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Nozizwe Medlala-Routledge: Ubuntu: Part 1

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Global Oneness Project Ubuntu: Part 1 I say it's a concept that is present here in Africa but I also believe it is also present in all human beings if it is allowed to thrive and to prosper. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge. Cape Town, South Africa. Former South African Deputy Minister of Health This is a spirit of sharing. If I have something and I can see you are suffering and its something that I can give to you which maybe is something I need, but I find that by giving this to you I create a relationship with you. I create a better understanding between us. In Africa where, for example, a family does not have the basic necessities of life and they are living next to another family which actually does have a little bit more than that other family they are quite prepared to give this family something that will help that family to start to be able to provide for themselves. I'll give you an example: If I have five cows obviously I need the milk for myself but there's a possibility that I could give a little calf to the neighbor who then brings up that calf and is able to get their own milk from having their own cow that they've grown and developed from the gift that I gave them. There's also a concept when building a house: When your neighbor is building their house the whole village would come together and they help one another. There's a name to that as well: They call it Ilima where people come together, they help this one person to build their house then there's this feeling that we all belong together. In growing food, again people will come together and work together to plow the fields to help one another with seed and therefore the whole village enjoys from sharing what each has. So it's that kind of way of living, of coexistence that occurs with urbanization and I don't want to romanticize Africa with urbanization. We've begun to lose some of this spirit of Ubuntu and we are continuously tyring to bring it back as we bring up our own children to try and bring it back so that a child who grows up does not want to accumulate only for themselves when the child next door doesn't even have a bed on which to sleep, or doesn't even have shelter. So it's that kind of spirit. So even as we build government, we are now a democratic country in South Africa we have encouraged everybody to participate in our governing of the country either through participating in elections -- People here in South Africa value their freedom very much so when elections come they participate in the elections they choose the representatives that are going to represent them in parliament but we say it's not enough for them to just choose people that are going to represent them they must continue to participate in the shaping of our policies, in the shaping of our laws so that they continue to feel that this is their parliament and those that they have chosen must feel they are accountable to those people that have elected us. But is is also important in this spirit of Ubuntu and humaneness to actually go to and experience what the poorest in the community experiences even if it means actually visiting and living among them. We have a very good example here in our country where a former minister of land and agriculture went and spent a night in a shack which is an informal house just so he could know what the people who live in this kind of situation go through. And that was important in the sense that he has been given a responsibility. The people have elected the government and we have a minister who is there because the people have put him there so he then sees his responsibility as responding to their needs. And you won't know what their needs are if you don't live among them if you don't have that experience you won't know how they feel. In the area of HIV and AIDS, for example which is a huge problem in our country we have a very high incidence of HIV and AIDS in South Africa. One of the things that has been very important in helping to change our government's position and policy on HIV and AIDS is actually to be with people who are living with HIV in the sense of attending their meetings listening to them. That actually changes your own position on HIV and AIDS because you begin to feel what they feel and experience what they experience.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 53 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
Views: 462
Posted by: global on May 7, 2008

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