It is Friday July 19th, 2008, and Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. I am in
His crime: opposing a regime using the powers of a police state to impose an ideology. Ideology is conformist; it is communal righteousness that can brook no challenge from independent thought or mere personal whim. Certain truths apparently so brittle that they can’t survive a rough passage through the storms of human needs, passions and perceptions.
Mandela had a more indefatigable truth than the white Afrikaners did. He rose above communalism and racism – and the feelings arising from 27 years in prison – to lead
Here among Mandela’s people – the Xhosa – the cultural frame for building community is “ubuntu”. The
I had come to
I could see the point. But one of the presenters – an American teaching in an African business school – made another point as well. “Ubuntu” like any community ethic comes with a price. The price is some degree of stultification and conformity to what the community believes and stands for. If there is too much “we”, what role can there be for the “I”?
“Ubuntu” also leads to fragmentation and rivalries as the circumference bounding the community expands to take in new communities. The question comes quickly: with whom do I experience “Ubuntu”? Just who is part of my “we”.
“Ubuntu” outside the mind and skills of Nelson Mandela seems no check on the divisiveness of tribalism. In
My thought is to ask in seeking an authentic “ubuntu” based regime for