“You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality Ubuntu, or’ I am because we are’, you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world.” - Desmond Tutu
Ubuntu is an African tradition that tries to show us different ways to think about humanity and working together. It is our company philosophy here at Stathakis. Ubuntu, or “I am because we are,” tries to show us that as humans, we are much more alike than we are different. Ubuntu invites us to see that while we are individuals, we do not exist apart from each other.
It was a tough year for many of us--economic uncertainty, social issues, a contentious election season and of course, any number of personal problems we as people face on any given day. We all know of people who are suffering with the passing of a loved one, sick or infirm family and more. Thanksgiving might be tough for us, the idea of sitting among people, even loved ones with whom we disagree or have issues. Or the idea of trying to be grateful at a time when we are struggling in our own lives. But that is one of the things Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, seeing past our differences, seeing past our own hardships to come together and eat some food, have some laughs and even maybe watch some football.
Ubuntu as a philosophy is a cornucopia of good ideas and ideals. Ubuntu urges us to work together to help everyone. Ubuntu presents us with the truism that there is enough for everyone and that by helping others, we help ourselves. The future is unknown and sometimes it can be a challenge to believe that there is enough for all of us, that things will get better or that we can find a middle ground with people who think differently than us. Ubuntu tells us we can.
This Thursday, many of you will join family and friends to break bread and give thanks. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition meant to embody the ideas of gratitude in the face of hardship, different people coming together making connections and finding understanding. In Ubuntu there is a phrase, “sawa bona,” it means “I see you.” In spite of our differences, our troubles, our strife, Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to sit across from each other and say with our actions and words, “I see you.” And we give thanks, for whatever we can whether it’s our families, our children, our friends, our health or maybe even the promise of a good season for the Detroit Lions.
Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and your families and sawa bona.