Growing up, we learnt of the five senses (or perception): our ability to see, feel, smell, taste and hear. We learn that these senses are part of our physical make up, without learning the significance outside biological reason.
All these senses are tools in creating common sense, a perception or belief among society that determines values. A system with is barely debatable. However one aspect or perception society has lost overtime (probably due to divide and rule model) is humanity. We have lost sense of our belief that the quality on one’s life greatly depends on the quality of another. A belief that was once the core value of many African cultures and religions beliefs: humanity.
Our humanity, better known across the continent as Ubuntu (termed as a noun) is deemed as a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity. Our movement away from ubuntu has created a heightened sense of individualism, the aspect of competing against each other and being the best, the icon, the singled outstanding candidate. To a point where we cannot see competition as a form of upliftment, but as means to sift out the ‘lesser’ from the great. This individualized thinking has created a psychological, social and economic drift – to where we see ubuntu as a historical ideal, a romantic ideal associated with pre-colonial era. An ideal almost unrelatable, but associated with our past unearthed history.
We can only get back to an ubuntu fuelled society when we redefine it from being a noun to being a verb. The quality of our lives is at stake. A quality of which depends on the quality of life of the person sitting next to you. If we truly want to make a change, and want our lives to matter not only to ourselves, but to diverse communities as well. Ubuntu is a perception – it is a sense. Its the perception that my life matters as much as the next persons, for as Desmond Tutu said, we can only be human together.