Have you ever heard the following statement: “Umuntu Ngumntu Ngbantu”? I haven't until recently. That is not surprising. This pronunciation is originally from Africa. Do you know what this means? "I am…. because we are! ”
Ubuntu is originally (Southern) African existential wisdom, from which our world today can learn a lot. The deep-rooted sense of humanity that we are all inextricably linked. The Ubuntu spirit "I am because we are" (instead of our Western Descartes belief: "I think, therefore, I exist"), we can translate into our organizations and communities. So that people (again) trust the power of dialogue together.
In our western world we are individualistic. The common interest is in many cases subordinate to self-interest. This is the zeitgeist in which we live. But there are signs that collectivity and the common interest are becoming increasingly important. The Ubuntu ideas are increasingly playing a role. That is beautiful!
This provides a basis for starting the dialogue when it comes to loaded issues such as child sexual abuse. We have a common interest! Do you know what this is? Our interest is that we in society will feel responsible for the suffering and consequences of child sexual abuse. There is a collective feeling that 'something needs to be done' about these serious problems. I do not just mean that most of us are horrified by sexual abuse of children, pedophiles who rape children systematically and children who are physically abused and neglected; I mean that we discuss how we collectively help children, give recognition, give the feeling to be there and give confidence that there are people who care about them. This is not only the task of parents or guardians, but of the whole environment, the whole society! The Ubuntu thinking gets space: there is solidarity. We help each other with compassion and care.
Ubuntu means that we help each other from a deeply rooted sense of human nature. For me, this means that I primarily do not have a judgment by talking about 'guilt' or the 'responsibility of a guilty person'. I am talking about our sense of responsibility for children. I will mention an example. Imagine that there is a minor in your area where you feel that this child is being abused, neglected or abused. By signals your 'gut feeling' says something is wrong. In our western society we easily go on to the order of the day by thinking that this is not our business, or that it is difficult to take action here. It can be confronting or possibly painful. Or maybe we do not know what to do. Usually from self-protection or self-interest. Think of Ubuntu: "I am ... because we are!" This puts the situation in a different perspective ... and offers the possibility to consciously connect with this child. Ubuntu allows you to take action with which you help the child. There is an intrinsic motivation to give the child a pat on the back, a pat on the ball, to give the child confidence. This will help the child to give the experiences a place and learn to have and keep trust in people. This behavior comes from Ubuntu, connectedness with your fellow man. Be inspired by the following beautiful thought:
Africans have this thing called UBUNTU:
it is about the essence of being human
it is part of the gift that Africa will give the world.
It embraces hospitality, caring about others
being able to go the extra mile for the sake of others
We believe that a person is a person through another person
that my humility is caught up, bound and inextricably in yours.
When I dehumanize you, I inexorably dehumanize myself.
The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms and reasons
seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into
its own in belonging. ”