Message from the head of school - 23 June 2017
In a previous newsletter, I mentioned ubuntu and its much-needed influence in our society and school. I recently came across the following article by Anna Davies, who has created The Ubuntu Project, a film inspired by the South African philosophy of interdependence.
“To me, ubuntu is really about recognising and celebrating the uniqueness that exists in all people, while appreciating what is shared – our basic needs, basic wants, human tendencies, human rights, feelings and emotions and, most importantly, our value as members of the same human race.
“With The Ubuntu Project, my aim has been to encourage connections between people who might usually see one another as ‘different’. The idea is to enhance that experience of compassion and openness.
“While ubuntu is a South African concept, it’s certainly not unique to South Africa.
“In my experience, the absence of ubuntu in action is perhaps a symptom of the increase in pressure and stress a lot of people living in the modern world are facing. With pressures to succeed and achieve, and the stress of our fast-paced, always-busy modern lives, many of us are living in a chronic state of ‘fight or flight’.
“There’s a ceaseless fear of not being good enough. Whether that means having enough money, enough friends, enough possessions, enough likes or followers on social media, enough hobbies, enough love, enough worthiness. Whatever we define ‘enough’ to be, we’re afraid of not having it.
“Consequently, a lot of us are living in ‘survival mode’. We become preoccupied with feeling safe through self-preservation. In doing so, we can lose perspective and it becomes more difficult for us to connect with others and the world around us.
“Ubuntu brought me to the realisation that, as people, we’re always better when we’re together. Whether that is in collaborating with others on projects, seeking support from others when we need it, or simply spending time and engaging in conversation with others. It is through others that we come to know ourselves.
“Having made this film about human connection, I have more of this sense that we’re all just people, each of us with our own stories – and there’s something to be learnt from everyone. There’s always some common ground – that’s what being human is all about.”
- Anna Davies, Australian psychologist, theubuntuproject.com.au
Head of School