July 15, 2024
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Week 3: July 1-July 6, 2024

My Week 3 at the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and I am still overwhelmed by the intentionality behind the programme and the thoughtfulness of the Michigan State University team. It is through them that I was able to get over my fear of asking for help because I didn’t want to be too “disabled” and too dependent on people and burden them.

Even though I was struggling to reconcile the two worlds between South Africa and East Lansing, I now know what is needed for my country to reach this level of consideration. We need leaders who are intentional about the needs of their people, who embrace diversity and are always willing to be in the forefront to accommodate others.

Nelson Mandela explained the concept of Ubuntu by sharing the communal nature of Ubuntu and how it embraces strangers as family, he said a traveler would stop at a village and they did not have to ask for food or for water. Once they stopped by a particular village, the people of that community would offer them food and attend to them.

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That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it has various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not address themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to play your part to enable change in your community? We need leaders who not only preach the principle of Ubuntu, but live it. It must be our everyday practice.

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We met Senator Sara Anthony the first African American woman to serve as state representative in Lansing’s history.

We participated on the 4th of July parade. The 4th of July serves as a reminder of the difficulties in achieving equality and freedom as well as a celebration of the country’s independence.

I haven’t felt out of place as far as accessibility is concerned because all spaces are universally designed. This is another facet of Ubuntu – to know that we have different needs and try by all means to accommodate and be part of the community, socially, economically and otherwise.

Accessibility

The 4th of July Parade

For more on my experiences, checkout this column every week and connect me on my socials:

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