ROTARY MELBOURNE - ANGUS MITCHELL ORATION - 7 APRIL 2021
REFLECTIONS - UBUNTU - SURESH MARCANDAN
Many years ago an South African anthropologist tied 10 X 100 RAND bills around the trunk of a tree. He then mustered 10 young tribal children, 100 metres away from the tree, and told them that whoever reached the tree first could claim the 1000 RAND. The children promptly formed a chain by holding hands, ran towards the tree and circled it. They then claimed one 100 RAND each.
When questioned by the Anthropologist they replied: UBUNTU - a word that means “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE”. “How can one be happy when the others are sad”, they claimed.
Ubuntu is the essence of a human being, the divine spark of goodness inherent within each being. Ubuntu means love, truth, peace, happiness, eternal optimism, and inner goodness.
UBUNTU is seen as the act of being human, caring, sympathetic, empathetic, and forgiving towards others. It expresses compassion, reciprocity, dignity, harmony and humanity in the interests of building and maintaining a community with justice and mutual caring. It is the recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.” In Rotary terms “SERVICE ABOVE SELF”.
John Donne’s 1624 sonnet says very much the same thing “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” The phrase 'no man is an island' expresses the idea that human beings perform badly when isolated from others, and hence need to be part of a community in order to thrive.
In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to leave you with a question to ponder “Why should the rally “WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER” be only in this time of adversity? Should this not be the case in times of prosperity too?