uBuntu: Minha Essência… My Philosophy… of Education!

by José Cossa

My Mozambican friend José Cossa, practices Dreamscaping & Lovescaping on a daily basis. His following poem beautifully captures the humanness that is often missing from education.

Khanimambo, José, for living and practicing an Ubuntu way of life in the work you carry out with your students. You are an inspiration!

José Cossa
Scholar Blog: Mozambicanscholar
Author of: Power, Politics, and Higher Education in Southern Africa: International Regimes, Local Governments, and Educational Autonomy (Kindle version available)

Watch his poem by clicking here

uBuntu: Minha Essência… My Philosophy… of Education!
By Zihlenga (a.k.a., José Cossa)
(Part 1)
How did we get this far?
Sa hlupheka because we somehow
Somehow we grew too big
We grew too far apart
Too big to accept the humility
The humbleness inherent in our nature
That nature of being human and humane
Sa hlupheka manje
Porque esquecemos a nossa natureza
Essa natureza humana
Se lebale uBuntu, uMutho, uMhunu…
Hi dzivalile le pswako a mhunu i mhunu ka vanu
Kodwa, I ‘ll say it again…
Motho ke Motho ka batho
How did we get this far?
Sa hlupheka because we somehow
Somehow we grew too big
We grew too far apart
Too big to accept the humility
The humbleness inherent in our nature
That nature of being human and humane
We bought into an ideal of ownership of some sort of educational grandeur
We became in our minds
The owners of better knowledge
Rather than fellow searchers of wisdom
The owners of school systems and progress
Ignoring the very core of our uBuntu
Negating ourselves the joys of ujamaa, harambe, ni ku hlonipha
iS’khati si fikile
Chegou a hora
Yi tlasile a nkama
The time has come
To turn our political energy for revolutions
Into uBuntu revolutionary moya
umphefumulu wami longs for a return to the essência
Uma essência de viver, respirar, e celebrar uma liberdade de pensar
A freedom to think and be thought of as an intellectual in equitable terms
Because I bring to intelligentsia the intellect I inherited from my forerunners
The uBuntu of Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Eduardo Mondlane, the
Queen of Sheba, Nefertiti, Josina and Samora Machel, Biko, Mandela, my greatgrand
father Maguiguane…
Kodwa… I bring to the global community of learners the ideals and practices I
inherited
The ideals and practices of education “Ngugi, umongameli wam’, u ndi
fundisele”
I urge you… like Simphiw e Dana urges in her song “Bantu Biko Street”
Nawe Mongameli
Xa ubon’ abantu bakho
(Unqandwa yintoni ungaphilis’ isizwe)
Wena Mongameli
Fundis’ abantwana bethu
With this uBuntu wisdom in your soul,
When these children come to your classrooms
You will no longer wonder what you will teach them
As you will understand that teaching them is teaching whom you once
perceived as yourself
But now know that such self is inexistent in a world perceived through uBuntu
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu; yes, a person is only a person because of others,
unto others, and through others
Without those children you are nonexistent
Without you these children are nonexistent
Wena mongameli, Fundis’ abantwana bethu!
Mwalimu, teach our children!
—————————————————————–
(Part 2)
Qaphela! Njonga!
We are here to revive the vision
The vision of our living dead
The ancestral wisdom we abhorred in favor of the ‘I ‘, that indiv idualistic and
narcissistic self-absorption on an empty wisdom that thrives in sentiments of
superior peoples, superior knowledges, superior languages, superior cognitions,
even superior perceptions of the observable world…
We abandoned in the hinterlands of what we once termed the “third world”,
fertile lands of what we termed the “underdeveloped world”, those fertile lands
replete with ideas and inventive creativities we rendered unscientific and
incapable
We continue to abandon in the mountains of what we now still call developing
world, emerging economies, and some select frontier economies, albeit
knowing that such descriptors are futile inventions to describe a lesser people
Asi hlanganeni, bafwethu!
Asi hlanganeni si be munye!
UBuntu is not just a word
An exotic word to enrich our already fancy African-infused academic
vocabulary to tell ourselves that we, too, ‘speak African’ after all
UBuntu is not just a concept
A concept to glue North-South differentials
Ubuntu, uMotho, uMhunu
A mhunu y mhunu ka vanu
Motho ke Motho ka batho
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu
Is the essence of our lives… the core of our existence
For us, Ubuntu is a calling
A calling to educate the child growing up in Africa… In the Americas … In Asia. ..
In Europe … In Antarctica… In Oceania …
A calling to re-educate the adult
The adult whose mind is replete with misconceptions about what being
educated is,
With misconceptions about what being erudite is,
With misconceptions about what being human is.
Wena mongameli, Fundis’ abantwana bethu!
Mwalimu, teach our children!
But teach our children that they are Bantu
Teach our children that they are people
Not some colonial miscategorization of the people of Southern Africa
But the essence of our being, we are Bantu!
Motho ke motho ka batho
uMuntu ngumuntu ngabantu
A person is a person unto others
Uma pessoa é pessoa diante os outros
Because when we teach abantwana bethu this truth
We are teaching ourselves this truth
If we internalize this value, abantwana bethu internalize this value
If we, Bantu, internalize this understanding of humanity… of uBuntu
Then our education will be transformational and humane
Then our education will be an uBuntu-infused education
Then our education will henceforth become humanness-centered.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: