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Umbuntu: A Concept We Could All Consider

By Arya Pindiprolu. One of the concepts in South Africa that fascinated me was Unbuntu.  Unbuntu means “I am because you are.” This concept fascinates me because in the U.S.A. we are a very individualistic society, while South Africa is a very collectivist society.  The Hector Peterson Memorial reflects this idea.  A young man named Mbuyisa picked up Hector after he was shot by the police during a peaceful protest.  Mbuyisa picked Hector up so his body wouldn’t be trampled and he could get it to Hector’s family.  Although it was heavy carrying Hector and perhaps even put him in harms way because the police were still shooting and some  students began throwing rocks, he didn’t consider leaving him.  Most of us would refer to this as a heroic act, but Mbuyisa’s mother didn’t see it that way; she didn’t call him a hero.  Instead she said he did what anybody would have done.  This also explains why the people of South Africa were all so welcoming.  Maybe we could all consider this concept and be more thoughtful throughout our daily lives.

3 comments

  1. Sujay Koneru says:

    That is a very powerful story Arya. I think it is great to learn from other societies and it sounds like you are really taking advantage of this amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to hearing more about what you learn and hopefully there will be some lessons for me to apply in my life.

  2. Suchitra Koneru says:

    Arya, I am so proud of you. The blog posts have been so mature. I know on this journey you have learned a lot about some of life’s most difficult realities and can not even imagine the various emotions you have all experienced. Umbuntu a beautiful concept to remebember.

  3. Vikas Meka says:

    Thank you for sharing Arya. So glad to hear you are experiencing the South African culture and discovering the contrasts with our own in the US. I am looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

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