Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ubuntu, something we can share with the world.

The Standard, Sunday, 5 June, 2011

Sovereign nations are known for their independence and interdependence. This is why even our nation has links with Non-Aligned Movement, SADC and AU to mention a few. At one time we were members of the Commonwealth. There are benefits and risks we take to be aligned to any friends. With our “Look East” policy we have gained more friends, some of whom we could have never interacted with as we do now.

Your friends bring all sorts of things including their gods. When the West dominated as our friends one would say their God was part and parcel of the friendship package. Now that we are concentrating on the East, the Dragon is also taking its toll on us. We have a bigger choice as to which to follow. While it is very difficult to separate between the gods of our friends and their goodwill, we in Africa should always exercise the sovereignty we have always prided in as an African race.

Africa has never been without God. Yes, during the missionary error Africa was treated as a dark continent. A godless people. But everyone knows that Africa is the cradle of both humanity and civilisation. Perhaps the picture painted by missionaries was for a purpose. Indeed missionaries did us a lot of good. In the process it was realised that a lot more could have been done to acknowledge the humanity of Africa. Our philosophy of Ubuntu/Hunhu is in sinc with the Godly philosophy when God created human beings. This original gift is what we should share with a world that is fast losing direction. We are right when we say “I am because I belong”. Hence I am my brother’s/sister’s keeper. Humanity is sacred.

If God chose Africa to usher in humanity and to endow us with the first civilisation for other nations to copy, no one should be allowed to temper with that reality. History however has taught us that those who wanted to benefit from us did not stop at anything to dehumanise us. But all is not lost. We have to pick up the pieces and reclaim our position among nations/continents. When we see emptiness in the so-called advanced nations as they show their prowess, Africa should in sober fashion put its foot down and demonstrate that life has meaning after all.

We have a lot to offer to the world at this critical stage of the development of humanity and the world where scandals seem to rock even the highest positions of influence. Within African models, be they knowledge systems, business and religion something with human face should come from them.

At the onset of missionary enterprise the former were at pains as to what name we should give to God. A two day missionary Conference was held in Bulawayo in 1927 where about 60 missionaries from various denominations came together for that purpose. There were less than 10 African church workers including ministers present.

The main subject of debate was whether Africans should be allowed to use God or Mwari/Musikavanhu and Nkulunkulu/UMdali even when they pray in vernacular. After two days of intense debate and many presentations of papers for and against the use of God as the only term to use, the issue was put to vote.

The argument from those who wanted the use of the word God was that anything different would remind the Africans of their heathen gods. A secret vote was taken and God lost. An empty world waits for the cradle of humanity to bring sense to a senseless world.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

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