a lot of time doing it last week, and it's not the same as this.
What Nelson Mandela and Africa taught me prompted me to broaden my definition of ubuntu, and I think that in the church of the wild, we can see the most beautiful aspects of ourselves partially reflected in us. And we can experience our humanity not only through other people but also through all of the creatures that inhabit this planet. If Africa has a gift to offer, it is a more collective society. And, while Ubuntu is an African concept, I see the essence of that value being dreamed up here.