As we go through times in our nation, where some are happy and others aren’t and some feel they deserve more happiness than others because of their religion or riches, have we ever thought that happiness is something that should be shared?
An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree.
Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said "now", the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to himself or herself.
So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said "now", all the children took each other by the hand and ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time and divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away together.
The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to himself/herself.
The children responded: "Ubuntu. Meaning: How could any of us be happy if all the others were sad?"
Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as: "I am what I am because of who we all are together."
Bishop Desmond Tutu gave this explanation in 2008: "One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You cannot be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another; whereas we are connected and what we do affects the whole world. When we do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity."
Think it over, my dear friend. Are we really happy enough? To think only for ourselves will simply leave us alone! Really, as the children have very aptly put it: "We cannot be happy when all others are sad!"
There’s a lot of sadness around us. Even as we celebrated Independence Day, hoisted the flag and distributed sweets there were women and children hiding from bulldozers and bullets! And till each home in our country is filled with the same happiness we have; we can never be a successful country.
It’s time as a nation we started thinking of each other and start being happy together..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org