The third day with our CPUT counterparts started with a jam session on campus. As Christian M. and a few other USD students worked diligently on making jewelry, the General played music. We were sitting together, being together. This reminded me of Dr. Jez’s framework for the Changemaker Symposium. She asked us to think about a number of things: How you are changing? How you are working together? While our Changemaker Symposium in Cape Town was canceled, we were again experiencing an internal parallel changemaking process. It was remarkable that in a few days we could be that comfortable with each other, just being, without any expectations and minimal conversations.
I had encountered the term Ubuntu before, mostly from white people in U.S. universities and previous to this trip I honestly thought it was gimmicky and hollow. But on this day and on many days in South Africa I truly felt the strength and fullness of Ubuntu:
Ubuntu (Zulu pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼù]) is a Nguni Bantu term meaning "humanity". It is often translated as "I am because we are," and also "humanity towards others", but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity".
At Ned Doman High School in Athlone, we were split into two larger groups of eight university students and a larger cohort of grade 12 learners. We played music while the CRSTP forms were being filled out by the learners. Towards the end our session, Thabo led the learners in a few chants: “If you don’t know who you are, then you won’t know what you want!” and “If you want what I have, then you have to do what I do!” In the back of the classroom, a male learner sat ashen-face, hunched and wrapped in a blanket with his cane and hat perched on a nearby desk. This indicated that he had recently come the bush after participating in the Xhosa male circumcision ritual. Having discussed this topic at length with CPUT students, I was unphased.